Sunday, September 29, 2019

Treats From Asian Supermarkets in Calgary and Edmonton for Summer 2019

You can find all kinds of treats and food from around Asia at supermarkets like H-Mart, T&T, 100 Tops (Calgary), and Lambda (Calgary).  Here is an oddball selection of goodies I found over the summer and early fall in Edmonton and Calgary.  Instant noodles with Japanese flavours can be found at most Asian supermarkets (Nissin out of Hong Kong), but packaged noodles from Japan aren't uncommon, but are harder to find these days.  Japanese cup noodles on the the other hand are crazy hard to find unless you have a secret source - you can find them in Vancouver (especially at some Japanese stores in Richmond), but they are next to impossible to find in Calgary and Edmonton.
A small haul of cookies, rice crackers, and two kinds of gummies from Japan.  Japanese gummies are always good.
Pikachu furukake - seaweed sprinkles for white rice.
Not exactly Japanese, but these limited edition Coke flavours for raspberry and peach are nice to find in regular supermarkets.  The Georgia Peach is a tasty soda that I really like.
This spicy, kimchee flavoured Chikin Ramen from Japan.  I'll stick with the regular, but cool to see.
Here are mixes to make oyakodon, gyudon, and some other dishes.  I make my sauces for these from scratch, but these were decent if you don't have the ingredients.
I found these little steamed Bao Bao - gotta love the name.  These are spicy Korean.
Miso soup and bao.  The buns are tasty but definitely spicy!
I found these giant instant yakisoba noodle trays that each make a huge portion of instant noodles for 2142 kcal.  I hope you are making these for a party as these GIGAMAX are way too much for one person.
H-Mart carries refrigerated taiyaki and baumkuchen from Japan - these are refrigerated - not frozen.  Cool!
I always use curry blocks to make my curry, but here is the actual Japanese curry powder you could use for custom recipes.
You don't have to go to Japan to get premium Peach Mint Kit Kats.
These are the new ruby chocolate Kit Kats from Japan.  I believe Nestle has an exclusive on this new kind of ruby chocolate which also uses the pulp of the berry and not just the cocoa seeds.  There is a real difference in flavour - quite pleasant and rich.
Glico cream biscuits.  When you can buy these in the tin, they store for several years and can be used to supplement emergency food stores.  My post on Japanese emergency rations is here:
Takoyaki potato chips.  Often these can also be flavoured puffed corn snacks too.
Instant noodles that are cooked a little crisper to be used as potato chips - no water needed.
Canned coffee!
An interesting cider out of Nagasaki, Japan.
The are great little gummies from UHA that were on sale.  They look like little grapes with a firmer outside layer and and inside layer that is like jello.  Good flavours.
Chocolate assortment pack from Japan.
UHA yogurt chews.  Always tasty.
I bought a canned coffee and some plum flavour chews, green plum and sour plum.

Just a tiny sample of what is in the grocery stores these days.  Have a look for yourself and enjoy your shopping for a tasty treat.

Some other local posts for ramen and sights.

Introductory guide ebook for the price of a latte at Amazon.

Follow me on Twitter a @Tostzilla or my feedburner for this blog.
More ramen reviews and pop culture here.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Sampling Japan and Enjoying A Fantastic September Weekend in Calgary

Went down to Calgary to visit family for the weekend and had a great time walking around Kensington and along the Bow River.  The streets were packed with folks out enjoying the sun and clear skies on Saturday and Sunday.  If I had known Beakerhead was on this weekend, I might have tried to purchase tickets to attend the science and art even on Saturday night at Prince's Island.  As it turned out I went to a pretty good BBQ on Saturday evening, so no complaints.

