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Saturday, February 05, 2005
 Inside Ootoya

Let me introduce you to Ootoya, my favorite restaurant in Japan!

Ootoya menu
Here is the menu sign outside the entrance. Ootoya is homestyle Japanese food with a simple but classy modern feel. And you guessed it, Ootoya has relatively low priced meals. If I like it, it must be a good deal!

The interior is new, bright and clean. It has counter seats at a rectangular central island which feels like being at a large dining table, as well as smaller half-booth tables. Left pocket and I prefer the private tables but Ootoya gets crowded at dinnertime, which is why we were at the counter for these pictures. You can see the self-serve free hot tea dispenser in the background along the wall.

Tofu and Chicken
This is what I order most often at Ootoya, the honnigari tofu to chikin no torotoro nii teishoku, 672yen. First of all it's got a good amount of vegetables--Chinese cabbage and carrot. Second, it isn't fried like so much Japanese food is. Third, it is truly filling because of the whole block of soft tofu they put in it, the vegetables and the soup, not to mention the rice and miso soup that comes with it. Another nifty thing about Ootoya is the size option they give for rice. When I eat the torotoro nii teishoku I grade down to sukuname rice and save a few calories and yen! I often pass my miso soup to the Left pocket if he has room to drink it.

Today's torotoro nii teishoku (both pockets ordered it) was tasty and had good amount of veggies. I've had bland versions, thick versions, thin soupy versions, few veggies, half chicken skin, lots of tender chicken meat, basically everytime is slightly different. I realized today how similar it is to Chinese egg drop soup! I enjoyed it but this time the chicken was a disappointment, being way overcooked and tough. Also my rice came mashed into the bowl but I loved the side veggies: bean sprouts, carrot and black fungus strips pickled in citrus or vinegar and black pepper. To me it had a familiar smell like something non-Japanese, perhaps sauerkraut? The other dishes are white takuan and miso soup with wakame and aburaage, or fried tofu skin.

Here's the Ootoya homepage (in Japanese).
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Seize the food, for Japan is time-service only! In other words, this blog is to preserve, share, and make the most of my six months left living in Japan. Yes, I am obsessed with food. Cheap food!

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Location: Tokyo/Saitama, Japan

Life is short so I eat fast, lest it get cold or disappear. I'm currently teaching English in Japan for two years. I was born and raised in California, and will be returning there in Summer 2005. I was ovo-lacto-vegetarian for about seven years but decided to let it go during second year in Japan!

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