Japan Mar 2011 Day 2 – Umeda & Lunch @ Daimaru
We were absolutely famished after a whole morning at Osaka Castle and the Plum Blossom Garden. We headed for Umeda via the Osakajo Koen Subway Station on the Chuo line.
Delectable pastry treats can be found perpetually everywhere in Osaka! This petit four selection is from a small patisserie outlet within the Umeda Subway Station. Mind you, this shop is behind the gantries, so one has to be taking a ride to buy a cake…. or perhaps its the other way round for them! Buy a cake to take a ride! Goes to show how much the Japanese love their “diZAto” and “SWEEzi” (Japanese way of pronouncing “desserts” and “sweets”) !
A good selection of glass desserts, petit gateaux and mini roulades.
A strawberry roulade cake with Hina Matsuri theme from the same patisserie outlet within Umeda Subway Station.
Next off, we’d reach Daimaru 大丸 departmental store located just above the Umeda Subway Station. Not wanting to travel too far, lunch was settled at a restaurant that specialises in soba 蕎麥麵 dishes
Shichimi tōgarashi 七味唐辛子. I love this stuff! Scoring high in flavour and aromatics without burdening the dish with too much heat.
hand made cold soba, very refreshing!
J’s Kiyomizu Tofu Wazen 豆富御膳（清水) which includes an array of soba, potato salad, assorted tempura and most important of all, Kyoto-styled tofu.
Warabimochi 蕨餅 a wagashi made using bracken fern starch generously doused with kinako, soy bean powder. Its not the first time we’d had this, but the texture still intrigues me even til now.
The “leading role” of the Tofu Wazen, tofu made using Kyoto’s water. The texture was very interesting, a cross somewhat between the silky softness of kinogoshi tofu 绢豆腐 but yet with an endearing firmness from momen tofu 木棉豆腐. Very curious indeed. It is also very very fragrant, freshly pressed soy being very prominent, unlike those tasteless machine made tofu we are all so accustomed to eating nowadays. The closest we can possibly get in Singapore is at Meidiya Liang Court. Even then, the textures still differs by quite a bit.
Mixed reviews about this place but generally positive. nothing to shout about. The egg for the oyakodon was creamy enough but overall it didn’t leave a very strong impression. Stick to the soba and tofu dishes next time.
After being fuelled and watered, it would only do Daimaru justice to take a look at its depachika located at the basement. Boy, were we in for a pleasant surprise! Apart from the regular depachika that sells the usual cooked food, i.e. tempura, bento sets, salads etc, there is now a section dedicated entirely to “diZAto” and “sweets” (once again, the Japanese way of describing any chocolatey or sugary confections and makes).
We started first with the wagashi 和菓子 section, with about a dozen stores selling traditional Japanese desserts.
Ichigo daifuku イチゴ大福 in two flavours. Left is traditional matcha green tea. can’t remember the flavour on the right though… gomenasai!
花桜餅 sakura-mochi , seasonal wagashi made only this time of the year to usher in spring. This is the Kanto version made from rice flour, shiratama-ko 白玉粉
kusa mochi 草餅 和菓子, made using the leaves of Japanese mugwort. We’d had a similar version of this in Taiwan before, known as 草粿.
Patisserie Shin Factory creations at Daimaru Umeda. Kire ne!!!
Also 花桜餅 sakuramochi but this is the Kansai version, which is made using glutinous rice flour aka dōmyōji-ko 道明寺粉. These were the same as those we had in the plum blossom garden. But so delicious, we just had to try them again!
Needless to say, we got ourselves some cakes and pastries from here. The selection is so wonderful, its a cardinal sin not to bring something along! But we’ll leave those for another post