Bento Day after day Japanese food kids

Coming soon: Day after day of bentos

A chronicle of packed lunches for my first-grader in Tokyo during the summer

Challenge: To make a bento for my 1st-grade daughter to bring to gakudo (after-school club, which runs sort of like a day camp in the summer) for three weeks in a row.

Background: Thanks to the great healthy and well-balanced school lunches provided by Japanese daycares and schools, I have never been in a position where I had to pack a lunch for my daughter everyday. For daycare, we had to pack occasional lunches for day trips, but those were rare, so I would try to make them special and cute (see the penguin bento above). However, I don’t think I can do that day after day. How do other parents pack a lunch every single day for days/months/years on end?!? I need to develop such stamina and skills, and streamline the bento-making process while ensuring they are nutritious and appealing.

I will be posting my attempts at bento-making throughout the summer holiday, which is only 3 weeks long this summer because of the altered school schedule due to COVID-19.

Wish me luck!

Basic recipe Healthy cooking Japanese food Recipes Vegan/Vegetarian


Okayu with an umeboshi on top

Recently, with the cold season in full swing and my baby being weaned, I find myself making a lot of okayu, which is the Japanese version of rice porridge or congee. Okayu is often given to the ill as it is easier to eat and digest than white rice. In fact, when I was in the hospital after giving birth in Japan, I was given okayu instead of white rice for the first few meals. Then, in a weaning class several months later, I was taught how to prepare okayu as it is the recommended first food for babies in Japan. (In case you’re wondering, this is what okayu as baby food looks like; the different colors come from the different foods that can be added into the okayu as the baby grows, like broccoli, white fish, kabocha, egg yolk, tofu, etc.) Some people also like to use okayu as a way to lose weight by simply replacing white rice with the lower-calorie okayu.

Here, I will describe the basic recipe for okayu.

Japanese rice
Optional toppings (e.g., umeboshi (pickled plum), spring onions, etc.)

There are several types of okayu, which differ according to the amount of rice and water used and the final ratio of gruel to liquid in the okayu. Here is a quick list:

  • zengayu
    1 rice : 5 water (this gives gruel without any extra liquid)
  • shichibugayu
    1 rice : 7 water (this gives okayu with a 7 gruel : 3 liquid ratio)
  • gobugayu
    1 rice : 10 water (this gives okayu with a 1 gruel : 1 liquid ratio)
  • sanbugayu
    1 rice : 20 water (this gives okayu with a 3 gruel : 7 liquid ratio)

Cooking okayu
Cooking okayu

– wash rice until the water runs clear.
– add the appropriate amount of water and heat on high while stirring occasionally to avoid clumping of the rice.
– once the water is boiling, allow to simmer covered on low heat for 30 mins.
– add salt as needed
– serve hot with or without any toppings

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General Japanese food Ramen Ramen Ranking Restaurants

102’s Toronto Ramen Ranking 102のトロント ラーメン ランキング

Hello. I’m a Japanese male living in Toronto. While living abroad, I sometimes want to eat Japanese food very much, but it is difficult to obtain delicious authentic Japanese food, and I imagine that many Japanese people who are living abroad may also be struggling to get them.

Especially among Japanese people, ramen is very popular. However, there is little information about ramen restaurants in Toronto. I imagine that many Japanese people are disappointed in the taste of the ramen available in Toronto because of the differences in preference for ramen between Japanese and Canadian people. Here, I’d like to share the results of my ramen tasting in Toronto as a way of contributing to people who want to know which ramen shops have authentic and delicious Japanese flavor.


My ranking of ramen in Toronto is below. The details of each ramen will be written in the future.

1st Sansoutei Ramen             9 pt ★★★★★★★★★☆

2nd Raijin (tonkotsu)              8 pt ★★★★★★★★☆☆

3rd Guu                      7 pt ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

4th Santouka Ramen             7 pt ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

5th Ryoji                      6 pt ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

6th Raijin (toridashi)               6 pt ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

7th Kinton Ramen                            5 pt ★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

8th Kenzo Ramen                             3 pt ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

9th Tohenboku Ramen                        2 pt ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

10th  Sukiyaki Japanese Delight        2 pt ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

11th Wakame Sushi                          1 pt ★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆


This ranking was made according to my own personal preferences, so some people may not like the ramen with a higher rank, while some people may like the ones with a lower rank. Another point to note is that there are some restaurants that aren’t ramen restaurant in this ranking; I evaluated only the ramen and didn’t evaluate any other dish.


In addition, this ranking was made based on the taste of ramen in Japan, so you may find the evaluations strict.


Let me share my comprehensive impressions of ramen in Toronto.


1. Tonkotsu ramen in Toronto tastes better than the other flavors

I’m not sure whether tonkotsu (pork bone soup) is popular in Toronto or not, but the rankings for tonkotsu ramen were generally higher than those of the other flavors as they tasted pretty good. For your information, I prefer shoyu (soy sauce) ramen the most, and the order of my preferences for ramen soup flavors is: 1st shoyu, 2nd miso, 3rd tonkotsu, 4th shio (salt). Nonetheless, tonkotsu ramen restaurants seem to rank highly on this list, so I think the tonkotsu ramen in Toronto is good.


