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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

[Japan] Lunch @ Venus Fort Food Court

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Venus Fort
1 Aomi, Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan

As part of our tourist itinerary, we visited the beautiful Tokyo Bay located on the southern region of Tokyo. The area is a collective of many islands, all of which are man-made with the except of one. These islands serve as a home for military bases, landfills, Haneda international airport, and tourism.  Because Rob wanted to see the Toyota MegaWeb showroom (part of Venus Fort mall) , we ended up going to Odaiba, which seems to be the most tourist friendly out of all the islands. It has a private light rail (Yurikamome rapid transit line) connecting various tourist attractions including the MegaWeb Toyota ShowcaseRainbow Bridge, Tokyo Big Sight Exhibition Centre, Fuji Television Studios, Aqua City Mall, and  the Statue of Liberty replica, among many others.We spent the entire day here, and was probably my favourite day in Tokyo.

Tokyo Big Sight
Statue of Liberty Replica and Rainbow bridge in the background

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The Mega Web Showcase and the Skywheel at the back

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Inside of the Venus Fort. It has a venice themed interior.

Okay, enough of the tourist plug. Rob and I got pretty hungry while we were at the Venus Fort and decided to grab lunch inside the mall. The mall is overflowing with restaurants, but the only catch is that they are international cuisine! We both felt it would be a waste of and airplane ticket to come all the way to Japan, and have an over priced American burger, or Italian spaghetti. We ended up eating at the food court (located on the 3rd floor of the mall) which had decent Japanese food at reasonable prices.

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We made our way to the food court, and after you order at the counter, they will give you this device which starts blinking when your order is ready. This isn't necessarily something new since we have this for restaurants in Toronto, but I find it definitely makes more sense having them in food courts where you can actually stroll around and do some shopping. Honestly, where do you go with that thing in a Toronto restaurant? That thing only has like a 1km radius, and that doesn't leave you with many alternatives than to just sit in the waiting area to be called.

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"Bu-Zen" in the Venus Fort food court

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Tempura Don Set (1,000 YEN or $13 CAD)

This set meal came with a tempura don, cold udon noodles with soya sauce, and some garnishes. I don't know how Japanese people stay so skinny. How is one person supposed to finish all this food? I wasn't all too impressed with the tempura, because it wasn't as crispy as I would've liked it. Placed a top a bed of steaming rice caused it to be soggy by the time everything else was plated and served to us. The udon on the other hand, as plain as it was, was delicious. None of that noodle sticky-ness, just a nice chewy texture. I tossed some of that minced radish, garlic, and sesame into the soya sauce and it was so yummy!

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"Aburidori Bali-cho" in the Venus Fort food court

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Tonkatsu Set (1,200 YEN or $16 CAD)

Not to be confused with "Tonkotsu" which is a type of Ramen, Tonkatsu is Japanese breaded and deep fried pork cutlet. It's often served with shredded cabbage which can be seen in the picture above. I suppose you can call it a coleslaw, but it wasn't at all vinegary. I didn't really enjoy it since it was too raw for my liking, but I ate it anyway to cover all my food groups. I did however like the small dish of bamboo shoots that they gave you. They were nice and crunchy, and mildly marinated with a ginseng-flavoured soya sauce.

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Close up of the Tonkatsu

The pork cutlet was average and not too memorable. I remember the batter being relatively crispy, but was quickly softened by the tonkatsu sauce. I did like the sauce though. It was tangy and a bit sour due to the  all the Worcestershire sauce.

While the food in comparison to the rest of the trip wasn't stellar, it was still quite good for what it was. And it certainly didn't take away from the overall experience of Tokyo Bay. Beautiful and fun place!