(From January 2019)
At the beginning of our first trip to Japan at the start of 2019, I hadn’t been exposed to much authentic Japanese cuisine. Combining that with my not knowing my way around Yokosuka yet, & being in an area that has a heavy American influence right outside the US Naval base, we tried several options around town besides Japanese food.
Lotus Indian Curry House
My first meal in Japan wasn’t even Japanese but Indian, and I was alone while Rob was at work, which was disappointing for me. My first ever meal in Japan… alone. I wandered the local streets until I found a place that worked for me, a little hole in the wall Indian spot at the end of the Honch, called Lotus Indian Curry House. The place consists of only a couple of empoyees and only four or five tables. The waiter didn’t speak much English so there was some pointing to menu options but we got through it pretty easily. I had the coconut chicken curry because I love that stuff, and it came with a small salad & naan bread. The portions were smaller than what I’m used to back home but it was still more than enough food. I truly love Indian food & was so happy I found this place, and a bonus is that they do to go orders, which can be tough to find in Japan! The second time I ate here, I ordered the chicken tikka masala with turmeric rice, and it was delicious. While I waited for my food, they gave me a complimetary mango lassi, which was nice. A lassi is just basically a yogurt based smoothie.
Curry has that deliciously strong scent and there are quite a few places around here that serve it, so we’re smelling it all the time, and I crave it pretty much constantly. I ate chicken tikka, buriyani, butter chicken… that list goes on. I ate at Lotus at least once a week the entire time we were in Japan.
Coconut Chicken Curry. I didn’t take a picture of my naan or salad. There just wasn’t any way to make the coconut curry look appealing but, trust me, it was so good.
Chicken tikka masala with turmeric rice. They make you pay for the rice separately but it was so worth it.
Red Door Ramen
We were in Yokosuka for a few days before we got to go out for a meal together. This was disappointing for me, because my plan had been to get some authentic Japanese food as soon as possible, but it just didn’t play out that way. Our first Japanese lunch was at Red Door Ramen, which has it’s own blog, “Eat the Ramen,” they said. We chose this place because it’s near the hotel, and is well known to the Americans in town and people had good things to say about it. It was also helpful that they had an English menu… I’m just not sure that ramen is for me.
I always find the presentation of ramen dishes to be pretty. I also ordered these little curry filled pastries but I can’t remember what they were called.
Rob enjoys that fried rice. He tried my ramen and wasn’t into it either. He’s also really enjoying how often I make him pose for a picture during a meal.
Our second trip into Red Door Ramen just for their amazing fried rice. We also ordered some spring rolls which I enjoyed but Rob wasn’t a big fan. I was successful in eating my ramen and my fried rice with chopsticks so I was pretty happy with myself.
Rob’s beef fried rice was so good that we went back a couple days later to have pork fried rice for dinner. I don’t prefer to eat much pork but this was so good. This place served decent sized portions (maybe because they’re usually feeding American soldiers? idk) and I asked for the half order which was a good call. They were our first experience with a cash only policy. Rob really likes this place so I think we’ll end up here a lot.
Arabella’s is a little Meditteranean/Middle Eastern restaurant that I’ve been to twice, but unfortunately, didn’t take any pictures of the food either time. My first experience was on my own and I just really needed some hummus and it was so satisfying. The second time, Rob went with me, and he ordered two kebabs, one with chicken and one with a mixture of grounf beef & lamb. He enjoyed the chicken, but I don’t think lamb is for him & he didn’t even finish that one. I had a falafel wrap, which was okay but wasn’t my favorite. I’m sure I’ll end up there again when I get another hummus craving! We both ordered strawberry chu-hi’s, which are definitely the drink of choice for Americans in this area. Arabella’s is kind’ve a small spot, like so many of the other restaurants, and next time I’ll take pictures. They have a friendly staff, and there is a woman who stands outside in the evenings, trying to invite people into the restaurant. I walk by all the time but it took me a while to finally decide to go in and I think she was thrilled when I did.
