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  • Tokyo Street Food Guide

  • Only in Japan.

  • (JOHN) Welcome to Tokyo!

  • Or a quieter side of Tokyo.

  • This is Shibamata.

  • We're back in Tokyo for this episode

  • and it's all about food!

  • Shibamata is located just outside the city center

  • along the Edogawa river.

  • This is the town area

  • but we're going to be focussing on one street in particular.

  • From the train station where I am now

  • to Shibamata Taishakuten,

  • a buddhist temple founded in 1629.

  • This strip is loaded with street food!

  • Now, I could've chosen other more popular neighborhoods

  • like Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ginza or Ikebukuro,

  • but I picked Shibamata because

  • I live down the street.

  • And joining me on this report is

  • Angela An from the YouTube channel internationally ME

  • (ANGELA) Hi John! (JOHN) How are you today?

  • (ANGELA) I’m good. How are you? (JOHN) Very well.

  • So what do you think of this neighborhood?

  • (ANGELA) It’s really quiet and it has this traditional

  • feel about Japan to it. Doesn’t it?

  • (JOHN) Yeah! That’s the one thing I love about Shibamata.

  • The centre of Tokyo is always changing,

  • but here, things stay the same.

  • (ANGELA) Yeah, it does. I can tell.

  • Let’s go!

  • (JOHN) Shibamata is a quiet town located 20 to 30 minutes away

  • from central Tokyo in the north east.

  • It's like taking a trip back 50 years to Japan's Showa period.

  • Most shops are still mom & pop run businesses.

  • (JOHN) Wow! What an incredible street, isn’t it?

  • (ANGELA) I know, right?

  • (JOHN) Hungry? (ANGELA) Really hungry!

  • (JOHN) Let’s get some street food! (ANGELA) Let’s go!

  • (JOHN) Angela and I split up for a bit with Angela striking first.

  • (ANGELA) Hello! (SHOPKEEPER) Hello!

  • (ANGELA) One Dora Ice Cream Sandwich, please. (SHOPKEEPER) Sure!

  • (JOHN) This is theAisu no Dora" or Dora Ice Cream Sandwich.

  • The shop makes the pankcake ends to the sandwich

  • fresh throughout the day.

  • So what has Angela got?

  • Two pancakes, red bean paste and green tea ice cream.

  • It’s really just traditional dorayakiwith ice cream.

  • So how does it taste?

  • (ANGELA) Mmm!

  • It’s a really good combination

  • with the red bean. It's really sweet

  • and then

  • the dorayaki

  • it tones down the sweetness so it’s really nice.

  • And it’s great with the ice cream inside for a hot day.

  • (JOHN) Angela seems quite happy with her first choice.

  • Sweets before the main course.

  • I’ll follow suit at the same shop.

  • Just a couple of coins gets me this.

  • A fresh roll cake filled with delicious cream.

  • It’s so soft!

  • All it takes is one bite, and I'm off to cloud nine.

  • Here’s the full sized roll cake at this shop.

  • It really is beautiful.

  • The cake is only slightly buttery with a little powdered sugar

  • and toasted caramel on top.

  • Look at that toasted caramel.

  • Delicious!

  • Last bite.

  • One of these may not be enough,

  • but were only getting started.

  • Here’s a local senbei, or rice cracker maker, across the street.

  • Angela approaches like a hungry lion on the hunt.

  • The owner makes each senbei fresh,

  • toasting them right at the store front.

  • There’s a wide variety of flavors

  • and the price is certainly not going to bankrupt you.

  • Senbei are coated with soy sauce for saltiness,

  • sometimes with an ingredient inside, like sesame.

  • (ANGELA) I’ll take one of these, please.

  • (JOHN) But Angela and her sweet tooth

  • go straight for the one coated in sugar for ¥50.

  • (ANGELA) Wow! Look at this.

  • So it’s got shoyu base (it's a soy sauce base),

  • And it’s got sugar coated all over it.

  • (JOHN) Time for a big bite...

  • (ANGELA) Mmm!

  • (JOHN) …and that never ending senbei crunch!

  • (ANGELA) It’s really crunchy, and

  • It’s not too sweet, even though it’s covered with sugar,

  • because it’s got the shoyu undercoating.

  • It’s really good!

  • (JOHN) Ah! But there's more. A lot more!

  • What’s the difference here?

  • Youve got to try them all to find out.

  • Here’s the normal soy sauce-coated senbei, hot from the grill.

  • (ANGELA) Ooh!

  • So, it’s harder than the last oneit’s a lotum...

  • crunchier as well.

  • But it’s really nice because it’s hotit’s warm.

  • It tastes really fresh.

  • (JOHN) I was on my own search-and-destroy mission

  • with a much softer target locked on

  • This shop has a lot on sale, but I go for what’s right in the front.

  • It saysmiso dengaku“.

  • Hmm. It’s on a stick. That’s a good sign.

  • They dip it in miso sauce and serve it in a cup

  • but what’s that on the stick?

  • Well, it’s konnyaku!

  • Oh yeah!

  • Rubbery, but

  • what saves it is the miso.

  • The miso is very sweet

  • combined with the warm, rubbery consistency

  • of the konnyaku...

  • it goes together pretty good!

  • Even for a carnivore like myself,

  • I’m quite pleased with the vegetarian options here.

  • What’s with the non-meat here?

  • Maybe it’s because of it’s proximity to a famous Buddhist temple?

  • Meat-eaters, we'll be getting to you at the end.

  • On to the area’s speciality.

  • There’s a place just down the street that makes it all fresh

  • throughout the day.

  • It’s kusadango!

