Tag Archives: Sake Breweries

Vietnamese Cuisine: Holiday Lunch at Annam


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For all their popularity, real Vietnamese restaurants are far and between in this country. Actually, I will go as far as to say that Annam in Shizuoka City is probably the only genuine Vietnamese Restaurant in the whole Prefecture of Shizuoka!
Therefore, I was only too happy to pay them a long overdue visit for lunch last Sunday.
Luckily enough, they propose a “set lunch” for Sundays and holidays. At 2,800 yen (about 24 US$), it may sound a bit steep to some, but the quality, if not the quantity, does warrant it. Even on a Sunday, past 13:00, the restaurant was still half full with more customers coming in. Therefore a lot of people tend to agree!

The menu was served as follows:
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“Sup Mimosa”: a very elegant, tasty, soft soup to sharpen your appetite.
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“Ba men khai vi”/ Set of 3 hors d’oeuvres:
“Cha guo”/Fried Spring Roll
“Goi du du”/Green Papaya salad
“Goi cuon bom”/Prawn Spring Roll
Served with 2 kinds of dressing. Delicious!
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Main dish: “Ga mong mat ong”/Chicken sauteed with honey. A bit small, but cooked to perfection. Very Vietanamese!
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Pho Soup: I had a choice of “Pho bo huoc”/Beef Pho or “Pho ga”/Chicken Pho.
I chose the Chicken Pho. A bit small again, but delicious.
Foodhoe would have loved that!
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Dessert: “Trang miong”/diifficult to describe. maybe a sweet potato vichyssoise? gGeat!
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As for drinks, I had a choice between Vietnamese Coffee or Lotus Flower Tea. I chose the latter. Extremely refreshing, even drunk hot. I would recommend it to anyone!
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You can buy it at the restaurant.

I had a glass of Shosetu sake from Kansawagawa Brewery in Yui to go with the meal (extra).
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Gaijin Tonic would have been interested in the drink the owner graciously offered to me after I had finished my sake (I always pay my bills in full, but sometimes “service” comes in!): A Vietnamese “Shochu” (called “Vodka” in Vietnam. Communist influence?) called Nep Moi. At 36.5 degrees (they have two more, at 25 and 45 degrees), quite heady, but eminently drinkable on the rocks. Tastes more like a liqueur with reminiscences of flowers, coffe beans and bitter chocolate. A dessert in itself!

Annam
Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Tenmacho, 17-9
Tel.: 054-2502266
Fax: 054-2502323
Lunch: 11:30~14:30
Dinner: 17:00~22:00 (last orders: 21:30)
Closed on Mondays and day after National Holidays
Homepage
Slightly expensive
Credit cards OK

Shizuoka Izakaya: Odakkui


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When I entered Odakui on February 8th, I must confess it was already the second establishment I visited that particular night. I had only intended to stay there long enough to give myself a good idea of this establishment introduced to me by its “sister” izakaya, Yasatei.
Well, well,…
Lucky I was on my own. I can’t imagine what would have happened if a certain Gaijiin Tonic and Foodhoe had been with me! I very much doubt I would have been able to teach from 09:00 the next morning!
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The owner, Naofumi Ohshiro, who opened Odakui 8 years ago before helping open Yassaitei 5 years later, did not know who I was (he could not believe I’m a lecturer!). The gentleman seems to decide on the spur of the moment who he likes or not, unless it was because he is an unconditional fan of the famed Japanese manga artist Ose Akira who wrote the series “Kurabito Claude”, the story of a third-generation Japanese-American who visits Japan to explore his roots and to subsequently become a sake brewer.
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Nevertheless, when I ordered sake, he told me to bear with him and accept a cup of an absolutely extravagant Junmai Daiginjo (one of the most expensive sake I ever saw in Shizuoka Prefecture!) brewed by Oomurya Brewery in Shimada City as a welcome greeting! Look at the “Oni’s” face on the label and compare it with Mr. Ohshiro’s on the picture at the top of this posting, holding the famous “Dobu” nigori sake from Nara Prefecture. Can you see a resemblance?
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I ordered a Shosetsu brew by Kanasawagawa Brewery in Yui ( Isojiman and Chumasa are also on his list) which came with a great-looking snack. The very friendly staff jhelped me choose an assortment of sashimi:
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Top: Kanpachi/Amberjack
Middle: Saba/Mackerel & Akami/lean tuna
Bottom: Hirame/sole
All great quality, tasty and cut in the traditional way that Lojol would expect!
As Mr. Ohshiro had realized he had found a soulbrother, he came back whenever he could get a minute or two in his busy izakaya, which sits half a dozen at the counter and a good dozen more at two tables set as “horikotatsu”, to engage in this unending conversation on sake and Shizuoka Brewers.
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As the conversation was just too great to go back home early, I ordered the grilled “kuro hampen”/dark sardine paste, a specialty only made in our Prefecture, served with grated ginger and chopped leeks. Mr. Ohshiro then insisted I sampled the “Dobu” nigori sake introduced in Akira Ose’s first book. Great sake which completely caught me off guard.
But I wanted to drink a full glass of that “Oni” above-mentioned, or I knew it would stayed on my mind fordays ahead. My host kindly pointed out it was pretty expensive (it was), but I waved his reservations away. I’m sure that Melinda, Etsuko and Tim would have approved! The brew was simply extraordinary, and for all its delicay went down so well with food! I know I’m going to do something really silly soon!

