Posts Tagged ‘Travelling’

Cafe Ekberg, Helsinki, Finland

Café Ekberg has been around since 1852. They serve buffet breakfasts and daily lunch specials, however, we were here for a quick stop during our shopping expedition as Dragon was asleep and I needed to sit down (she was sleeping on the hip seat and I have been walking with her ‘attached’ to me like a koala for at least 4 hours!)


Café Ekberg is a very popular café and not only does it serve breakfast and lunch, it also serves great pastries and cakes. It is famous for the napoleon which we ordered and I have to say, I can understand why. Pastry flaky and the cream filling were not super rich. Perfect with a cup of tea!


I also couldn’t go past the ginger bread – it wasn’t too sweet and didn’t have a strong ginger taste which Dragon also loved!


Service was friendly and polite. The place was busy no matter what time it was but the pastries are definitely worth going for.

Next door to the café is a patisserie in which you can buy more cakes and bread to take home. We bought a couple of bread for Dragon to eat and no doubt she demolished them!


On the first few nights we were in Helsinki, Dragon and I were still very jet lag. ‘The Mother’ has been in Europe a week earlier so he was ok and has adjusted. Unfortunately for him, Dragon and I ended up sleeping rather early, mid-afternoon early, 4.30pm on the first day and then 5.30pm on the second day. He was so looking forward to going out for dinner with us, however, we were so tired that an earth quake couldn’t wake us up!

On one of the nights, he went to get Hesburger – Finland’s version of McDonalds – he bought me a chicken burger and chicken nuggets for Dragon. I have to say, it was pretty decent and I preferred this over Mc Donalds.


Jet lag is never fun, she got up at 2am the first day we were there. It took her about 4 – 5 days to go back to normal. Rule of thumb I hear, one day for each hour, which is about right.

So unfortunately we didn’t go out for dinner very often in Helsinki as we ate a lot of Pizza, and left over pasta! HA!

GA’s rating Café Ekberg: 7.5 / 10

Address: Bulevardi 9, 00120 Helsinki

Tel: +358 9 6811 860


Wonton House, Melbourne

We had originally wanted to go to Hutong for dinner in China Town but it was fully booked. Our fault for not organising it early enough! ‘The Mother’, Brother in Law and I were catching up with two of our friends in Melbourne, P and R. A lot of places we thought of was either closed or fully booked, so we took a stroll down China Town and P suggested this place.

Oddly though, as the name suggests, Wonton House, we did not order any wontons or any dumplings! Thought we would each pick a dish…

Fish and bbq pork tofu hot pot. Usually one of my favourite dish in Chinese restaurant but this was average. The tofu was nice, but the fish I thought had too much batter.

The beef in black bean sauce I thought was ‘different’. The sauce was way too thick and salty, it was a shame cause the beef was incredibly tender!

I really liked the salt and pepper fried tofu. Lightly battered, the tofu was soft and extremely yummy! Couldn’t help but eat more than one!

Lastly, watan hor – thick rice noodles topped with thick egg gravy sauce with seafood was a winner amongst the diners.

Overall the food was ok. From memory, the total bill came to $85.00 – which is ok but definitely have had better Chinese food in Sydney.

After dinner, we went for dessert. Can’t for the life of me remember the name of the cafe, but we shared Bailey’s cheese cake and OH MY! It was absolutely divine! Absolutely loved it!

It was definitely lovely to catch up with P and A – hoping to catch up with you both soon!

GA’s ratings: 6 / 10

Wonton House

181 Russell St

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Ph: +61 3 9662 9882

Wonton House on Urbanspoon

Bali here I come…

September 20, 2011 9 comments

It’s been almost 3 years since my last visit to Bali and I can’t remember the number of times ‘The Mother’ and I have been. I first took ‘The Mother’ to Bali when we first started dating and has fallen in love ever since! He even wanted Bali to be our last honeymoon destination and what a brilliant idea that was after a whirl-wind trip! Swimming in our own private pool, sipping cocktails and eating wonderful food!

The first time I took ‘The Mother’ to Indonesia, I think it was a shock to his system! Bad traffic, bad pollution and a horrendous amount of people – ‘The Mother’ just doesn’t like crowds! Also, it is not the cleanness place, so he had the Indonesian belly! I think the highlight though would be the road trip from Malang to Bali, and stopping mid-way at Gunung Bromo, an active volcano and part of the Tengger massif in East Java Indonesia. My wonderful Aunt and Uncle, took their kids (my cousins) and us and have to say, we had an AWESOME time! The view was just spectacular and we got up at a ridiculous time to watch the sunrise – well worth it!

