Kirbie's Cravings

Best Bites of May

It’s the last weekend of June and so I really need to get this post written! Here are my favorite bites from May:

Tofu made with Wisteria flowers from Shoraian (Kyoto Japan)
photo of Tofu made with Wisteria flowers from Shoraian
One of our most memorable meals in Japan was a multi-course tasting lunch at Shoraian, which specializes in tofu. We tasted tofu in many different forms and one of my favorite dishes from our meal was the tofu with wisteria flowers, inspired by an artist (more on that when the full post is written). This course changes with the season, and it just so happened the flowers were in season during our visit. The pale purple square of tofu was so pretty, and it tasted as wonderful as it looked.

Fried Chicken from The Crack Shack (San Diego, California)
photo of Fried Chicken from The Crack Shack
I still can’t get enough of the fried chicken at The Crack Shack. The super crunchy, crackly batter is the highlight. But the chicken itself is also juicy and moist. I normally get tired of a restaurant after 2-3 visits in one year, but we’ve been here several times since the restaurant’s opening, and I still constantly crave the fried chicken. It’s been the top place I recommend for friends coming to San Diego and it was my first stop after coming home from vacation.

Cheesecake from Rikuro (Osaka, Japan)
photo of Cheesecake from Rikuro
Rikuro’s cheesecake is quite famous and something I definitely recommend trying if you’re in Osaka. The cheesecake is a Japanese-style cheesecake, which is much lighter than the American counterpart. The process of making one involves whipping eggs to a meringue-state, which allows the cheesecake to be very light and airy.

While I’ve tasted Japanese-style cheesecakes before, Rikuro’s is quite something. The cheesecake is extremely fluffy– like cotton, and it just melts in your mouth. I do wish the cake was a tad sweeter. I know Japanese desserts tend to be less sweet than Western desserts, and usually fine with that, but I thought the cake could have used just a little more sugar. The lightness of this cake is almost dangerous. I ate over 1/2 of this full cake in one sitting! Unfortunately, the cake only lasts 3 days, otherwise I would have brought some home with me!

Jasmine flower from Dominique Ansel Bakery (Tokyo, Japan)
photo of Jasmine flower from Dominique Ansel Bakery
I was so ecstatic to find out that one of my favorite bakeries had opened a location in Tokyo. My favorite item to get at Dominique Ansel Bakery is probably always going to be the kouign amann, but on this trip, I got to also try some new desserts available only in Japan. This beautiful creation immediately caught my eye.

The jasmine flower is made out of white chocolate. The inside of the cake itself has a subtle jasmine tea flavor, and then a layer of mango and lychee mousse sitting on top of an almond biscuit base. It combined so many of my favorite flavors, in such a light and delicate way. It’s definitely one I’d get again if I ever get a chance to revisit.

Kobe Beef (Osaka, Japan)
photo of Kobe Beef
I’ve heard of all the hype about Kobe beef but honestly was never too interested in trying it. I normally don’t like eating fat. I’m the person who trims the fat of her steak, cuts the fat off the pork belly and bacon, etc. I’ve been lucky enough to try some very high-quality wagyu before and it wasn’t for me. But when we were in Osaka, only a 30-minute train ride from Kobe, we thought we should try some Kobe beef, especially since the prices are far more reasonable.

And yes, I totally get the hype now. Yes, it’s very, very rich. But it is intensely flavorful beef that melts in your mouth. The texture is like filet mignon, but with the flavor profile of a well-aged rib-eye. Our decision to try Kobe beef was a little bit last minute, so we weren’t able to book the best places in the area to get it at. However, we did find a decent place that served some premium quality Kobe beef which I’ll be posting on later. Next time, we want to make a quick visit to Kobe to try it there.

Tonkatsu from Maisen (Tokyo, Japan)
photo of Tonkatsu from Maisen
One of the most famous places for tonkatsu, which is a deep-fried breaded pork cutlet, is Maisen. The tonkatsu we had there was on such a completely different level from any tonkatsu we’ve ever eaten in the US. What I really couldn’t stop marveling at was the panko breading. Whispery thin, light, crunchy and not at all greasy. I’ve never experienced such lightness before in breaded pork cutlets.

After we finished our food, I told Mr. K I wanted a second order! He looked at me like I was crazy, but he ordered a second plate for me, which I ate all by myself. It was that amazing.

That’s it for now. I hope everyone is having a delicious weekend!

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2 comments on “Best Bites of May”

  1. Until I saw this post, I hadn’t realized that some wisteria flowers were edible! Most plants are entirely toxic, but apparently a few can be used in cooking. What a beautiful piece of tofu!

    • same here! I thought I had the translation wrong, but then I did some research and found that the flowers produced on some of the species are edible

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