Blimey, I had to leave knowing we had not talked about half of what we ought have to, but I knew we had parted at the right time as I had some difficulty riding back home in a straight line on my bicycle!

Why do I have the impression that Odakui will become my “next door” (Japanese expression for the second place of the night)? Who am I to complain anyway?
Kanpai & Banzai!

ODAKKUI
420-0034, Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 1-8-1, Aoba Yokocho, 2F
Tel. & Fax: 054-2536900
Business hours: !7:00~24:00

Umeshu: Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery

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Shizuoka not only produces some of the best sake in Japan and absolutely extravagant shochu, but also come up with the cream of Umeshu found in this country adding local Japanese plums to their sake or shochu for the plesaure of all.

Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery in Hamamatsu City has the particularity to brew sake, shochu, beer and umeshu (when are they going to make wine?).

This Umeshu called Kuramoto no Umeshu (Umeshu from our Brewery) is certainly a beauty:
Alcool: 15 degrees
Ingredients: Kome/rice shochu, Japanese plums extract, sugar.
No colouring or artificial state added.
Bottled in June 2007.

Best appreciated on the rocks or straight and chilled at all times.
Very elegant and satisfying. Will please both ladies and gentlemen.
The perfect aperitif!

Hamamatsu Brewery
Hamamatsu City, Tenjin machi, 3-57
Tel.: 053-461-6145
HOMEPAGE

Shizuoka Izakaya: Hayase

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Izakayas have been “sprouting” all over Takajo Machi in Shizuoka City, an area recently referred to as the “Shizuoka Daikanyama”.
My better (worse?) half and I found this little place called Hayase along a fairly large street and decided to give a try.
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An unprepossing, almost discreet, izakaya, it was open in February this year. Apparently it is already quite popular and were lucky to enter it around 19:00 as it got full within half an hour.
The inside is extremely clean for an izakaya specialized in “yakitori”. It sits about 8 people at the counter, 6 more at tables and chairs and a dozen on tatami floor.
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We found ourselves in a little dilemna as Hayase also proposed some sashimi we just could not resist. The bonito was absolutely excellent.
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After that we started ordering yakitori in earnest, and I just did not have enough time to take all the pictures I wished to. Which will give me a good excuse to come back, especially considering the reasonable prices for such a place which could become quickly expensive at other establishments.
The service is attentive and generous and the sake (and other drinks) are great:
4 jizake from Shizuoka Prefecture:
Karakkaze (Hana no Mai Brewery/Hamamatsu City)
Kikuyoi Tokubetsu Honjozo (Fujieda City)
Takasago Homare Fuji Junmai (Fuji-Takasago Brewery/Fujinomiya City)
Garyuubai Junmai Muroka (Sanwa Brewery/Shimizu Ku)

Look forward to my next visit report!