Rob loves to make jokes about me and Alibaba, an Egyptian restaurant directly across the street from the hotel. At first, I was skeptical about eating there, because they open for the bar crowd in the evenings and they’re one of a few hookah lounges in the neighborhood, but I was curious about them. They offer the option to go in and sit down, or they have a window in the front of their restaurant where people can do to-go options. I was standing across the street, checking out their menu from a distance when the guy working noticed me and starting waving and talking to me so I figured, I might as well just try them out. So, I went over and ordered Egytpian shrimp curry, and the guy was very nice and chatty so we talked for a several minutes while he got my food together. Apparently, he’s been here for a little over four years and says he still doesn’t speak great Japanese. The owner and chef was there, too, and he was also a chatty guy. I’ve eaten there a couple more times since, and each time, it’s been good. I’ve only tried the shrimp curry and beef curry so far. Anyway, the reason Rob likes to make jokes is because of how I became fast friends with the people who work there, because they wave when they see me out & about, they’re very friendly when I order from them, and the owner hollered across the street to me to let me know they have new menu items. Hey, they are very conveniently located, they do to go orders so I can just take it right back to our room, they offer great service and I love curry so how can you blame me for wanting to keep going?? They also have chicken kebabs that are a lot better than some of the other places around here and Rob enjoyed those. They’re maybe like the “fast food” version of curry around here. I don’t say this because of the quality of their food, because they offer good food, which they take a lot of pride in, and I assure you, they’re cooking it… none of it’s from a box or frozen, and none of it is “fake.” I say this because they have a very small menu so it’s easy to just have everything ready to go so they can serve meals without a wait.
They also have some Egyptian shrimp tacos and a couple other things on their menu I’m interested in trying.
The owner is, in fact, from Egypt, and the employee I see there most is from Algeria.
Socially speaking, I think I enjoy these guys the most.
As I write this blog post, I am realizing that I’m probably eating too much curry and should expand my horizons a little more. As I say that, I am currently eating a pork curry from Coco Ichibanya, a Japanese curry restaurant. Pork is far from my favorite meat but I’ve never tried it in a curry so I decided to give it a go. Many of the restaurants who make curry ask how spicy they should make it, generally on a scale of 1-5. Sometimes, a 3 is really kickin’! I say that because the food I’m eating right now is especially spicy and I’m wishing I’d said 2. The cool thing about this restaurant is that they have a food truck that regularly parks right in front of the hotel. I can even see them from our balcony! The annoying thing about that is they seem to only park there when I have no intention of ordering from them, so I had to walk to their restaurant tonight. The curry I’m eating is pretty alright although next time, I will order the chicken cutlet variety. This place has good reviews online and was actually full of Americans who are curry lovers!
I’m trying to think of where else I might have eaten curry. Rob hasn’t joined me on any of my curry excursions, because I generally get it while he’s at work. If you ask him, he’ll say he’s not interested and doesn’t like curry, but I’ve made a couple of different curry dishes, and he liked them both so I don’t think he knows what he’s talking about! I’ve had Japanese, Egytpian and Indian curry and I imagine the base of the recipes are all similar to one another, but I love Indian food so Lotus makes me happy and, as of right now, they’re probably my favorite of the places I’ve eaten.
One day, just before I fell ill, we were wandering around the Honch, trying to pick a place to eat. Already realizing that I might be coming down with something, I wasn’t in the mood to play the “Where do you want to eat…?” game and we weren’t really agreeing on anything. We finally decided to stop in this tiny place, with no real tables, only a bar with a few stools. They’re just a little food stand where you can get things to go and take shots while standing outside their to go window. You can also choose to stay and eat at the bar, which is what we opted for. They’re going for that Southern California surfer vibe, calling themselves Surf Taco. I actually really like their name and think it would be perfect for a food truck down on Venice Beach or something. Anyway, we went at a good time because no one else was in there. Sometimes that place is empty but other days, I walk by and it’s packed. Rob ordered chili cheese fries and hot wings, I ordered a fish taco and a chicken taco. There’s really nothing authentic about this place, with a menu that also featured burritos, burgers and several more “Mexican” and non-Mexican options. Rob’s fries came with a cheese sauce, my tacos had pre-shredded cheese, but we knew what we were getting into so it was okay. It was like a cute version of Taco Time that also serves burgers & alcohol. For some reason, that fish taco was extremely satisfying, and I’m not sure if I was just that hungry or if it was just that good but we had an enjoyable experience at the un-authentic Mexican taco stand in Japan. It’s a cool little place if you want something simple and low key. I didn’t take pictures of the tacos… because they were tacos… with pre-shredded cheese… I can’ remember what kind of chu-hi Rob ordered but I got the Blue Hawaiian. They’re definitely appealing to the people who need a break from the local cuisine.