I hadn't been down to Kensington for many months and visited a Japanese lifestyle store that opened on 10 Street recently.  The shop is called nanao kimono and it has a little bit of everything you would want for Japanese furnishings, gifts, and other goods.  They had some nice stationary, pottery, lunch boxes, furoshiki cloths you can make into handbags, and much more.  Friendly staff and a nice shop made for a fun browsing and shopping experience.   I bought a Godzilla mug with a Hokusai theme to it and we also picked up some ceramic plates and ramen bowls.  Japanese culture seems to make inroads everywhere, especially for food.  Nearby was the Ikemen ramen restaurant too that I've only visited once and I thought it was pretty good that time.
Inside nanao kimono.
Not too far away was the decent Ikemen ramen restaurant.
I play Pokemon Go too so walking up and down 10 Street and Kensington Road gives you lots of gyms and pokestops to hit.  Walking along the river we visited the Peace Bridge which was full of people, and a small film crew doing some kind of skateboard shoot.  People were out in force to enjoy the good weather.  Lots of electric scooters too right now as they were just introduced to Calgary and Edmonton.  I kind of wish that Edmonton had a nicer pathway system along the river that connected to a lively district, but that is a work in progress.  The pathway and park down by the Peace Bridge were impressively finished. 
Peace Bridge.  A very cool bridge.
There was a gym in the middle of the Peace Bridge where I lucked into a Mewtwo raid.  I didn't catch a Shiny Mewtwo, but it was a fun raid battle with 12 other folks.  I caught mine!
Mewtwo raid in the middle of the Peace Bridge.  And yes, there were a fair number of Tauros around on Saturday.
My Tyranitar takes a bite out of Mewtwo.
View down the river from the bridge.  The whole thing lights up really good at night.
 On Sunday, we went to eat at Tokyo Market, an crowd friendly izakaya over on Centre Street.  It is in an old building that used to have a pharmacy and other shops that are long gone, but it is nice to see the building full of people eating and enjoying themselves.  We went for lunch and it was fairly busy, picking up more customers as we ate.  The ambience of the restaurant was neat, with lots of rustic woodwork - like in an old Japanese diner - and the Japanese cultural decor was really nifty.  Tokyo Market has a system where you basically select the items you want to eat on a menu with a marker then take it to the cashier to order and pay.  It works pretty good - kind of like a small restaurant in Japan where you order from a machine.  There were lots of  $5 and $6 plates of food to order and the quality was great for the price.  We had yakitori, ramen, curry rice, takoyaki, and it was all pretty good.  The ramen was fairly good, with the soup being fairly tasty, the noodles firm, and a good amount of topping for a $7 bowl.  You can have your ramen here and your yakitori too without breaking the bank!  I'd visit this place again without hesitation.
Tokyo Market Restaurant.
Menu - no oden available though.
I like the decor and the giant sumo lounge sword.
The restaurant has a whole wall of snacks you can buy from and some reasonably priced sushi to go.
Three kinds of yakitori.  Lamb, chicken, and pork belly.  The lamb was really tasty, but our pork belly was a little dry.
My Shoyu ramen with beef brisket and pork and egg.  It was quite creamy for a shoyu, but tasted pretty good with the ingredients.  I'm never going to complain about a $7 bowl of ramen - good taste at a good price.
Afterwards, we hit up a Chinese supermarket.  There is Lambda Grocery and 100 Tops market up by 16th Avenue, a few blocks north of Tokyo Market.  Bought some Japanese sweets and some canned coffee there to enjoy later!  All too soon, it was time to head back north to get to work on Monday.
Lots of canned coffee!
Japanese chocolate variety pack.
I picked up some plum candy and a coffee.
One of the ramen bowls we bought at nanao kimono.
That's all for now. Have a great day!

Introductory guide ebook for the price of a latte at Amazon.
Follow me on Twitter a @Tostzilla or my feedburner for this blog.
More ramen reviews and pop culture here.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Tokyo Intro - Sights, Stories, and Pop Culture for Visitors Updated!

Updated for 2019

Visiting Tokyo soon?  My book Tokyo Intro: Sights, Stories, and Pop Culture provide a wealth of background information for a visit.  It uses an innovative approach to learning about modern Tokyo by using short stories to introduce the city and culture along with detailed listings about top attractions to see and experience.  This book discusses modern Japanese pop culture, its influence on the west, and blends this information with fun facts about the Tokyo.

Updates include the following and more:
  • Ameyoko Market
  • New Food Entries
  • New MUJI in Ginza
  • Shibuya Changes
  • Tsukiji Inner Market closure (wholesale market)
  • Underground Tokyo
There's plenty to see and do in the big city, and the information in the book will help you pick the things you would like to experience and put some context behind them.

Read Neko Astray, a complete intro and short story from Tokyo Intro.

The e-book is now available on Amazon Canada and USA.

Supplements to the Tokyo Intro book
Supplement #1 - Simplified Tokyo Train Map for Tokyo Stories
Supplement #2 - Sights and Experiences Checklist for Tokyo Stories
For more information on Tokyo, visit my travelogue page with this link.