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Hello, I'm Cliff Anderson! Why Cliff(y), you ask? Well, a lot of people I've met since primary school till now have always called me Cliffy! Anyway, for every 50 posts I come up with, and every 25,000 pageviews, I'm donating a sum of money to the World Food Programme. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

SIN: Kentucky Fried Chicken {CNY 2014}

Chicken with cereals and curry leaves!

Happy Chinese New Year! I believe our Chinese readers are having sumptuous reunion dinner at the moment. To the rest, happy holiday! Before going off tomorrow for a long weekend (I'll reveal the place at the end of the review), I'm ending this month with a short review on a limited promotional item from KFC Singapore.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

JPN: Mimasu-Ya (みます屋)

Chewy udon rolled with juicy beef!

Walking along Pontocho, an alley lined with restaurants and bars near Gion in Kyoto, brought back memories. When I came to Japan in June last year, I didn't walk to the other end of the alley, and had quite a sumptuous dinner at Izumoya. That night, I decided to walk further with my BFFs. We eventually came across Mimasu-Ya which bears a Trip Advisor sign on its facade, specialising in innovative tapas-style dishes.

Monday, January 27, 2014

JPN: Kogane Taiyaki (黄金鯛焼き)

Trio filling of rice cake, green tea cream and red bean paste!

Having said goodbye to the snowman we made in Hokkaido, we finally reached Kyoto. I found myself back in Gion, that district famous for geisha (Japanese female entertainers), where I stayed in Hotel Sasarindou in June last year. It was 31 December; the streets were full of people, citizens and foreigners alike, including police to deal with the crowd and rowdy individuals. In the midst of absorbing the festivity, I succumbed to the temptation of taiyaki (Japanese fish-shaped cake).

Friday, January 24, 2014

JPN: Family Mart (ファミリーマート) [Oden & Chinese Buns]

Where Chinese bun and Italian pizza meets!

Before I move on to the things I had in the second part of the trip in the Kansai region, I'd like to introduce some of the freshly made snacks you can get in Family Mart, which already has a total of more than 10,000 outlets in Japan alone. There is one outlet which is conveniently located inside Hotel Sunroute New Sapporo where I stayed in.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

JPN: Tonkatsu Wako (とんかつ和幸)

Affordable and yummy tonkatsu set with clam miso soup!

Our Sapporo trip ended on a high note with a sumptuous lunch before going to the airport. Tonkatsu Wako is said to be the largest chain of restaurants specialising in, well, tonkatsu (Japanese breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet) using meat imported from the USA.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

JPN: Hotel Sunroute New Sapporo (ホテルサンルートニュー札幌) [Breakfast]

Ultra sweet pumpkin croquette; ultra crispy croissant!

I stayed at Hotel Sunroute New Sapporo (3*), which is quite close to Odori Park where my BFF made a snowman on our last day in Hokkaido, for a total of three nights. One thing for sure, everything exceeded my expectation of a 3* hotel. The buffet breakfast was definitely one that I truly enjoyed, not forgetting the view of trees covered with snow outside.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

JPN: Kuni Mitsu (國光)

A Westerner preparing a nice butter and corn ramen!

Sapporo is truly the City of Ramen. It's said that there are over a thousand ramen eateries in the modern capital of Hokkaido. If you happen to be walking around the red-light district of Susukino (yes, I've just realised, after reading from the Internet, that it's THAT kind of place!), you may not want to miss the Ramen Yokocho, an alley full of small eateries serving mouth-watering variations of Sapporo ramen. Not knowing which one is the best, I just dropped by one of them.

Monday, January 20, 2014

JPN: Kaza Bana (風花)

Super sweet chestnuts on claypot rice!

How fitting it was, coming to the restaurant during winter, as kaza bana can be translated as 'flurry of snow'. Located on the 10th floor of Seibu Department Store which is just a stone's throw away from Asahikawa station, it serves a selection of kamameshi (Japanese claypot rice).

Saturday, January 18, 2014

JPN: Yumoto Shirogane Onsen Hotel (湯元白金温泉ホテル) [Breakfast]

Custard-like egg white and creamy yolk of hot spring egg!

I had a truly refreshing, uninterrupted sleep after the sumptuous dinner and the hot spring experience the previous day. Awakened by the dim morning sun rays overshadowed by falling snowflakes, I got up and prepared  myself for the buffet breakfast offered by the hotel.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

JPN: Yumoto Shirogane Onsen Hotel (湯元白金温泉ホテル) [Dinner]

The best fatty pork stew I've ever had in my life!

It was snowing heavily that day, but we managed to get to Yumoto Shirogane Onsen Hotel in one piece. Spending a night at a hotel with its own natural hot spring was a truly wonderful experience, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. However, instead of soaking ourselves first, we actually went to have our dinner after looking around the hotel.

Monday, January 13, 2014

JPN: Ekiben from Sapporo Station

Winter bento and chewy yanagi mochi, anyone?

I've always made it a point to buy ekiben, a term used to which refers to boxed meals sold in railway stations throughout the country, whenever I'm in Japan. Unlike the ekiben from Kyoto Station, the ekiben from Sapporo station doesn't seem to have the amount of calories written on the packaging. We bought a total of three ekiben before our journey to Yumoto Shirogane Onsen Hotel in Biei, Hokkaido.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

JPN: Waraku (和楽)

Big-sized salmon roe on your sushi!

Still in Hokkaido, after taking an evening stroll along the Otaru canal, we were trying to walk to Minami Otaru station. Along the way, we had a simple meal at Waraku. Different from the Waraku chain of restaurants in Singapore, the one that I visited in Otaru, Hokkaido is a kaiten zushi, or conveyor belt sushi, restaurant. As usual, the colours of the plates indicate the prices, and I'm going to start with the more costly items that I tried.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

JPN: Hyousetsu no Mon (氷雪の門)

Elaborate crab course meals in Sapporo, Hokkaido!

Translated as 'the Gate of Ice and Snow', Hyousetsu no Mon is one of the well-known restaurants serving crab course meals. My BFFs and I ordered a total of three course meals which didn't do too much damage on our pockets:

- Gate of Ice (氷の門): 10 items, ¥3,850 (~S$46.75)
- Delicious Crab Lunch (デリシャス蟹ランチ): 9 items,¥4,800 (~S$58.30)
Delicious Crab Shabu-Shabu Lunch (デリシャス蟹しゃぶランチ): 7 items,
   ¥4,500 (~S$54.65)

There were some dishes which overlapped, but anyway, let's start with the Gate of Ice (氷の門) course meal!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

JPN: Gyuu Ichi (牛一)

Milk and butter in an awesome ramen bowl!

Eating ramen during winter was truly heart-warming. Just like the Japanese, I'd say, "大最高!" I guess it can be loosely translated as "really the best!" Anyway, we found a small eatery near the Sapporo Clock Tower. To beat the chilly weather and to satisfy our hungry stomachs, we went in to look at what they've got to offer.

Monday, January 6, 2014

JPN: Goryo

Yummy udon with crunchy tempura flakes!

It felt really great to be back in the Land of the Rising Sun for the second time in 2013. I took Malaysian Airlines (the review will be coming soon) to Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan via Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. While waiting for our flight to Hokkaido with ANA, we had a simple lunch at Goryo, one of the restaurants in Terminal 1 of the airport. Note that there isn't any English menu available, but ironically, the restaurant name is written in Latin alphabets.

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