The day after going to Munich, some of my friends and I went to eat some traditional Japanese food. We went to a restaurant called Tokio Dining (http://www.tokiodining.de) and at the time they had a deal (until the end of June) where the first 20 bowls of Miso Ramen served each day would be half price. I actually went to this restaurant once before, but for some reason I never blogged about it the first time. As I kept writing this, it sounded more and more like a restaurant review. Either way, the food was so good the first time I went, I decided to go again. It was the best Japanese food I’ve ever had. And by Japanese food, I don’t mean sushi.
I’ve never had Japanese food in Japan before, but I’d say this place was the closest thing. As we walked in, the chefs greeted us in Japanese, and if I knew how to reply in Japanese, I totally would have done that. When we went in, we were the only people there and that usually says something about how good the restaurant is, but not for this place.
Unlike Japanese restaurants in North America, they do not serve green tea to all their customers by default. It might be a German thing where they like to charge for every drink – even water. I ordered their Jasmine tea since it is one of my favourites. They served it in a very traditional looking (at least to me) teapot with a teacup.
In addition to looking good, it also tasted good. The tea had been steeped for the right amount of time for it to have flavour and yet not have taste that was too concentrated.
My friend had this the first time we went and this dish was perfect for him because he is a vegetarian. Edamame is a dish that has immature soybeans that have been boiled in water with a little bit of salt.
I tried a little bit and it was pretty good. I can’t say that it’s super delicious or anything because I’m a huge fan of meat. It was pretty fun trying to get the beans out of the pod though.
The appetizer I had the first time I went was the Takoyaki. It is a dish that has a ball-shaped pancake with grilled octopus meat as filling. It is also served with Japanese mayonnaise, takoyaki sauce, katsuobushi (dried fish flakes), and green onion flakes. The restaurant served it in a wooden boat shaped dish, which made it extra cool.
When I bit into one of the takoyaki balls, the pancake layer felt so soft and delicious. The octopus part was even better, but I think I say that only because I’m a huge fan of octopus meat. The sauce and the fish flakes made it even better. As I’m writing this part, I’m craving more of it.
Ikura is the Japanese word for roe, which are basically fish eggs. The restaurant called it Ikura Oroshi and the word Oroshi apparently means a strong wind blowing down a slope (if I got the context correct too). I guess it makes sense when considering how it was served. It was served on a small mound of water chestnut with the caviar on top. On the side of the mound, there were a few strips of sliced cucumber and I guess that would represent the wind. I never realized how much sense the name of the dish made until I looked it up while writing this part.
The dish was really small, but that makes sense because roe is quite expensive to serve in large volumes. When I bit into one of them, they just pop as my teeth sinks through the outer protective layer and when that happens juice comes out. It had the coolest mouthfeel.
Our main dish was the Miso Ramen. The noodles had a soup base made of miso (hence the name) and was served with a slice of pork. It also had other ingredients such as bean sprouts, seaweed, half a boiled egg and corn. All of that made the noodles so much more delicious.
The noodles were soft yet chewy in a way and that was perfect for my tastes. Many people think that the instant ramen and this kind of ramen are similar, but their only similarity is that they’re both noodles with the same name. They taste completely different. Although the dish was kind of small, everything in it was so good that I ate all of it – even the soup. While I was eating this, I faced a dilemma. In Japan, it is customary to slurp the ramen loudly to show appreciation of the food, but in western countries nobody does that. In the end, I just slurped it like how I normally ate noodles (something like in between the two extremes), while my friends were really careful about making any slurping noises.
Everything here was so good that I would want to go there to eat all the time until I get sick of it. I never thought I’d be going out for Japanese food while in Germany, but I think this worked out really well. On our way out, we said thank you to the chefs there in Japanese.
When I go back to Vancouver, I will try to find another restaurant that is on par with this if not better. That shouldn’t be too hard since Vancouver does have amazing Japanese food.