For those who knows me well, will know that I have created a list of food that I would like to eat. Since I am going to just Bali and not all the food and snacks are the same in Indonesia, I have given that list to my parents and cousins who has outsourced to my aunts and uncle all over Indonesia to buy! God Bless them!

My passticerie cousin is getting married in Bali and I have been looking forward to it since the day she told me! She made my gorgeous wedding cake below – and the figurine too! No dear cousin, I will not be returning the favour and making your wedding cake! BUT I will see you soon.

So… Bali here I come! I am so looking forward to the food, no doubt there will be a lots of food consumed, especially the suckling pig at Ibu Oka. Looking forward to a bit of sun (ok a lot of sun and warm weather!), reading, R&R and catching up with the family.

See you all when I get back! May do a quick post whilst in Bali… we’ll see!

Earl Canteen, Melbourne

I had the pleasure of going to Melbourne last week for a long weekend. Virgin and Qantas had cheap flights and my brother and I couldn’t help but get tickets. Cheap flights, great food – what’s there not to like.

There were a couple of restaurants that I had to go – Cutler and Co was on top of my list! So were Movida, Cummulus, HuTong Dumpling Bar, Earl Canteen and a couple more. However, unfortunately, we didn’t get to eat at all those places. Most places either don’t take reservation or they were fully booked – FIVE WEEKS IN ADVANCE! Who plans that far ahead? Clearly not me!

I was in Melbourne with the family and my brother and sis-in-law, I noticed that the bigger the group, the hardere it was to just rock up and get a table.

We started with Earl Canteen, which can be found in Melbourne CBD. It’s hidden behind the NAB building at 500 Bourke Street, and we were lucky enough to get a table straight away, right next to the kitchen. The place was busy, diners queuing, ordering their food and diners waiting to eat.

F ordered the pork belly – crisp skin otway pork belly, apple, cabbage and fennel coleslaw, wilted silverbeet, baguette ($13.50). My goodness – crispy pork belly with crackle!!! It was defliciously tender and succulent. The bread was slightly toasted and was crunchy. I heard the pork is cooked for 16 hours, overnight and then in the oven the next morning. F loved it, I probably should have ordered this, but instead opted for something else.

My parents and sis-in-law, O, ordered the Earl lunch box which consisted of a sandwich, salad and seasonal fruit friand ($13.50). Compared to the pork belly baguette, this looked totally unappealing, but it tasted better than it looked! Both opted for the free range chicken paper roll with avocado, corn and saffron mayonnaise. The salad, zucchini, green beans, currant and almonds were delicious, but the pork belly ROCKED!

I ordered the hot smoked huon salmon, quinoa, lentils, beans and piquillo peppers ($11). Generous chunks of salmon, which was tender and succulent. The quinoa, lentils, beans and peppers were a great complement. It was seriously tasty!

I can see why Earl Canteen is SO popular. Service was quick and efficient. If I worked in  Melbourne CBD, this would definitely be my local!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

F’s ratings: 8 / 10

Earl Canteen

500 Bourke Street (enter via Little Bourke)

Melbourne 3000

Ph: +61 3 9600 1995

EARL Canteen on Urbanspoon

Tokyo Eateries, Part 2..

More on the Tokyo eateries…..

7. Genpin Fugu, Shinjuku

One thing I wanted to eat in Japan was FUGU! Also known as puffer fish, it can be lethally poisonous due to its tetrodotoxin, a poison that is 1200 times more lethal than cyanide. It only takes a small amount to kill a person and each blow fish contains enough to kill 30 people, therefore has to be carefully prepared. I am not quite sure what my obsession with fugu is but I HAD to try it. Not sure if it’s trying to live dangerously or the simpsons episode but I was determined to eat it.

Genpin Fugu is a restaurant that serves fugu and nothing else. There are many branches; however, ‘The Mother’ and I went to the one in Shinjuku. Upon entering the restaurant, there is a fish tank where your meal is still swimming around in it. It is one of the ugliest fish I have ever seen!

‘The Mother’ and I opted for one set course (they are really into their set courses!) plus another serving of hot pot.

We started with the ‘Yubiki’ – boiled chopped skin served with sauce which was AMAZING! The sauce consisted of soy sauce, shallots, garlic and onions. The fugu was fresh, it was a little chewy but eaten with the sauce was quite tasty.

