Ms Skinnyfat

A Food & Travel Blog from Singapore

Shinjuku Tokyo Eats

By Thursday, July 05, 2018 , , ,

I don't know about you but i usually base myself at Shinjuku when i visit Tokyo. The location is relatively central (other than Shibuya) and extremely colorful (Kabukicho is Tokyo's red light district), has easy access to the airport, plenty of shopping, and lots of food. 
It's impossible to go hungry in this relatively mild red light district. If you're looking for something to fuel your late night partying, there are plenty of izakayas here! Check out the smoky Omoide Yokocho 思い出横丁near Shinjuku Station West Exit for all that bbq.

Lest you think i'm going all R21 on you, this post is on the other eats that will last you from dawn till dusk. I'm just scratching the surface as usual with only highlights of what i ate/checked out. 
Wake up to the smell of fresh coffee over at Blue Bottle Coffee! Well this is one of my favorite coffee chains from U.S. and i would buy their packaged cold brew for times when i can't make a pit stop at their cafes. Be prepared for the queue though, this cafe is extremely popular. 
We googled for the best pancakes in Shinjuku and Sarabeth's popped up. Well it's not Japanese pancakes (they hail from NYC)! We would have considered Clinton Street Bakery if not for the fact that it's not within walking distance from our hotel. Sarabeth's is conveniently located at Lumine II Mall right next to Shinjuku station. We had 2 of their signatures- the lemon ricotta pancakes (thin and fluffy with a light citrus, could do with way more syrup), and a creamy eggs benedict. They are satisfying enough but i wouldn't wait more than 30mins for this. 
When you are on the go, sometimes you just want a quick meal. Well here's introducing my favorite comfort food go-to MATSUYA.
If you want a Gyu-don (better than Yoshinoya), you have to come here. I'd dedicate at least 1 meal to Matsuya in every Japanese city that i go to (if available). What's not to love about thinly sliced marinated sweet beef and oozy onsen egg on rice! I always get mine upsized just for the meat! Thank god there are 5 outlets just around Shinjuku station!
I really do love my Ichiran ramen. It's 24h, it's fast, and it's tasty, and there are 2 outlets in Shinjuku. Perfect for that weird-hour hunger pangs. I'll always add their soft boiled eggs! 
On our most recent trip to Tokyo, we also tried another rather popular ramen, Fuunji Ramen. They are very famous for the tsukemen (noodles with dipping sauce) and i tell you.. it's an umami bomb. The super rich chicken broth is topped off with dried fish powder and you'd be surprised by how much of that rich cream the chewy noodles could pick up. I ordered the special without knowing what it entails. Turns out that it's a super large portion of everything, tsukemen style. Their soup ramen is less of an assault to your palate. I'd say go for the small portion, unless you're a big eater. We found it impossible to get through half a bowl each but the petite Japanese ladies don't seem to have a problem slurping theirs. 
Shin Udon is just around the corner from Fuunji Ramen and i've not managed to try it on 3 occasions for various reasons. We were either too full, too hungry, or too tired to stay in line for the handmade buckwheat udon that are made on order. There was always a substantial line for this 6-seater (except the time we were really full). Maybe next year. 
We tried our luck at Tempura Tsunahachi Shinjuku one night, after giving up on the queue at Shin Udon. And oh boy were we lucky to be immediately ushered into this popular tempura establishment without a reservation! Our fellow diners marvelled at our good luck as we tucked into the set meals, priced at ¥2300 onwards. 
The draw here is the fresh live seafood that is lightly battered and fried in sesame oil. Boy the prawns and eel were swimming right before us and we witnessed way eel after eel being skinned and thrown into the boiling oil. The basic set comes with two shrimps, assorted seafood, vegetables, anago (sea eel), kakiage, appetizer; and a set of rice, miso-soup and Japanese pickles. The more expensive sets uses better ingredients such as tiger prawns and you get more items as well. Their omakase is only priced at ¥8,000 (SGD$103). 

If you can't get into Tempura Tsunahachi Shinjuku, you may get lucky at the other very popular tempura restaurant, Funabashiya Honten, which is just opposite.
I wanted Unagi-don and the nearest to us was Unagi Unatetsu (Nodaiwa and Izumoya are too far from Shinjuku). Well.. lunch turned out to be at least a 45min wait in the smoky restaurant as the chef lovingly grilled the fresh eels over charcoal. We could not understand the menu but it seems like there are other skewers available. We simply ordered the unagi-don, and a una-tamago as a side. As the wait progressed, we regretted not ordering a bigger portion (we both went for medium). The silky tamago helped to ease the hanger pangs a little. 
What's great is that the don wasn't overly doused in sauce, even though it could do with a little more oomph in the flavor. The portions could also be a bit more generous! We paid about ¥8000++ for the 2 of us. It's definitely not as satisfying as the one i had at Atsuta Horaiken in Nagoya.

If you're wondering why this is under the 'take it slow' category, it's because the wait is long. But once the food to you, you really wanna gobble it and leave before you smell too bad. 

Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima is where i'd want to really take it slow for dinner. This one Michelin-starred restaurant offers traditional Japanese cuisine made with seasonal ingredients. For dinner, their Chef's selection is priced at ¥15,000, which features their specialty soup dish, the Owan. Their sardine lunch set is but a fraction of this price at ¥800 and you get to choose from 4 types of preparation- Sashimi - raw sardine with seaweed and sesame, furai - fried sardine, nizakana - sardine in soy sauce and yanagawanabe - sardine cooked with egg.

Now now, with so many options to pick from, why wouldn't anyone wanna base themselves in Shinjuku on a trip to Tokyo?


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