July 26, 2014

Chinatown, Yokohama,Tokyo

Tokyo's Chinatown, in the waterfront neighborhood of Yokohama, is said to be Asia's largest. (I can't help but think, as opposed to just being in China? But, maybe I am getting too literal!) Anyway, we had a wonderful afternoon and it actually did have a very different vibe than other Tokyo neighborhoods.

Space is such a premium, that the parking garages are high rise buildings. You drive in, and get out of your car, then they raise your car in an elevator, to the parking spot.

Ready for the adventure to begin...

Finding some lunch was our first order of business. We were hoping to find some dim sum, but mainly just saw lots of buffet restaurants. Then we passed this restaurant that was packed, and decided to take a closer look. There was no seating inside though, so you order at the counter and eat outside, like street food.

There were large windows at the front, and you could watch these ladies filling and rolling these dumplings. It was some sort of pork filling, like in gyoza.

They worked so quickly and every dumpling was so perfectly uniform.

Then they quickly fried them to brown the tops.

Steaming was next.

And, voila, the finished product. Each color had a different filling, but I couldn't really detect the difference. They tasted good, but were very hard to eat. Juice literally shot out of the dumpling when you bit it, then it was very slippery and hard to pick up with chopsticks. So, all in all, I didn't love them as much as I  thought I would.

The girls chose the steamed pork buns, which were amazing! I went back in for one more. 

After lunch, we had fun wandering the streets.

We kept noticing roasted chestnuts, everywhere. I wondered what the significance of them were to Chinese culture. We googled it and found out that they were the first nut introduced in ancient Chinese cuisine and were also used ceremonially, for many things, including an increased chance having lots of sons. (We joked that I must not have eaten many chestnuts, Matt told the girls he wouldn't let me.) So, we even learned something today.

We were given a sample, and the texture was a lot like a potato. I liked them.

We also saved room for dessert! We first tried egg tarts in Singapore, and so when we saw them at a small bakery, that was a must! It is basically custard in a pastry shell.

I also wanted to try one of these sesame covered balls. I had seen them in many shops, and was intrigued.

It was filled with red bean paste (sweetened azuki beans) and I loved the chewiness of the sesame seeds. Definitely, very different. Japanese sweets are just mildly sweet, never overly rich.

We came across two very ornate temples. This was the first.

I still can't get over the amount of intricate details on these temples!

I love this daddy/daughter selfie!

This is the gate of the second temple. Such a beautiful display of color.

In the courtyard,  there were these two large guys walking around in front of the temple. I am assuming they are the guards, to scare off evil spirits.


There is always incense. I love the smell. 

And, everyone needs a Hello Kitty photo op!

An interesting side note: Almost everywhere you go in Tokyo, there are people handing out advertisements on little packets of tissue to passersby. The nice thing though, these are actually useful! I go out of my way to collect these, they are the perfect size for my purse. Too bad I have no idea what they are advertising!

And back to the parking garage. Your car comes out already turned around and ready for you to drive away. Convenient!

An awesome day exploring Chinatown. I loved the exotic atmosphere, and the food!

3 comments:

  1. Again, so interesting. Like an exotic vacation inside an exotic vacation.

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  2. The colors ARE amazing. Nothing but the best for those temples. Isn't it strange to think of beans as dessert? I've never had that but have heard of it before. Same kind of thing in Nicaragua --the pastries were never super sweet. I kind of liked that.

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  3. I really wish I could go there. Becoming more and more interested in the orient.

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