2. Soups are watery, and the noodles are softer

I’m not sure whether that’s a Canadian preference or not, but many ramen restaurants’ soups are watery and have a lighter taste. Thus, Japanese people may feel that something is missing in the soup. Also, the noodles are much softer compared to the ramen in Japan. As I see it, these differences may be attributed to Canadian’s preferences.


3. No white rice on the side menu

When I go to ramen restaurants in Japan, I always order rice with ramen and enjoy them as ramen-rice (eating white rice with ramen soup, toppings and noodles), but in Toronto, almost none of the ramen restaurants have rice (or half-sized rice) on their menu. Some of them have pork rice bowls or chicken rice bowls, but they don’t offer simple white rice. We can’t enjoy “ramen-rice” in Toronto, so I feel a little disappointed.


4. No seasonings on the tables

In Japan, ramen restaurants usually offer seasonings, like garlic, white pepper, sesame seeds, etc., on the tables. Customers can add these seasonings to the ramen they ordered however they want. However, none of the ramen restaurants in Toronto have this system. I hope ramen restaurants in Toronto will implement this service in the future.


I will add new ramen restaurants to the ranking whenever I eat ramen at other ramen restaurants.


If you want me to try another ramen restaurant, please feel free to leave a comment. I will try and taste it whenever possible and add the ramen to the ranking and write a review.






第1位  三草亭               9点★★★★★★★★★☆

第2位  雷神(とんこつ)          8点★★★★★★★★☆☆

第3位  グー                 7点★★★★★★★☆☆☆

第4位  山頭花                7点★★★★★★★☆☆☆

第5位  リョウジ               6点★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

第6位  雷神(鶏だし)            6点★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

第7位  金とん                   5点★★★★★☆☆☆☆☆

第8位  ケンゾー                 3点★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

第9位  唐変木                 2点★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

第10位 すきやきジャパニーズデライト  2点★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

第11位 ワカメ寿司               1点★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆
























Missing posts

Well, we never realized just how much we had here at Foodaholic Adventures until we had to search for all the missing bits after everything was lost in a server crash. Although I may have a backup, I cannot access it until I go back to Japan in June, and unfortunately, we lost quite a lot!

Missing food posts include:
shinmai new crop rice, mini garlic spinach cheese hot dog rolls, mochi taiyaki experiment, chocolate cake, ume shiso pasta, gyoza dumplings, green bean dessert soup, green bean jelly, Cantonese beef brisket, experimental macaroons, chocolate waffles, banana muffins, shortbread cookies, scones, Sakura cupcakes, french toast, pizza in a fry pan experiment, taiyaki, yau gok, kabocha an, taco rice, and sasadango…

Photos of some of the missing posts:
sakuracakesshinmaiimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageYau gokZataar manekishMacarons

If you have a copy of any of these posts, recipes, or photos, please send it to me at Any help would be much appreciated!

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Japanese food Recipes Travel eats

Kiritampo nabe

Kiritampo nabe
Kiritampo nabe

I love surprise parcels, especially those involving food! So when we received such a parcel from my sister-in-law, I was ecstatic; she had sent us a set for making kiritampo nabe, a type of hot pot from Akita prefecture in Japan, complete will the soup base, raw hinai-jidori (free-range chicken from Akita that is famous all around the country) meat, vegetables, and of course, kiritampo.

Kiritampo is made from mushed-up cooked rice (if authentic, of the delicious Akita komachi variety, of course!) wrapped around a cedar stick and toasted. It can then be slid off the stick to be used in nabe. The set also included damako mochi, which is similar to kiritampo, but instead of cylinders, the mashed rice is formed into balls about 2 cm in diameter.

Kiritampo nabe set
Kiritampo nabe set- ingredients all included!

The soup base was included in the set, but since this nabe set is not available everywhere, I will describe the recipe for making the soup base from scratch, as well as the ingredients used in kiritampo nabe. As with all nabe, there is no strict rule for the amounts of ingredients that must be used, but here is a guideline that can be changed according to the ingredients on hand, and personal tastes.

200 g raw boneless chicken meat
1 leek
1 carrot
200 g maitake (Grifola frondosa or hen-of-the-wood mushrooms)
1 burdock root, peeled and sliced
1 bunch seri (Japanese parsley/dropwort greens)
400 g shirataki noodles
Kiritanpo (about 2/person)
Damako mochi

For making the soup:
1.5 L chicken stock or water
50 ml soy sauce
75 ml mirin
Salt (approx. 1 tsp or as needed)

– add the burdock root and chicken to the water/soup stock in a pot and bring to a boil
– add the soy sauce, mirin and salt, and allow to boil
– add the maitake, carrot and shirataki, then simmer for about five minutes
– add the leek, kiritampo and damako mochi, and simmer for several more minutes
– place seri on the top and allow to cook for a minute
– serve hot!

