Great Affordable Eats @ Kyoto 17-21May2013

super-value Japanese beef (国产牛) teishoku (set) at 900yen

super-value beef teishoku (set) at 900yen

not every meal has to be kuroge wagyu, teppanyaki course or expensive sashimi. there are lots of great value meals to be had in Kyoto, Tokyo or anywhere in Japan. 🙂

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on the first night of our arrival on 17.5.2013 we chanced upon a very interesting eat at Teramachi/Kawaramachi corner just opposite Takashimaya called 百练 (it is at level 2 of a small building). It  was kind of a family-style izakaya 居酒屋- we were the only non-Japanese around. we visited again at dinner on 21.5.2013, and we were still the only non-Japanese around..haha. 🙂

I ordered this super-value beef teishoku (set). I asked for medium rare & it was nicely done & tasty. It came with the gohan aka rice set including pickles & miso soup.  the beef was served with some pasta (which were ok but irrelevant) – all these for just 900yen. 🙂

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pork shabu shabu for 1500yen

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my sis ordered a pork shabu shabu for 1500yen. It was NOT kurobuta but it was really good, very sweet & tasty. 🙂

thick-cut bacon with asparagus for 500yen

thick-cut bacon with asparagus for 500yen

I saw that our neighbour, a Japanese couple, ordered what looked like ham & asparagus dish, so when we went back 2 nights later, I managed(despite the lack of communications) to get the chef to do up this dish – which was a thick-cut bacon & asparagus for 500yen – it was very good! 🙂

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on arriving on 17.5.2013, we visited Tofukuji then Uji. 🙂 on the way back to Uji JR station about 3+pm, we decided to share a set as a late & light lunch, & was lucky to pick out this rather nice 1580yen set at a 中华料理. the tempura was good, and so was the sashimi & the 2 side dishes – one was just egg, the other was rather more elaborate, and nice too! 🙂

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690yen set @ Yayoiken-kakuni (belly pork), saba, potato croquette, tofu, egg & vege etc

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690yen set @ Yayoiken-kakuni (belly pork), saba, potato croquette, tofu, egg & vege etc

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on 20.5.2013, before setting off for our hike from Kurama (鞍马) to Kibune (贵船), we were looking for a place for early lunch and found this joint Yayoiken @ Kawaramachi. 🙂

the meal was just 690yen, and was quite good too, with kakuni (belly pork), saba, potato korokke (croquette), tofu, egg & vege etc 🙂 maybe Singapore should consider this meal ticket machine system common in Japan. it’s very labour efficient & staff have no need to manage cash too. 🙂

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mini chirasi don set with 5 delightful side dishes for 1190yen

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returning from the hike, we took the train to Keihan Shijo & walked across Kamogawa (鸭川) to Kawaramachi (河源町) side. we found this restaurant on the 7flr of OIOI building along Kawaramachi across the road from Takashimaya.

this fabulous mini chirasi don set with 5 delightful side dishes was just 1190yen & they provide a very tasty soup which you later add to the rice like ochazuke. the mini chirasi don came with amaebi, crabmeat, ikura, 2 pieces hotate, maguro, tamago. the 5 delightful side dishes were ikan bilis, braised beef, tamago & tofu PLUS a  red bean/jelly dessert. 🙂

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we had another set which was somewhat less good (by comparison) also for 1190yen. it was a salmon tekkadon(鉄火丼) – this was quite good – with 4 side dishes.

so good food were aplenty in Kyoto & at very affordable prices too 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

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cream of cauliflower soup

having tasted some early successes in my creamy mushroom soup venture, I thought since I am already down the path of using the blender (which I had thus far mostly avoided to do) why not trail further and try other soups. after all whether it is blending mushrooms or blending potatoes, leeks, cauliflowers etc, it cannot be too far off. and so far my faith has been rewarded. 🙂

my next venture is this beautiful cream of cauliflower soup recipe, again from none other than Chef John of Foodwishes.com. I am falling in love with this guy.

I first sweated the celery & yellow onions for 5-6minutes in a soup pot with some olive oil over medium heat until the onions turned translucent. Then I cut the cauliflowers in small pieces, threw in a potato that has been peeled and quartered, then threw in the cauliflowers. I then added 5 cups of vegetable stock & 5 cups of water enough to cover the cauliflowers, bring to boil & turn down the heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes. That’s when the potatoes were “smashable” – it would collapse when you pushed it against the wall of the pot. I let  the soup cooled down & then blended in batches and pureed to a smooth velvety texture. I then added sea salt to taste, and the soup was basically done. I added the heavy cream when I heated up the soup again just before serving. 🙂

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bacon tip gremolata

for the bacon gremolata, I followed Chef John’s concoction – first frying cut bacon to crisp, then added fresh bread & toasted it in the bacon fat on low heat until golden & crisp  to make breadcrumbs. I then added lemon zest and mixed them as in above picture.

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cream of cauliflower soup

I then served the soup with the bacon topping & few drops of truffle oil. My wife & daughter both liked this soup. I must say the bacon gremolata made quite some difference – the saltiness of the bacon & the crisp texture went very well with the soup and fragrance of the truffle oil. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 a cauliflower (about 400g)
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 potato peeled & quartered
  • 5 cups of vegetable stock
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream

for the bacon gremolata:

  • 2 streaky bacon cut to small pieces
  • 1 slice of fresh bread to make 30g of breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley (I did not use in the above photos)

Directions:

  1. Cook the soup – sweat the celery & yellow onions for 5-6minutes in a soup pot with some olive oil over medium heat until the onions turn translucent. cut the cauliflowers in small pieces, throw in a potato that has been peeled and quartered, then throw in the cauliflowers. add 5 cups of vegetable stock & 5 cups of water enough to cover the vegetables, bring to boil & turn down the heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes. when potatoes are “smashable” – it will collapse when you push it against the wall of the pot – cool down & then blend soup in batches in a blender and puree to a smooth velvety texture. add sea salt to taste, and soup is basically done. add heavy cream after heating up again just before serving.
  2. Prepare the bacon gremolata – fry bacon to crisp. add fresh bread & toast in the bacon fat on low heat until golden & crisp  to make breadcrumbs. remove & cool. add lemon zest to bacon tips & breadcrumbs and mix them.
  3. add the bacon topping & few drops of truffle oil when serving the soup