Monday, September 19, 2011

Asakusa 浅草: Eating Through the Past

Asakusa must have been a very familiar place to most people since it has always been marketed as a tourist attraction. However, no matter how many times one has been here, it is quite difficult to finish trying every single food shop here as there are simply too many.
Most restaurants located here have a long history and I guess there must be some reason why many restaurants, who now have branches all over Tokyo or Japan , actually originated from this place. Here is a proposed sort of food trail in Asakusa. For lunch, one can have tempura at Tempura Sansada 三定, which started in 天保八年 ( don't know exactly how long but definitely very long), right in front of the Asakusa Temple.
Tempura Sasada
Be expected to queue for at least 20-30minutes during lunch times. Even though the restaurant has 2 storeys, people have to queue on the staircase.
The Rice Campaign

天丼 (1385円)
Tempura Don with Prawns, Eggplant, Squid
The signature dish that can be spotted on almost every table.

季節の野菜天ぷら (1155円)
Seasonal Vegetables Tempura
The tempura here is very fresh and not too oily. They are deep fried to a darker shade and drizzled with the shop's secret tempura sauce, which is shown in the tempura don. Besides the ebi tempura, they also have tempura oysters which are available in different sizes. Ebi don is a Must Try here. It is not surprising that people, many whom are Japanese, are willing to queue for the food here since they really taste good.

Even the little girl can't wait to take off her shoes and dine in!

三定:
東京都台東区浅草1-2-2
(地下鉄銀座線浅草駅徒歩1分)
営業時間:11時30分~21時30分


After the satisfying meal, have a walk around the streets that sell souvenirs and of course, snacks. 
One of the common snacks is the age manju ( deep fried bun). Several fillings were available.
Sesame, Custard, Red Bean, Matcha.....each costing 120-200 Yen

Here's the Custard Filling Version
It was surprisingly not too oily as our fried mantou used for dipping into chilli crab. The bread section is quite fluffy and way better than a doughnut.

Alternatively, if you would not want to have something so heaty on a very hot day, have a soft ice-cream at 木村家, not Takuya Kimura's house, but a place that is known for its senbei crackers. But it does sell ice cream and is cheaper than other shops in the same area.
梅園
If you are still hungry after eating so much, or as greedy as us, drop by this traditional wagashi house for afternoon tea. As uaual, being a 老字号 or a shop with a long history, a long queue is a common sight.

葛餅
Opened in 1927, this shop specialises in wagashi and is famous for its あわぜんざい( can read more by clicking the link)。We did not order the red bean dessert but this refreshing jelly like wagashi. It is in fact, very different from mochi as it is a lot less chewy. More like a jelly that is very light and goes oh-so-well with the kinako powder and black sugar (kuromitsu) syrup. This dessert seems to have some health benefits too.

If you can't wait to queue, the shop also have a takeaway booth right outside the restaurant.
It will still require a lot of time to decide what to have even though there is no need to queue for takeaway.
梅園
東京都台東区浅草1-31-12
for other outlets at various departmental stores, go to: 



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