Next the fugu sashimi. The sashimi itself was a little dull and tasteless, it has a similar texture to yellow tail but it has a really interesting effect of numbing your mouth after a few bites. Dipped in sauce, it gave it more flavouring and taste. Surprisingly, both ‘The Mother’ and I really enjoyed it.

The fugu hot pot – now this was incredible and you have to see it to believe it. Cooked on the table in the most amazing pots, it’s a basket with a piece of paper lining – yes just a paper lining! You then cook everything in there – I was amazed and I kept wondering how this paper didn’t rip or whiltered?

The sauce – I LOVED! One of the best I have ever eaten.

The different cuts of fugu – ready to be boiled and eaten.

Cooking the fugu and vegetables.

The boiled fugu was wonderful, it was still a tad chewy and tasteless but again with the sauce was excellent.

The ‘Zousui’ – porridge of rice and egg yolks cooked with the broth and as horrible as it looks, it was actually quite tasty. Similar to that of porridge, it was moist and more watery than porridge or congee. ‘The Mother’ had about three bowls, he definitely enjoyed it.

Lastly, dessert, a scoop of macadamia ice cream, it was creamy with big chunks of macadamia and was the perfect way to end the meal.

I really wanted to try the ‘torafugu karaage’ – deep fried fugu, but ‘The Mother’ was full and well I doubt I could have eaten the whole thing on my own.

Everything was fresh, I have heard that this delicacy can get really expensive. One set meal and an extra hot pot costs about (5900 yen, which is about AUD 72).

We both survived it, so if you feel like you want to live dangerously for a night and want to try something different, go for it, try the fugu!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

‘The Mother’s’ ratings: 7.5 / 10

Genpin Fugu

2F, 3-8-2 Shinjuku,

Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Ph: +81 3 3341 9529

6. Soba and Tempura, Akasuka

‘The Mother’ and I were meeting some friends for lunch who has recently moved to Tokyo for work – LUCKY SOD! So jealous! ‘The Mother’ worked with H and luckily for him, got a transfer to Tokyo to work.

Unfortunately S, H’s beautiful wife, couldn’t be there as she had a big night the night before and was not feeling too great. S had picked this wonderful all you can eat restaurant, she loves food just as much as I do, however, H could not find it, so we went to the first restaurant that we saw which was this soba house, call Tanakaya.

Soba is a thin buckwheat noodles which can be eaten either hot or cold and are great all year long.

‘The Mother’, H and I all opted for the tempura, soba lunch set, except H opted for the cold soba. Prepared in a different way to that of pasta, most Japanese noodles, including soba are rinsed vigorously in cold running water to get rid of excess starch. The cold soba was served on a sieve-like bamboo tray called a zaru with dipping sauce known as soba tsuyu on the side. The tsuyu is made of a strong mixture of dashi, sweetened soy sauce and mirin.

It was a cold day and I couldn’t bear the thought of eating cold soba, so opted for the hot soba. It was served in a bowl of hot tsuyu, which is thinner than that used as a dipping sauce for chilled soba. The soba was cooked to perfection and delicious, I couldn’t help but keep slurping the soba – it was good.

The tempura, was served on a bowl of rice, prawns, fish, eggplant and pumpkin – it was wonderful and a great complement to the soba. The rice was a little too much for my liking!

It was great catching up with H, I am a little jealous of his new venture in Tokyo! It was an enjoyable meal, and reasonably cheap too, about 1400 yen (AUD 20).

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

‘The Mother’s’ ratings: 8 / 10

Soba Tanakaya –

5. Gonpachi, Roppongo Hills

If you have watched kill bill, then you will recognise the battle scene – it is one that is not forgotten easily. Uma Thurman in her yellow jumpsuit with her big samurai sword being all scary and well quite impressive in my opinion. This restaurant can be found near Roppongo hills in Tokyo.

I have heard about this restaurant from various friends, and was keen to check it out (and because I am a Kill Bill fan!). Upon entering, we were greeted by all the staff who loudly shout their welcomes in unison. We didn’t have a reservation but were offered a table by the bar which suited us fine.

‘The Mother’ didn’t want the set menu – too much food he claims so we opted for a la carte. We started with the grilled miso glazed back cod and it was as delicious as it looked! It was served with a mound of grated daikon. The cod was wonderfully cooked, the skin was caramelised and sticky and the miso marinade was delightfully sweet. A great start!

