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Feb 12, 2009 06:25 AM

Exotic/Bizarre/Interesting Food in Tokyo??

I will be heading to Tokyo next year and I would love to try things that are uncommon to a westerner. Any suggestions or recommendations?? After reading some threads I will def look to try some horse sashimi.

Also, any sushi/sashimi I should look to try besides chicken, horse, and whale?? Those 3 I have read are a treat.

Also, any suggestions on getting around when you speak and read 0 japanese?

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  1. There is a whale restaurant in Shibuya that has an English menu (I think!)

    1. Try the tonkatsu sando, if you want bizarre.

      14 Replies
      1. re: Uncle Yabai

        Fried pork cutlet sandwich? Why is that bizarre? LOL Sounds like a chicken parm sandwich without the cheese and sauce.

            1. re: tjr

              I heard somewhere that taste is subjective...

              1. re: Uncle Yabai

                Hence why it looks appetizing (or not), depending on perspective :-)

                1. re: tjr

                  Never know tonkatsu sando would arouse such passionate debate...

              2. re: tjr

                If you want a truly bizarre sandwich, you can do a lot better than tokatsu sando: strawberry or banana sandwich. Yes - slices of bananas or strawberries with a bit of a white cream sandwiched between two slices of bread. While with a tonkatsu sando the sando bit is superflous, it is positively offensive with fruit.

                1. re: Asomaniac

                  "Vegetable" sandwich with a slice of ham is baffling as well.

                  1. re: tjr

                    Many years ago out of the goodness of their hearts the overlords of my old office supplied us with free sandwiches. One particular sandwich I will never forget was hotaru ika (whole baby squid) and potato salad on white bread. I don't think there is anyplace you could actually buy one, but I can testify that such a thing did exist.

          1. re: Uncle Yabai

            Weird, that's a go to sandwich for most people I know.

            1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

              It's my go to sandwich since I was like 3 years old.

              1. re: kobetobiko

                Yeah, that and Japanese style Chow Mein sandwiches.

                  1. re: tjr

                    Yeah, sort of. Only not in a hotdog like bun. More on some ghetto japanese home cooked style that doesn't outright have a specific name. But yeah, basically.

          2. While I do not enjoy any of the chicken, horse or whale sashimi, how about some fish milt (白子 shirako) ?

            6 Replies
            1. re: skylineR33

              While others may want to indulge, I think I draw the line at mollusk sperm. LOL Unless of course it is delicious? What about Funazushi or any kind of salted fish roe sacks?

              1. re: FoodDude2

                I don't think it is delicious, its taste and texture are not for everyone. For roe, maybe you want to try out Karasumi (mullet roe) ? It is kind of expensive, but it is also a famous food that can be found in Taiwan and Greece..etc, not only Japan.

                1. re: skylineR33

                  I love karasumi. My Italian grandmother used to cure it from scratch (called Bottarga in Italy) and we'd eat it with crusty bread and butter.

                  1. re: Uncle Yabai

                    Bottarga can be tuna roe as well, and yes, it's delicious.

                2. re: FoodDude2

                  Dont be too quick to write it off though. Remember, Uni is actually Sea Urchin gonads. In whole form... And Uni is delicious.

                3. re: skylineR33

                  LOVE shirako. can't get enough in Japan or NYC!

                4. You can always try Konowata (sea cucumber insides) or Konoko (sea cucumber ovaries). There is also Takonoko (octopus ovaries). As far as fish milt goes, Mashirako is best.

                  If you're interested in sacks the ovaries come in cured sacks called Bachiko.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                    Thanks. Those sound like exactly what I was looking for. Any suggestions on places to get these items??

                    1. re: FoodDude2

                      Hmmm, when I have them it's usually a special occasion/holiday with family, or it's included in Kaiseki meals I've had. I can't however recommend a restaurant that would specialize in any of these items.

                      Getting around speaking 0 japanese and being able to read 0 japanese won't be a huge problem cause most things are in english. However, not being able to speak/read japanese will limit you a bit as a lot of the best places gastronomically speaking don't have employees that understand english and don't have english menus.

                      You can pick up quite a bit in a year though...

                      1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                        Most of the items like shirako and Konowata are available in the US! Horse, Whale are indeed limited in Japan (or at least very very rare in the US)