  • Green, mugwort grass flavored, mochi balls.

  • Look at this blob of still steaming mochi

  • straight from the kitchen.

  • Mochi is a glutinous sticky and chewy cake

  • made from pounded rice.

  • The green color here comes from fresh mugwort.

  • An aromatic plant called "yomogi" in Japanese.

  • From kitchen to mouth in seconds.

  • The mochi blob is so hot that

  • she has to cool it down with her hands in iced water.

  • and the kusadango needs to be cooled off a little before serving

  • with a helping of sweet red bean paste.

  • The owner Yoshino-san has been making it this way for a long time.

  • to the delight of locals and tourist.

  • Here’s a pack of 4 kusadango.

  • Or one for just ¥52!

  • Perfect for that 1 to 2-bite happy ending street stroll.

  • Sticky, but so good.

  • The mugwort is a little bitter,

  • but that sweet red bean counters

  • and makes for a perfect eating experience.

  • But one bite is not enough.

  • I like my dango on a stick,

  • and Kameya across the street promises to fill us up.

  • There are loads of different flavors of dango here

  • but well stick to the local speciality.

  • Served on a stick!

  • Four kusadando with the red bean (anko) paste

  • caked on the front.

  • It’s a work of edible art, and it’s fun to eat.

  • This one has less mugwort, and it’s sweeter,

  • but just as good.

  • The sweet soy sauce and seaweed strips is also one of my favorites here.

  • Kameya is owned by Iwasaki-san

  • who’s been working and living here for decades.

  • I asked her about Shibamata and the kusadango.

  • (MRS. IWASKI) This store has been in business for nearly 90 years.

  • Established in the early Showa era.

  • (JOHN) 90 years! (ANGELA) Amazing!

  • (MRS. IWASKI) Shibamata seems like a left out Tokyo,

  • but that makes it all the more interesting.

  • This place used to be where

  • rice was grown all over.

  • Taishakuten was here from very long ago.

  • People wanted to give offerings to the temple.

  • In rice patties, along the road

  • there was a lot of mugwort grass.

  • There were weeds you can and cannot eat.

  • Mugwort is one you can eat.

  • So they harvested the mugwort,

  • turned the rice into powder,

  • mix the mugwort,

  • and back then they added some soy powder

  • and made the offering to Taishakuten.

  • But gradually people started liking sweet things

  • it changed to sweet red bean paste.

  • People who visited Taishakuten

  • ate and loved kusadango,

  • word spread, and that is why

  • Shibamata became famous for kusadango.

  • (JOHN) I asked Iwasaki-san what has changed over time

  • and the impact the Tora-san cinema series has had on the town.

  • (MRS. IWASKI) Well, on the main street,

  • all the electric poles have disappeared.

  • so, as you see, there are no poles,

  • all cables run underground,

  • and they widened the street a little.

  • Once the Tora-san movie started,

  • many things changed.

  • and so did the town’s landscape.

  • when I came here after marriage,

  • maybe around 50 years ago,

  • Back then, the Tora-san movie wasn’t famous,

  • no one really knew about Shibamata

  • When the Tora-san movie came,

  • everyone knew about Shibamata.

  • (JOHN) Shibamata was made famous by a series

  • of movies starting in 1969

  • with character Tora-san,

  • charming people into his familiar world,

  • which was right here, in Shibamata!

  • Tora-san had 48 movies released and

  • holds the Guinness World Record

  • for the longest-running movie series

  • starring a single actor.

  • And youll find Tora-san goods and tributes everywhere.

  • Shibamata has a lot of other attractions.

  • There’s an old nostalgic toy shop

  • that sells some pretty unique snacks and gifts.

  • Taishakuten is a must-see stop at the end of the street.

  • Shibamata is also right on the beautiful Edogawa

  • where you can sit and gaze over the greenery.

  • The old ferry boat still shuttles people

  • across, like it did generations ago,

  • for just a couple hundred yen.

  • Weekend Festival Dance Practice

  • On the way back to the station,

  • Angela and I have stopped in for one final snack.

  • It’s yakitori!

  • -- and motsunabe.

  • made from pork and beef tripe.

  • Some of the best in Tokyo

  • it always tastes better in local areas.

  • (JOHN) What a day! (ANGELA) What a day it has been!

  • (JOHN) I know! Weve seen so much, and weve eaten so much!

  • (ANGELA) Yeah! I've eaten so much my stomach

  • is so full right now.

  • (JOHN) But wait! We have one more meal. (ANGELA) One more.

  • (JOHN) This is yakitori.

  • This place has 12 meat items to char-grill.

  • Unagi is my favorite, but costs the most.

  • Negima is a classic that almost everyone loves.

  • It’s grilled when ordered sotry a few!

  • and this is motsunabe.

  • (ANGELA) Yum! What’s inside there?

  • (JOHN) Um

  • The insides of the cow and pig

  • (ANGELA) Sounds delicious.

  • (JOHN) Motsunabe — I really love motsunabe

  • especially at a place like this,

  • out in the countryside, because you know it’s fresh.

  • (ANGELA) Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

  • (JOHN) So what did you think of Shibamata?

  • (ANGELA) I really enjoyed just eating all types of foods, sweets and savouries

  • and also seeing the unique shops here, right?

  • How did you enjoy it?

  • (JOHN) I love Shibamata because of

  • THIS!

  • At the end here, were sitting ...

  • at a table on the streetright off the street

  • and it’s so peaceful!

  • (ANGELA) So peaceful and it’s so nice.

  • (JOHN) Yeah! This is the perfect street food

  • especially at the end of a hard day