Kiritampo nabe and rice
Kiritampo nabe and rice

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Sorry for the absence!

We must apologize- this site has been down for a few months already, and as we were busy with personal events (both Ming and M-Y had babies within 5 days of each other!), we were unable to restore the page until now. Our deepest apologies!

Although we will be able to restore most of the recipes, most of the images were lost. We will try to find them or make new photos again, so please bear with us. If you happen to have a copy of any of our photos, please let Ming know at Any help will be much appreciated!

Thank you! And please stay tuned!

Foodaholic Adventures logo- Food on the mind

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Baking Breads Breakfast Healthy cooking Recipes

Oatmeal and bran muffins

Looking for a delicious way to increase your fiber and fruit intake? Tired of overpriced bran and fruit bars? Need a little excitement in your life?

These muffins are really easy to make, and the recipe is adaptable for whatever fruits, nuts or other fillings you have on hand or want to add. For the muffins in these photos, I added frozen blueberries, almond slivers, chocolate chips, and a prune center for each muffin.

Here is the basic recipe:

1 1/4 cup milk
1 cup oats
1/2 cup bran
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Optional: nuts, fresh or dried fruits, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, etc.

-Combine milk, bran and oats in a small bowl. Allow to soak for 15 minutes.
-In a separate bowl, beat the egg, sugar and oil together.
-Add the egg, sugar and oil mixture into the oatmeal mixture.
-In another bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
-Stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture.
-Mix the optional fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, etc., into the batter.

-Spoon batter into the muffin cups until about 3/4 full.
-Bake at 190 degree Celsius for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.

If you find the batter a little dry, try stirring in a little milk at the end before spooning the batter into the cups. Be careful when adding fresh fruits as the batter may become too moist; in this case, try adding less milk.

Wasn’t that easy?

Japanese food Meat Recipes

Miso fried chicken

In this recipe, chicken is marinated in a miso sauce and fried in a frying pan. I like this recipe because it is so easy to make and is very flavorful. I’ve made it without letting it marinate when I didn’t have time and it was still delicious.

Miso chicken
Miso chicken

600 g chicken
2 tbsp miso
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar or mirin
Oil for cooking

Cut chicken into the desired sizes.
Combine miso, soy sauce and sugar.
Add the sauce mixture to the chicken and combine until chicken is well coated.
Allow to meat to sit for several hours in the fridge, wrapped.
Heat oil in frying pan.
Place chicken in the pan and fry until golden brown.
Flip the chicken and fry the other side.

Fry until brown and thoroughly cooked.
Serve hot.

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Chinese food Meat Recipes

Soy sauce chicken- Hong Kong style

Hong Kong style soy sauce chicken
Hong Kong style soy sauce chicken

Soy sauce chicken is popular in Hong Kong. It is often served with noodles or rice, or even alone, at restaurants and stalls.

In this recipe, I omitted Chinese cooking wine (simply because if didn’t have any at home), but the wine can be added to the sauce for a deeper flavor. Also, for those who dislike star anise, it can be removed from the sauce prior to the addition of chicken for a lighter flavor.

This recipe also works great for chicken wings!

Approx. 10 chicken drumsticks
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
A few slices of ginger, finely chopped
3/4 cup dark soy sauce
2 tbsp of sugar (or rock sugar)
1 star anise
3 cups of water
Dash of white pepper (optional)
1 tbsp cooking oil

– heat cooking oil in a pan or pot.
– add garlic and ginger and fry to bring out the aroma.
– add soy sauce, water, sugar and star anise, and bring to a boil. Add white pepper if desired.
– lower the heat and add the chicken one by one into the sauce.

– simmer for approx. 15 mins, then flip the chicken and simmer or another 15 mins. The chicken should take on the color of the soy sauce.
– remove chicken from the sauce and serve hot or cold on a plate. The sauce can be spooned onto rice and vegetable side dishes for added flavor.

About the leftover sauce- it would be a waste to throw it out! Most restaurants keep the sauce and reuse it a number of times for chicken, but at home, I like to add potatoes, carrots and boiled eggs to the sauce. Allow to boil for about 20 mins or until the potatoes are cooked through and the boiled eggs have turned brown, and voila! It’s delicious!

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Sweets Travel eats

Flan with dulce de leche

Flan with dulce de leche
Flan with dulce de leche

During a trip to Uruguay and Argentina, we went to a cafe in central Monte Video and had the opportunity to try out flan (a.k.a., creme caramel) with dulce de leche. It was amazing!

Flan is a type of custard made with milk. (It tasted surprisingly similar to Japanese “purin” pudding! After a little research, it turns out they are the same thing!). Dulce de leche, on the other hand, is like caramel; it is made from sweetened milk that has been boiled for a long time, allowing the sugars in it to caramelize.

Ready-to-eat dulce de leche was sold in jars and plastic tubs at the grocery store. They even came in little individually sized packages with our breakfasts. I bought a tub of the stuff and some instant flan, and look forward to making it in Japan!

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