KyoTofu Fujino Cafe | Nishijin District – Kyoto

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KyotoTofu Fujino Cafe entrance.
KyoTofu Fujino Cafe entrance.

Within walking distance from the Kinkaku-ji temple you can treat yourself with delicious soy-based desserts at KyoTofu Fujino Cafe. There is also a restaurant serving traditional tofu meals and soy milk treats, but I only had time to visit the cafe during this occasion.

The place serves different types of desserts, all soy milk based and a yummy and creamy ice cream.¬†Which sounded like heaven after walking the whole morning in a heat of¬†38C degrees. Geez, it was scorching¬†‚ėÄÔłŹ in Kyoto that day.

My order

For a quick stop and to refresh ourselves before the next attraction, we decided to have:

  • Hubby:¬†Soy milk ice cream, with mochi, azuki beans paste, fried gluten, and soy milk cinnamon stick.
  • Mine:¬†Soy milk cheesecake with black sesame seed crust.
Soy milk ice cream.
Soy milk ice cream.
Soy milk cheesecake.
Soy milk cheesecake.
Soy milk cheesecake.
Soy milk cheesecake.

As every Japanese dessert, they were just sweet enough. In case you have a strong sweet tooth, you may find it needed more sugar, but for my taste it was amazing! I got a little bit of the ice cream, it was very creamy and you could definitely taste the soy milk.

About my choice,¬†the cheesecake, it was extremely delicate¬†and light. I could feel some lemon or citrus flavour, what gave a special kick to it. Although the ice cream had a clear soy milk taste, the cheesecake had nothing like that. Definitely, a must go if you are around the area. ūüôā

The verdict

They say their soy milk and all soy based products sold in the¬†store are homemade.¬†I really liked the desserts and would go back¬†in case I return to Kyoto one day. Ah! For all vegans out there, I don’t know about the desserts (they are vegetarian for sure), but for the traditional tofu meals, they can adapt everything to be vegan, you just need to book in advance.

About the English: English menu available and staff can communicate just enough in English.

Bill: 824 yens (A$10) Рno drinks.

Exact location: https://goo.gl/maps/EDcM2PjCUaU2

More information: www.kyotofu.co.jp/en/

Ume no Hana | Ginza – Tokyo

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Ume no hana - entrance
Ume no hana – entrance

Every time I travel I make sure to include one thing in particular in my must-do list:¬†have the traditional food experience of the place I’m visiting. I like to explore new flavours and eating experiences. It’s the time I put my everyday diet aside¬†in order to try new things, which means, obviously¬†they must be REALLY GOOD and REAL FOOD, of course.

I don’t know about you, but I get very disappointed¬†when I eat something that I normally don’t eat as part of my regular diet, like grains for example, and the dish is a disaster, either in terms of flavour or experience. Hopefully that wasn’t the case here. ūüôā

Anyways, I’m telling you that because I thought A LOT before deciding to have dinner at Ume no Hana. Once I started doing my travel research, it was clear I should try Japanese ramen (although I don’t do well with gluten) and a tofu restaurant.

Ume no Hana is a very well-recommended Tofu restaurant that brings to you all the most traditional Japanese dining experience possible. They serve a set menu (minimum of two people) that includes a great variety of Japanese dishes, where tofu is usually the main ingredient.

Once you get there, you are taken to a private room where you can enjoy your dining experience without been disturbed by other customers.

Ume no hana - private dinning room
Ume no hana – private dining room

Our order

There are 2 set menus available, a vegetarian and a non-vegetarian one. Hubby and I decided to go with meat, so our decision was for the Kiwami set menu.

