I went to Hokkaido for my group food tour on April 7. Judging from the smiles and camaraderie that developed while on tour, I can safely say that it was a success.
There was one letdown, though. After visiting the Kikkoman factory, we were supposed to have lunch at a tonkatsu place that has become one of my favorites. But the restaurant didn’t want to take us in because we were a huge group.
Instead we ate at a new steak place where an A4 wagyu beef is served. Each person had his/her own grill. This looks promising, I thought.
It was one of the most delicious steaks I have ever tasted. There were two sauces—I tried both, but I also enjoyed it with the simple Japanese salt and its outstanding rice. Wow!
We returned Friday evening, and the next day, I was off again with my family to Fukuoka for our Holy Week vacation. We were complete. I was tired from the tour but I also felt joy on this return trip.
Since I started doing food tours, the group and I enjoyed trying all the good food. But I also felt sad because my family wasn’t with me.
So this return trip to Fukuoka was an answered prayer. I was excited to bring my family to the places we had previously visited during the food tour.
My daughter Ali booked us in an Airbnb outside Fukuoka. It was a typical Japanese neighborhood with a few restaurants around, as well as the usual convenience stores.
The first time we went to the convenience store, we all went crazy. My kids got sushi, egg sandwiches, sake, spicy fried chicken, snacks, etc.
I opted for the breakfast items.
I prepared breakfast every day: Japanese sausages, bacon, ham, salami, scrambled eggs, French toast, pancakes, waffles, blueberries and strawberries, chocolate milk, Hokkaido milk, butter, orange juice, grape juice, apple juice. Everything was good!
One evening, we just bought some yakitori sticks and some onigiri or triangle sushi for our meal. Yummy! One thing I realized in this trip, the convenience stores are an integral part of Japanese life. Many would drop in and grab a meal or a snack.
We got an unlimited bullet train pass for five days to Hiroshima, which was only an hour away. I took the family to the grilled oysters by the water and the sesame noodles by the station. I had fun seeing my loved ones enjoy what I prayed we would experience together.
It was the same joy I felt whenever I see the tour participants like what I would recommend.
The family and I went to the Yanagibashi seafood market, in a tiny place that had a second-floor dining area with the most delicious sashimi, sushi and fish head. This was where Japanese chefs from the city buy their produce.
We also visited a bar where we had drinks and grilled hamachi head with just salt. It cost about P220 for the hamachi, but it was delicious!
Then we proceeded to the Tosu Outlet malls where we spent almost the whole afternoon.
At Marine World we rented bikes and pedaled around the colorful flower gardens.
Now, whenever I do the food tours, I will no longer feel sadness, knowing that my loved ones have likewise savored the experience.
Japan food tour with Sandy Daza to Fukuoka/Hiroshima/Osaka, May 26-31. E-mail: [email protected]