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Eating Japan

Ruth Pretty recently spent a meal-packed 12 days in Tokyo, part of which time was spent discovering hidden gems with Eating Tokyo Tours…

Air New Zealand has day flights to Tokyo. It is like having a day off work.
All up, we spent 12 days in Tokyo. It was a non-stop frenzy of eating, drinking, revelling, slurping, comparing, goggling and smiling. On and off subways, off and on shoes, bullet trains, bar stools, low loungers and lifts. Shochu, sake, shark gristle, authentic Japanese food, great Western dishes, the best bread, contemporary global food, modern Japanese food and convenience food. So much to see and I don’t want to sleep.

Five days of our time in Tokyo were spent with Eating Tokyo Tours, during which time I was at least able to sleep a little, as Sue Dempsey and Janice Kirkwood had everything under control. Four hours with Sue and Janice in Isetan Tokyo Food Hall, the best food hall in the world, just wasn’t enough. And I yearn for the breakfast at Ryu Sushi after our visit to Tsukiji market, as well as for the barbecued corn cobs at Uoshin and tempura prawns at Tsunahachi.

So many things from this fleeting but fabulous trip have stayed with me: I still wonder if the little boy, no more than five years old, who was travelling alone on the subway with laptop, gumboots and blazer, made it home. And I’m grateful to Sue and Janice for introducing me to The Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories – available in the Japanese section of Air New Zealand inflight entertainment, and with English subtitles (as well as on Netflix).

I’m already plotting a return to Japan in 2018 with Eating Tokyo Tours…

Eating Tokyo Tours
This is the first year that Eating Tokyo Tours has guided people through a taste of Tokyo, but Sue Dempsey and Janice Kirkwood have been indulging their own obsession with Japanese cuisine for years. The pair have spent 20 years running Wellington’s iconic Caffe Astoria, and have now branched into the tour market. This year their itineraries included visits to gems such as Michelin-starred restaurants specialising in eels and sardines, a Japanese knife and kitchen shop, food halls, markets, and many more local secrets. Julie Clark from Wellington’s Floridita’s and Loretta also joined one of their tours this year, and says, “One of the dinners I enjoyed with Eating Tokyo Tours was the most outstanding meal of my life. The places we dined were so skilfully curated and the experiences truly memorable.”

Sue and Janice are currently working on their schedule for 2018 – for more information, visit www.eatingtokyotours.co.nz