The Best Doughnuts in Tokyo

I won’t call myself a doughnut connoisseur, but I’m definitely an enthusiast. I LOVE doughnuts. All confections really. But there’s just something so comforting and satisfying about a perfectly made, fluffy, sweet-but-not-too-sweet doughnut.

Which is exactly what you’ll get at DUMBO Doughnuts and Coffee in Azabujuban, Tokyo! DUMBO Doughnuts is situated in a less touristy part of town, tucked between apartment buildings and smaller businesses. The shop is cute but pocket-sized. It seats only six or seven. When I went, every seat was occupied. But there’s a park just one minute away that you can sit at and enjoy your goodies.

The shop features about ten to twelve different doughnuts. I ordered the cheesecake doughnut and the limited edition Sakura white chocolate doughnut. The texture reminded me of the doughnuts from Dough in New York City. I expected the cheesecake one to be super rich and sugary, but it wasn’t. It was the right amount of sweet. The crackers on top were a little different, but interesting in a good way.

The coffee selection isn’t as extensive as Starbucks, but I don’t think it needs to be. DUMBO offers all the essentials. I really enjoyed the raspberry lemonade! It was sweet, tangy and fizzy. Perfect for the warm weather days.

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Bibimbap Bliss

The best place to get the best of anything is at the source. You want the best pasta? Go to Italy! You’re looking for the best pad thai? Visit Thailand! The best sushi? Duh, Japan! So it’s no surprise that the best bibimbap I’ve ever eaten, I had in Korea. What is surprising is that one of my favorite spots for it is a chain. 😮 I try to stay away from chains because I feel like mom-and-pop eateries usually have more authentic and more flavorful dishes. But that was definitely not the case here.

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I found Yuk’ssam Naengmyeon by accident. I was wandering the streets, taking pictures and shopping when I smelled it. The savory aroma of grilled beef wafted. So we went in. Yuk’ssam Naengmyeon is actually known for its cold noodles, but it was still a little cold out, and I wanted a hot meal. So I asked for the bibimbap and an order of mandoo (Korean dumplings).

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I love bibimbap. It’s a bowl of rice topped with veggies (some are seasoned and sauteed) an egg, and (usually) pepper paste. This dish has many variations and it’s rarely the same from place to place. The vegetables are sometimes different. Some places serve it in a hot stone bowl; some don’t. Some places serve it with a raw egg; some with it over easy. Some have meat; some don’t. This one came with a thinly sliced omelette and beef on the side.

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I really enjoyed this version of bibimbap. It was simple but flavorful, with great texture. The vegetables were fresh and tasty. The kimchi was spicy with a tiny bit of crunch. And the beef was really excellent (my favorite part). It was well-seasoned and tender, as beef should be. The mandoo was pretty good, too.

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There are more than 30 Yuk’ssam Naengmyeon restaurants throughout South Korea.  You can find one is most cities.  There are several in Seoul. Next time, if it’s warmer, I’ll try the cold noodles. 😉

All The Street Food

I never would’ve imagined that I’d find all the street food my heart desires in Seoul, South Korea. I took this photograph during one of my many visits to the Myeong-dong, a super-busy district known primarily for shopping. But around five o’clock (1700) a bunch of little carts and stands roll in out of nowhere, and the streets start to smell like delicious-ness (yes, that is a word). Every few feet the aroma changes from sweet to salty to spicy to pungent. Even if you aren’t hungry, you will be after walking through the crowded lanes.

I especially loved the cheesy, grilled lobster tail and honey hand-spun candy (dragon’s beard). This street feast is everything (and has everything).

Feed Me

Today, I was craving Thai. And no, I don’t mean pad thai from the bowling alley or the box stuff from the supermarket. I was craving the bold, spicy flavors of the authentic Thai cuisine I devoured on my last trip to Bangkok. I bought this meal from a makeshift kitchen in front of a convenience store near our hotel. Three petite ladies were running it. There were about a dozen plastic tables with milk crates and tiny stools for chairs set up on the sidewalk. Every seat was taken. So I knew when I walked up to the counter to order that the food was going to be fantastic. And it was. After stumbling through the language barrier, she made us two bowls. They were filled with fresh vegetables, herbs, pork, and beef. It was topped with a very hot, slightly vinegary and de-freaking-licious sauce. What I wouldn’t give for a bite right now.

For me, food is one of the best parts of traveling. I love to eat. I love experiencing a different part of the world through my taste buds. ❤ The food is just as important as the sights, beaches, culture or any other reason to visit a place.