‘The Mother’ and I were highly impressed with the kakuni stewed pork belly with radish served with half a boiled egg. The pork belly was so tender it just fell apart. It was brilliant, we couldn’t help but fight for every single last piece.

The japanese wagyu beef steak was to die for. Served medium rare, the beef just melted in the mouth, no chewing required and the grated daikon was a great complement. This was definitely a winner for me.

The charred grilled eggplant with chicken miso sauce and cheese was delicious. Soft tender eggplant baked with miso and sprinkled over cheese – it was gooey and cheesy. ‘The Mother’ didn’t want any of this, so yes, I ate the whole thing myself! Appalled? I was!

‘The Mother’ opted for the kake soba – plain noodels served in hot broth. It was plain but ‘The Mother’ certainly enjoyed it.

They do have set meals if you don’t want to pick and choose. The restaurant is simple but wonderfully decorated. I love the lanterns hanging from the ceiling. The waitress were attentive and service excellent. It was a fun and buzzing restaurant  at affordable prices. I would definitely recommend Gonpachi, even if its just for lunch and to check out the fighting scene!

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

‘The Mother’s’ ratings: 7.5 / 10


1F,2F, 1-13-11 Nishiazabu,

Minato-ku, Tokyo 106-0031

Ph: +81 3 5771 0170

Hope you have all enjoyed part two of Tokyo Eateries. Last post of Tokyo eateries to come shortly.

Second stop, Nozawa Onsen

The next day, we caught the JR train to Nagoya Station and caught the local train to Nozawa Onsen. It took a while, from memory about three to four hours, and I have to admit, I did sleep most of the way. There is something soothing about catching the train and just letting your mind drift and then fall asleep!

Nozawa Onsen is a cute little town, which is tucked into a corner of the Eastern Japan Alps. It is the quintessential Japanese onsen and ski resort. You can walk to the ski slopes from pretty much anywhere you are staying. Although Nozawa is worth visiting anytime of the year, the main attraction is actually skiing.

We stayed at Kiriya Ryokan, a wonderful little place that has Japanese-style rooms. We slept on futons and wore a kimono to dinner and breakfast. I do remember staying at places like this the last time I was in Japan and enjoyed it.

We arrived around lunch time, and as per usual, I was starving! We went to restaurant which was a couple of houses down, Restaurant Billiken. It was snowing and the place was empty. I assumed everyone were skiing, and ‘The Mother’ and I planned on going after lunch.

On the menu, we noticed they had horse meat sashimi – don’t knock it until you have tried it! It was like beef tartare, only that it was a little chewy and rough. It tasted like beef but we both certainly enjoyed it.

‘The Mother’ opted for the vegetarian soba – which I thought was a little weird. No meat? The soup was hot, and full of flavour, the soba was soft and cooked to perfection. Mix with different types of vegetables, it was surprisingly good.

I on the other hand ordered the katsu don, another favourite of mine. Deep fried pork and topped with egg and sweet onions on a mountain of rice! The pork was tender, and batter light but a tad soggy after the egg. The egg and sweet onions were the perfect combination. I have always enjoyed this dish, it was good but I wouldn’t say it was the best I have ever had!

Scrumptiously full, we thought we would rest for a couple of minutes before heading to the slopes. Unfortunately, that couple of minutes turned into a couple of hours of nap and before we knew it, it was 4.30 pm and way too late to go skiing! Probably a good thing, as the weather was horrid, it was snowing and visibility was poor.

So we decided to do the next best thing, onsen. For those who have never been to an onsen, it can be slightly intimidating. Being totally naked in front of someone else can be rather uncomfortable. This is not the first time for me, I remember when I went to boarding school for three months, the shower was similar to that of an onsen. The more you try to cover up, the more others will look at you. There are separate male and female onsen, for obvious reasons which I am sure you know.

An onsen is a term for hot springs though the term is often used to describe bathing facilities and inns around the hot spring. There was an onsen in our hotel which was perfect. Below is a little instruction or etiquette on how one should behave in an onsen. I won’t go into the details, but from the picture below, you enter the bath house naked, wash yourself clean with soap and shampoo that’s provided. Make sure that all the suds are washed off before entering the hot bath. Now the hot bath is HOT! But once entering, it is actually quite soothing and relaxing. I certainly enjoyed it, and felt absolutely refreshed and clean once I got out.