Hayase
Shizuoka City, Aoi-Ku, Takajyo, 3-22-7
Tel.: 054-221-9480
Business hours: 17:00~23:00 (Off on Sundays & National Holidays)

Shizuoka Izakaya: Wagocoro

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Wagocoro is your typical Japanese “Kakureya”/”Hidden Place”: You have heard of it, but never been able to discover or notice it until you find it one day almost next door!
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The Japanese, especially in Shizuoka, have an affinity for such places, but tend to jealously protect them away from other potential customers, which in my humble opinion is not very fair. I almost feel a malign pleasure in discovering and uncovering them!
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The present owners acquired the place some time ago from the original tenant who had made it a shochu bar. The place is simply replete with Japanese antiques and interestingly enough Mr. Oguriyama and his son have faithfully preserved it in its entirety. Notwithsatanding the great food and drinks, the ancient Japanese atmosphere is a worthy enough reason for a visit.
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Now this izakaya have three “rooms”, the main one where you can sit around a tradiionla Japanese “irori/fireplace” where you can grill your own food over charcoal. Another room with tatami seating amide a crowd of antique furniture and objects and a third room with a kind of counter and high seats. No need to say but the irori is my favourite. Make sure to reserve it!
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You have a hint of the quality of the food as soon as you order your drinks and subsequently are offered the “otoshi,snack”!
Now, Wagocoro has already acquired a solid reputation for quality of food coupled with comparatively reasonable prices. Therefore when I visited it on Monday, December 3rd in the company of my monthly “Monday Gastronomy” companions,we already had a good idea of what we would order!
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The sashimi and grilled fish (see pictures above) are simply first class.
Their “kakuni/pork simmered for four hours” has already become the talk of the town and expats in particular will be happy to learn they concoct savoury deep-fried oysters and even vegetarians will be glad to sample the deep-fried lotus roots/”renkon”!

We simply did not have any strength left to explore the rest of the seasonal menu which will have to wait until our next visit!
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Like any good izakaya, Wagocoro has a great range of local sake: Kaiun (Doi Brewery/Kakegawa City), Wakatake (Oomuraya Brewery/Shimada City), Suginishiki (Sugii Brewery/Fujieda City), Isojiman Brewery (Yaizu City), Hakuin masamune (Takashima Brewery/Numazu City) and Kikuyoi (Aoshima Brewery/Fujieda).
The four of us emptied a great bottle of Suginishiki Shiboritate Yamahai Honjozo in no time!

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Now the big plus is that they also serve two Shizuoka shochu, namely wasabi Shochu by Bandai Brewery in Shuzenji and rice shochu by Hanan no mai Brewery in Hamamatsu City which went as far as designing an original label!
What else could you ask?

Wagocoro
420-0882 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ando, 1-6-15
Tel.: 054-2470059/09091805779
Business hours: 11:30~14:00, 17:30~23:00
Closed on Tuesdays and second Wednesdays
Reservations advised

Shizuoka Izakaya: Takasagotei

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If you happen to be staying, let’s say for a single night in Hamamatsu City, near the JR Station, I would suggest you visit Takasagotei Restaurant on the second floor of Hamamatsu Sago Terminal Hotel just right of the JR station south exit.

As a hotel izakaya since the 1970’s they are definitely above the run of the mill level of the fare usually delivered in business hotels.

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Their sashimi offerings are within the good level prevalent throughout the Prefecture.

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I found their mushroom tenpura (vegetarians, please note!) excellent.

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They also had an unusual “shirasu gyoza” (deep-fried whitebait dumpling), which would go well with a beer.

They also have the great merit to offer a large range of Shizuoka sake out of their long drink menu, which warrant a visit by other Prefectures’ guests:
Hana no Mai (Hamamatsu City: 2)
Hamamatsu-Tenjingura (Hamamatsu City: 1)
Senju (Iwata City: 1)
Doi-Kaiun (Kakegawa City: 1)
Oomuraya-Wakatake (Shimada City: 1)
Isojiman (Yaizu City: 1)
Hatsukamei (Shida Gun-Okabe Cho: 2)
Shosetsu (Yui: 1)
Fuji-Takasago (Fujinomiya City: 1)

Takasagotei
430-0926
Hamamatsu City, Sunayama-cho, 322-7, Hamamatsu Sago Terminal Hotel, 2F
Tel.: 053-4538686
Business hours: 11:30~14:30, 17:00~22:00

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