  • Yame matcha go-tofu:¬†tofu with yame matcha miso paste.
  • Hawasabi to shirauo no ohitashi:¬†boiled wasabi leaves and ice fish seasoned with soy sauce and fish soup stock.
  • Katuo no tataki:¬†Bonito¬†sashimi. (hubby was very pleased with this one)
  • Hikiage Yuba:¬†Yuba cooked at your table, served with ginger and soy sauce.
  • Chawan-mushi Tomatoan:¬†steamed egg custard containing shrimp, mushrooms, mochi, ginkgo nut, and tomato paste sauce.
  • Kani Shumai:¬†crab shumai.
  • Yaki-minazuki-tofu:¬†cooked red beans tofu with soy sauce and wasabi.
  • Namafu Dengaku: deep-fried wheat gluten coated with miso paste. Yep, I had deep fried gluten, everything just sounds plain wrong here. LOL.
  • Aigamo to Nasu no Hakata-age to Hamo-shinjyo no Daizu-age: deep fried duck loin and eggplant + deep fried pike eel ball with flaked soybeans.
  • Ayu no shio-yaki: grilled sweetfish.
  • Kuroge Wagyu no Yogan-yaki: Japanese beef steak grilled on a hot plate.
  • Kisetsu no Hanmono:¬†seasonal rice.
  • Ko-no-monoi: pickled vegetables.
  • Yuba Suimono:¬†yuba soup.
  • Dessert 1: red bean jelly with green tea
  • Dessert 2:¬†vanilla ice cream with brown sugar
Yame matcha go-tofu (tofu with Yame macha miso paste) and Hawasabi to shirauo no ohitashi (boiled wasabi leaves and Ice fish seasoned with soy sauce and fish soup stock)
Yame matcha go-tofu (tofu with yame matcha miso paste) and hawasabi to shirauo no ohitashi (boiled wasabi leaves and ice fish seasoned with soy sauce and fish soup stock)
Katuo no tataki (Sashimi - Bonito)
Katuo no tataki (Bonito sashimi)
Hikiage Yuba ( Yuba cooked at your table, served with ginger and soy sauce)
Hikiage Yuba ( Yuba cooked at your table, served with ginger and soy sauce)
Chawan-mushi Tomatoan (steamed egg custard containing shrimp, mushrooms, mochi, ginkgo nut and tomato paste sauce)
Chawan-mushi Tomatoan (steamed egg custard containing shrimp, mushrooms, mochi, ginkgo nut, and tomato paste sauce)
Kani Shumai (Crab Shumai)
Kani Shumai (crab shumai)
Yaki-minazuki-tofu (cooked red beans tofu with soy sauce and wasabi)
Yaki-minazuki-tofu (cooked red beans tofu with soy sauce and wasabi)
Namafu Dengaku (deep-fried wheat gluten coated with miso paste) and Aigamo to Nasu no Hakata-age to Hamo-shinjyo no Daizu-age (Deep fried duck loin and eggplant + deep fried Pike eel ball with flaked soybeans)
Namafu Dengaku (deep-fried wheat gluten coated with miso paste) and Aigamo to Nasu no Hakata-age to Hamo-shinjyo no Daizu-age (deep fried duck loin and eggplant + deep fried pike eel ball with flaked soybeans)
Ayu no shio-yaki (Grilled Sweetfish)
Ayu no shio-yaki (grilled sweetfish)
Kuroge Wagyu no Yogan-yaki (Japanese beef steak grilled on a hot plate)
Kuroge Wagyu no Yogan-yaki (Japanese beef steak grilled on a hot plate)
Kisetsu no Hanmono (seasonal rice), Ko-no-mono (Pickled vegetables) and Yuba Suimono (Yuba soup)
Kisetsu no Hanmono (seasonal rice), Ko-no-mono (pickled vegetables) and Yuba Suimono (yuba soup)
Red bean jelly with green tea
Red bean jelly with green tea
Vanilla Ice cream with brown sugar
Vanilla ice cream with brown sugar

Our dining experience was unforgettable. The waitress served us one dish at a time and always trying her best to explain what was it about, despite the limited English.

For me the most remarkable moment¬†was the¬†Hikiage Yuba cooked at¬†our table. Yuba is¬†known as tofu skin, but it actually is the skin that forms after boiling soy milk. As you can see on the third image above, you keep the milk cooking at¬†low heat¬†and a¬†very thin layer will form. This is the Yuba! You pick it with your chopsticks (a bit of skill handling chopsticks helps heaps :)) then place it in a cup with soy sauce and ginger. I don’t know how to put in words, but the flavour and texture are simply amazeballs!

Other two things that really impressed me were the¬†Chawan-mushi Tomatoan (steamed egg custard) and the Kani Shumai (crab shumai). Hubby’s favourites were the¬†Katuo no tataki (Bonito sashimi),¬†Aigamo to Nasu no Hakata-age to Hamo-shinjyo no Daizu-age (deep fried duck loin and eggplant + deep fried pike eel ball with flaked soybeans) and the vanilla ice cream.

The verdict

In case you are a good-eater¬†like us, I might need to say¬†that although it seems a like a long¬†menu, the portions are rather small and¬†you might not feel completely full¬†at the end of the experience. However, all dishes were truly delicious and every bite was worth. It’s that kind of thing you need to appreciate the food quality and not look only for quantity. ūüėõ

About the English: There is an English menu and staff can communicate just a little in English.

Bill: $11,440 Yen (A$ 145) – dinner for two and no drinks.

Exact location:¬†https://goo.gl/maps/H72xX5orAE32 (This restaurant is inside a building. Unfortunately, I don’t remember which floor it was, but it is very easy to spot the right location once you get to the address.)

More information: www.umenohana-restaurant.co.jp