We had dinner at the hotel, kaiseki which is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner. WOW! Kaiseki started with just a miso soup and three side dishes, however, it has evolved and includes an appetizer, sashimi, a simmered dish, a grilled dish and a steamed course – so much food! There were ALL that plus more!

The sashimi – a favourite of ours, fresh and delicious!

Grilled vegetables – which was nice but some were ‘interesting’ to say the least.

Agedahi tofu, another favourite of mine, which was served at room temperature and was wonderful.

Radish – vinegarish and refreshing, palate cleanser.

Steamed pork with radish, I wasn’t a fan of the radish this time but the pork, wonderful!

The steamed course, sukiyaki with beef – WOW! Beef was tender and succulent, soup deliciously sweet and wonderful. If only I had more beef.

Tempura – vegetables and a prawn which was excellent.

Steamed salmon with egg which I enjoyed, salmon was so tender and the egg a great complement.

Not to mention the grilled prawn sprinkled with salt.

Miso soup which was warm and divine.

And dessert, sweet poached apple which was the perfect way to end the meal.

We waddled back to our room, read and fell asleep! It was indeed a fantastic day.

Here is the view in the morning from our room, snowed under!

The next morning, we had a traditional Japanese style breakfast. Similar to that of dinner, there were a lot of food which consists of steamed rice, miso soup and various side dishes including broiled / grilled fish, tamagoyaki, onsen tamago, tsukemono pickles, seasoned nori, natto and many more.

Pickles and fried egg – the pickles I wasn’t a fan off, but the fried egg cooked to perfection and oozed with yolk!

Beans, mushroom and pickles – the beans I loved! It was sweet and tasty. And the grilled salmon that you see at the end which was fantastic!

The mix salad with corn and mayonnaise, again delicious.

The seasoned nori, it was served at room temperature but delightful.

The miso soup – you can never go wrong with miso soup!

Thankfully we only stayed for one night, imagine if we stayed the whole week – so much delicious food!

We weren’t leaving Nozawa until late afternoon so decided to go for a half day ski! Oh how I have missed skiing – it certainly has been a while!

Fresh powder every where! ‘The Mother’ fell and struggled to get out, but the view, was just magnifique – photos below.

Our half day pass only allowed us to ski till midday, so after that, we went back to the hotel, cleaned up (even managed to go for one last onsen!) and headed to the station to go back to Tokyo! It was a good half day of skiing – I kind of wished we were staying for another day but I was looking forward to the wonderful eateries and sigh seeing in Tokyo.

Till next time, Tokyo.

GA’s ratings on Restaurant Billiken: 7 / 10

Right next to Yoshimi Soba and down from Ogama

GA’s ratings on Kiriya Ryokan: 8 / 10

8714-2 Nozawa Onsen-mura

Shimotakai-gun, Nagano-ken

Ph: +81 269 389 2502

First stop, Matsumoto, Japan

Japan, I have been looking forward to going back for such a long time! ‘The Mother’ and I have not been to Japan together, I have previously gone with some girlfriends to ski and with my parents, and spent a good three months in Kyoto in a boarding school so I can ‘perfect’ my Japanese. Needless to say, that, I didn’t end up doing Japanese for my High School Certificate and have forgotten most of my Japanese. One good thing though, it was one of the best thing that happened to me during high school and made some wonderful memories and friends.

Our first stop in Japan was Matsumoto. We arrived in Tokyo and took the JR Shinonoi Line, the train took about 2.5 – 3 hours, I can’t exactly remember as I passed out and slept most of the way. Matsumoto is located in Nagoan Prefecture on Honshu, main island of Japan. It boasts ‘a surprisingly metropolitan atmosphere while maintaining historical sites and traditions’. The streets are super clean, so clean that ‘The Mother’ would eat off it, and the people are extremely friendly! Apparently the region is famous for delicious apples and soba (buckwheat noodles).

We stayed in a cute little hotel call Dormy Inn, in the heart of Matsumoto. As ‘The Mother’ checked in, I was going through a couple of pamphlets and something caught my eye ‘the Staffs recommendations for eating out’ – PERFECT! Unfortunately, I didn’t really do my research on Matsumoto so was happy to have found this little information – check out the drawing below, it is pretty neat!

We got there early, so thought we would check out the castle, completed in 1614, it is considered one of Japan’s top three castles. The scenery from the castle is quite breath taking, the photo below really doesn’t do any justice! It was truly magical and mind blowing.

You can enter the castle, admission is around 600 yen, and climb to the top of the stairways. From there, you can see the whole view of Matsumoto town. Below is a little sneak peak of Matsumoto town from the top of the castle, gorgeous.

