I’ve been working on some guides for friends of mine who are going to Tokyo or are considering a trip there. It’s written in a very casual manner and I hope it’ll be both fun to read and useful to people. Lots of pictures that I hope will help illustrate the topics mentioned.
Here’s a little photo excerpt:
Department Store Basement Gormet Food Halls (depachika) - Food courts are usually thought of as pretty low class in the west, but these department store food halls are stylish, diverse and extremely tasty. You can find anything from local specialties to guilty pleasures to top notch gormet classics. Desserts are usually separated into their own area on one end and raw ingredients (raw meat, fish, veggies, etc) on the other end with a wide assortment of ready-to-eat take away offerings in between.
You can find many of the same foods that can be found in restaurants and convenience stores, though the quality tends to be better than conbini (as expected for the higher prices).
One of my goals for my New Years trip was to try “osechi” which is the traditional food for the first 3 days of the new year. They’re usually ordered far in advance in sets large enough for an entire family and can be extremely costly. Depachika was the only place I found individual meal size portions during our trip.
The variety was amazing and you can have some truly delightful take away meal sets for about $10.
There was even lobster in some of these sets! I ate until I was full to bursting and still had leftovers.
There are even “customizable” sets where the side dishes are pre-packed and you pick your own main. In this case, the booth specialized in special types of rice dishes and they pack your set with whichever flavour of special rice you select.
Of course there’s sushi as well, at prices that will rival budget kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi joints to boot.
If you’re really hungry for sushi, there are sushi sets, too. These sets are super meaty. You won’t find them skimping on the seafood here.
And if you just want a smorgasbord of goodness, there are lots of booths that offer various chirashi-don, a mix of small pieces of sashimi and sides spread on top of a bed of sushi rice. Tasty and extremely affordable for big eaters on a budget.
Plenty of combination bentos as well for those who can’t choose and want a little bit of everything.