Croquette Stand – Kamakura, Japan

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Croquette Stand

After my visit to Kotoku-in Temple in Kamakura, my original plan was to wait and eat lunch later, as I was planning to eat at one of the more highly regarded restaurants in Kamakura.

I was hungry, but didn’t want to have a real meal. After exiting Kotoku-in, the street leading up to the temple is filled with restaurants, snack places, and coffee shops, especially close to the temple.

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Partial Selection

There was a small croquette stand nearly across the street. There were a bunch of school kids in line to buy croquettes, so I figured it must be good, and it also wouldn’t fill me up too much.

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Pork & onion croquette

I opted the for pork & onion croquette, which was ¥200.

The croquette was light and crunchy on the outside, although just a tad on the oily side. The interior was a nice mix of potatoes, ground pork, and onions.

It was the perfect snack to hold me over until lunch.

Crazy Layover at Haneda Airport – Tokyo

Following my flight from Jakarta, I had a layover in Tokyo for roughly 15 hours. Since my flight was landing at Haneda instead of Narita airport, I decided to do something different on my layover and go to Kamakura and Yokohoma instead of Tokyo. As I had another trip planned almost two weeks later that landed at Narita, I decided to do more exploring in Tokyo on that layover.

The following is the list of places I visited, and will have a more in-depth post about each:

1. Starbucks Kamakura Onarimachi
2. Zeniarai Benten Ugafuku Shrine
3. Kotokuin Temple – The Great Buddha
4. Random croquette stand
5. Hasedera
6. Kamakura Matsubara-an
7. Hokokuji Temple
8. Kikuya Bakery
9. Leonard’s Bakery
10. Rokurinsha – Haneda
11. ANA Lounge – Haneda airport

Here are a few pictures of my adventure.

Kafe Betawi – Jakarta

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Kafe Betawi

Kafe Betawi is a chain of restaurants throughout Indonesia. As the name would suggest, they specialize in Soto Betawi, which is a soup made with beef, milk or coconut milk, and vegetables.

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Soto Betawi

This version of soto betawi was made with coconut milk, potatoes, tomatoes, basil, and beef and beef offal. The soup was creamy and mild. One of my main complaints with this soup was that it was served lukewarm rather than hot.

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Sweet Barley Soup

The next dish was dessert like. It had a barley taste with sweetener, and pieces of bread. It reminded me of a sweeter version of the barley drink served at many Korean restaurants following your meal.

I didn’t have the opportunity to try much of the menu at Kafe Betawi, but what I did have was more than passable. I know many people will scoff at this restaurant, as soto betawi can often be found on the street, in one of the many carts that dot the city.

NamNam Noodle Bar – Jakarta

It was getting late at night, and I was tired and hungry. Of course that led to an unwise dining decision. Choosing a Vietnamese restaurant in Indonesia is akin to choosing an Indonesian restaurant in Paris. Sure, there might be a decent to good option, but chances are you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

NamNam Noodle Bar is a chain with locations in Manila, Singapore, and Jakarta.

I decided to go with the Spicy Hue Australian Beef Noodle Soup, which is their take on Bun bo Hue. Bun bo Hue normally contains rice noodles, beef, may contain pigs blood, and vegetables/herbs can include lime, cilantro, onions, green onions, bean sprouts, banana blossoms, mint, basil, and saw tooth among others.

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Spicy Hue Australian Beef Noodle Soup

When the dish arrived, it had a reddish hue with two globs of chili. There were a couple of meatballs, along with thickly sliced beef. The dish looked fairly appealing on first glance.

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Disappoint Ensues

Upon mixing up the soup is when disappointment really set in. Instead of rice noodles, what appeared was spaghetti noodles. On the positive side, there were also a couple of shrimp.

The soup itself was not spicy, but was also lacking and depth of beef flavor.

The amount of protein in the dish was actually pretty generous.

The soup was average at best, and is not something I would crave for on any return visit.

The restaurant is also slightly overpriced for what it is.

Ikkudo Ichi – Jakarta

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Ikkudo Ichi is one of the most highly regarded ramen shops in Jakarta. This despite there being an Ippudo ramen in town.

The restaurant is located within the Grand Indonesian Mall.

The ramen is fairly large compared to what you would find in most ramen shops in Tokyo. In addition to regular tables, there are tables that have a small “divider” for the sake of solo diners.

Although Ikkudo does all types of ramen including tonkotsu, shoyu, miso and tsukemen, it appeared that the tonkotsu was their specialty. The waitress told me that tsukemen was their specialty, which seemed an oddity since it a very specific subspecies of ramen that not many places do well.

The broth was opaque, but didn’t have the depth of flavor usually associated with tonkotsu broth. The noodles were on the thinner side and had a decent amount of chew. A brown sauce spread throughout the broth like an oil slick. Although it was supposed to be spicy, it kind of tasted like a chili laden tonkatsu sauce. The kind of chili that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth.

Another thing that stood out was the very sloppy plating. The egg was fairly good but the yolk could have been runnier. The other thing about the hard boiled egg was that it did not peel well, and it looked like rats had taken small bites out of the egg whites.

The tonkotsu at Ikkudo Ichi was average at best. I am not sure how this place is so highly regarded. One of my friends however, asked me where I got my information about this place and said there’s no way it would have been one of the more highly regarded ramen shops.