With Matsumoto providing a nice backdrop to undertake and to enjoy a few more mundane days within the journey around Japan. There was time here to explore the textiles, the crockery stores, the stationary shops along with time spent sitting and watching the world. Days like this provide the perfect opportunity to be lazy with food selection, to eat whatever I want rather than feel obliged to find something special.
Sometimes that can be as simple as sitting in the small park surrounding the superb Matsumoto castle on a sunny afternoon and enjoying vending machine ice creams, not necessarily going for the most exotic sounding one, a simple mint choc chip or banana ice cream sandwich because that is what I felt like, going back for another because the red bean and honey flavour really was too intriguing to not try.
Or grabbing something from one of the bakeries near the train station, I’d been trying to avoid the bakeries in Japan, there are plenty of them and some of the stuff is a little weird. Weird breads I like, I have been mildly obsessed with Hong Kong style bakeries in the past, man do they do weird! The cake doughnuts, curry filled doughnut and cheese filled melon flavoured bun, really didn’t let me down and were as good, and as weird as I had dreamed they would be.
I felt a little bad about the fried chicken thigh with bean sprouts and ponzu, mostly because the fried chicken breast cutlet I was eating was so enormous and although it was fried chicken it didn’t feel that Japanese. I love fried chicken, but it really didn’t satisfy me as much as I had thought it might, perhaps it was due to the fact that I had rocked the panko crumb hard the day before.
I was really looking to satisfy a katsu curry itch, but the tonkatsu restaurant didn’t extend their offer towards a curry sauce to eat the panko crumbed goodness with. I ordered what I could only describe as a panko crumb party, this was the samples of crumbed things chicken, pork loin, pork fillet, prawns and some tofu, all accompanied with some rice, miso soup and shredded cabbage. The soy cooked bean sprouts and salted lettuce on the table not really adding too much to the meal. My partners tonkatsu don with the house special sauce was pretty tasty, the onion laden sauce was a little sharp and seemed decidedly similar to the commercial table sauce with added onions.
Part of me really enjoyed the packet ramen that served as breakfast for a few days, it was quite fun choosing from the humongous selections available at almost every convenience store. Though it was often a little pot luck (pun intended) with what flavour the noodles would be a guess from the picture has the only hope, surprisingly some were almost as good as the ramen shops.
I don’t know if any trip to a Japanese city would be complete without a tai yaki, these fish shaped stuffed pastries have been everywhere, on this occasion the matcha flavour was the filling of choice, it was pretty good for matcha, but had me wishing for red bean instead.
Speaking of beans these little white bean bears where very cute, if they could have spoken I could just imagine their little voices begging to not be eaten, I felt a bit like a villain from a care bear cartoon when I bit off the head.