The castle is located 15 mins from Matsumoto station and admission ticket also includes Matsumoto City Museum on the castle grounds, with artefacts documenting the history of the city. I really do love the scenery below!

First stop, lunch! Recommended by the staff of the hotel – Pork cutlet and Japanese curry – Takuma (Tonkatsu and curry) and my goodness, it was one of the best Japanese curry I have ever had!

It’s a very casual place that serves pork cutlet and Japanese style curry. I am not a huge fan of curries usually, but I have taken a liking to Japanese curry, and had to try in Japan. We started with a salad, fresh fruits with vegetable drizzled with mayonnaise. I certainly enjoyed it but ‘The Mother’ just ate the fruits. He is not big on mayonnaise and didn’t particular like the cabbage!

I opted for the pork katsu curry, and it was sensational. It was quite a large serving, which suited me fine – the bigger the better, I was ravenous. The pork was tender and succulent, the batter was light and extremely crunchy, even after it was poured with curry sauce. The sauce was wonderful, it was slightly spicy and not sickening, I could have easily drunk the sauce on its own, but that would seem a tad wrong!

‘The Mother’ is not so big on Japanese curry, so opted for something smaller. He ordered the pork loin, half size with curry. The batter was exactly the same, just a different cut of pork and it was just as good as mine. The difference is I don’t think I would have been satisfied with this, it was just too small! Yes – I can eat!

The whole meal came to 1650 yen, which is about AUD$22 which I thought was pretty good!

Deliciously full, we thought we would wonder around the town. We found a park, which was walking distance from the hotel. We sat there for a while admiring and soaking up the view. It was beautiful. Life was good, things were great, if only we could stop time.

We went back to the hotel and rested for a bit before heading out for dinner. ‘The Mother’ wanted yakitori, something he enjoyed and we found this cool yakitori place near our hotel. The place was buzzing, lots of diners, and since we didn’t have a booking, we sat by the bar, which was no problem at all! I can see the chefs in action.

We started with Tsukune – chicken skewered meatballs with quail eggs in side. Tender chicken and the surprise of a quail egg which was cooked to perfection was just amazing. We both really enjoyed this dish.

I couldn’t help but order fried chicken wings – hot deep fried chicken wings. They were tasty, I sense that they were battered with beer as it had a strong beer flavour. It was spicy and crunchy, and absolutely soft and juicy on the inside. It was a winner!

Next the chicken skins – these were crunchy and soft at the same time. Tiny chicken skins barbequed with salt. It was good.

The pork neck salad was incredibly! Ever since that pork neck dish at Gi Kee in Hong Kong, I have to order it if it’s on the menu. The pork neck was deliciously succulent and tender and was absolutely wonderful. I could have easily eaten the whole thing on my own!

The skewered rolled pork meat and mini tomatoes was ‘The Mother’s’ favourite. He loves the juicy roasted tomato that bursts in your mouth.

The grilled chicken breast filled with yuzu flavoured chilling was nice but nothing to rave about. The yuzu sauce was delicious but the chicken breast was so so.

Last but not least, just a stick for me, as I could still eat, chicken thigh carcass meat with pong vinegar was the perfect way to end. It was so tender that it required absolutely no chewing, and just melted in your mouth.

It was a fantastic meal, we both certainly enjoyed the meal and was absolutely stuffed. The meal costs about 2500 yen, which is about AUD$33, which isn’t too shabby at all!

For dessert, we thought we would get something from the convenience store. There are so many different types of ice cream that ‘The Mother’ wanted to try as many as he can. I was a tad full but couldn’t help but have some of his crème brule ice cream. Chocolate coated, with crème brule flavoured ice cream – it was just to die for! I loved it! I probably should have got one for myself but knew I would be sick.

Matsumoto is a beautiful city, it is Nagano-ken’s second largest city and has been around since at least the 8th century. I love the view of the Japan Alps and it is a transit hub for Japan Alps National Park and Kiso Valley. I would recommend going there, but don’t think you need to stay more than a day, two max.

Next stop, Nozawa Onsen for a day of skiing.

GA’s ratings on Takuma: 8 / 10

Takuma (Tonkatsu & Curry)

1 Choume, Chuuo

Matsumoto, Japan

Ph: +81 263 35 6434

GA’s ratings on Yakitori: 8 / 10

Fukashi, Matsumoto,

Nagano, Japan