Today I will introduce to you a great restaurant we found in the heart of Ueno (Yes, I know the name says “Ginza” but this is the Ueno chain of it). Ginza LION is originally a German style restaurant which specialises in its German sausages. Though I’ve tried these before in my previous visit, and they are absolutely awesome and keeps its reputation, today I wanted to show you how much more they have to offer.
Ginza LION has a wide range of menu selections from salads, steaks and sausages. The restaurant also offers an English menu which can be very handy for those who cannot read Japanese. From the menu, we ordered 4 items: The 15 Ingredient Salad, Beef Stew, Beef Rib Loin, and Baked Potatoes with Melted Cheese and Corned Beef. Let me go through each dish with you.
The 15 Ingredients Salad
This salad is pure genius. I would say that this is one of the best salads I’ve ever had for appetisers. In Australia, I am very used to seeing the common favourites on every salad menu. Almost always there is a Caesar Salad, Beetroot Salad, Thai Beef Salad or a Greek Salad. In Japan, you can also commonly find simple salads that consists of slices cabbage, tomato and corn. However, this salad (as its name suggests) has 15 different ingredients. And you also get to pick a dressing of your choice: Lemon Dressing, Sesame Seed Dressing or Plum Dressing. Though I should have asked and note them down, I can remember that the salad consisted of lettuce, tomatoes, corn, seaweed, rocket, fried eggplant and fried lotus roots. That’s only half of the entire dish! However, I kid you not that the moment you take a bite into the many ingredients, you can taste the freshness of each ingredient, and it will make you have an appreciation towards each ingredient. The combination of all ingredient gives you the crunch, the juicy and the flavour, all in one. This is a must have appetiser for any main dish you order
The Beef Stew & Beef Rib Loin
This beef stew is probably a little bit different to common beef stews because of the sauce they use. The sauce is a very thick sauce and very similar to Japanese traditional BBQ sauce. However, as soon s you bite into that beef belly, you will be shocked by how quickly the meat melts inside your mouth together with the perfect sauce. It’s so soft, tender and a little bit sweet and sour. This is an extremely comforting dish. Surprisingly what made it even better was the weather. This was the very first meal we had after arriving in Japan, and it was a really cold day at just 9 degrees Celsius. Naturally, it made me crave for something as comforting as this and yes I was extremely satisfied without leaving any piece left. The Beef Rib loin dish is very similar to the Beef Stew dish, but this is a more meaty dish. Whereas the previous dish was more fatty. You ge an extremely juicy meat that comes with a much lighter Demi glaze sauce. Yet another spot on for a cold spring day.
Baked Potatoes with Melted Cheese & Corned Beef
This dish, whilst sounds very simple, is a very, very tasty dish. I think that whoever invented this dish is a pure genius. Melted cheese is obviously a given to any hot food to make it much tastier, but the addition of corned beef takes it to the next level. Unlike bacon, corned beef is less salty, and the meet is much stringy and easy to chew. The saltiness of the corned beef perfectly compliments the buttery potatoes and the melted cheese and really sings in your mouth together with the other main dishes you have. I’ve always wondered what is the best way to use corned beef, but I’ve found my answer here at Ginza LION.
Overall, Ginza LION is a fantastic option for anyone, at any time of the day. From our observations, there were more elderly than young, and quite a handful of businessmen enjoying their chat with their colleagues. This restaurant is very easy to spot as soon as you exit the Ueno Station (including the JR, Keisei and Ginza lines). There is a yellow banner written Ginza LION in Japanese at the front of the building, and the restaurant is located in the B1 floor. The restaurant is also separated into two sections: Smoking and Non-smoking - which is a nice touch considering a lot of restaurants in Japan do not offer separate spaces. Prices are also reasonable but not cheap - you get what you paid for, and I mean this in a really good way. You won’t be disappointed by their quality of food. Service is also very friendly, just as you expect in Japan. It ticks all the boxes for a good restaurant for me and that’s why I highly recommend this restaurant.
Ginza LION Ueno
Address: 1-57 Uenokoen | B1F, Ueno Saigo Kaikan, Taito 110-0007, Tokyo Prefecture
Opening Hours: 11AM - 11PM from Mondays - Saturdays. 11AM - 10:30PM on Sundays
Average Spend: 2500 yen per person
Access: 1 minute walk from JR & Keisei Ueno Station. 3 minutes from Ginza Line.
If you are planning out a itinerary for Singapore, I’m pretty sure you would have come across the Gardens By The Bay as a spot for sightseeing. I wanted to share with you my little experience of visiting the Gardens, and also show you the great food I had whilst I was there. The Gardens By The Bay is located next to Marina Bay MRT station (10 minute walk or 3 minutes via their shuttle bus). We actually got lost in the beginning as I have originally tried to search for this location directly on Google Maps, which took me to a completely different location. Once I though something was wrong, I went back to their official website to find the right location. Luckily, we were only 3 train stations away.
If you don’t know already, Gardens By The Bay is an attraction that was built to promote a massive green environment of Singapore, with a great push on environmental conservation. There are 4 main parts to the Gardens: the Flower Dome, Cloud Forest, Supertree Grove and the Gardens.
The Flower Dome is a large dome building that consists of many flowers and plants inside (as you’d imagine). But the dome itself is extremely large and is like an actual garden. When I visited, it was peak hour so it was extremely crowded. But I’d imagine on a quiet day, you will be enjoying your time by relaxing on the benches, taking photographs with no rush, and just enjoying the environment.
The Cloud Forest is a similar dome-shaped building that has a tall structure inside with a massive waterfall as you walk in. This building is more focused on conservation, and also has a theatre to explain about global warming. You can enjoy your time here by climbing up the structure and walking downwards whilst glazing over the massive waterfall (a great opportunity for selfies!).
The rest of the garden consists of international gardens - such as the Indian garden, Malaysian garden, Chinese garden etc. You can hop-on their shuttle service directly from the Marina Bay MRT station to within the main entrance of the park for $3.00 per adult. Once you hop-off, you are free to wonder around to your pace. One of the other great things to do here is to eat in their restaurant area which is kind of like a food court, but not really at the same time. It’s basically another building where each restaurant is sitting side by side next to each other under the same roof.
As we were starving after getting lost when looking for the right MRT station, we decided to have some lunch here. Along the restaurant area, you can find all sorts of cuisines, from Chinese, Western and of course, Singaporean. On this day, we decided to head into the Hill Street Coffee Shop and ordered a Nasi Lemak. Nasi Lemak, originally a Malaysian dish, is a rice dish with a hot spicy sauce, fried chicken, peanuts, sliced cucumber and some other garnishes. Our dish also came with a pork cracker. As we were extremely hungry, we were already salivating before the dish arrived. However, when it did arrived, we were amazed by the presentation of the dish with its generosity of the size of chicken piece.
I’ve had my first taste of Nasi Lemak on my flight to Singapore (Scoot) and that was tasteful dish without the chicken piece and garnishes. This dish brings it to the ultimate level and really brings you the traditional aroma of the samba sauce. It’s a definite try when you do visit the Gardens By The Bay. Though I haven’t tried the other restaurants, all their menus looked very appetising too so there shouldn’t be a miss in terms of choice. Overall, the Gardens By The Bay is probably much more beautiful during the night time when you can see the light ups of the Supertree Grove. However, taking a stroll through the daytime in the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome is also a nice option. It’s a great location to stop by when visiting Singapore - especially when you think it’s time to relax for a bit after all the shopping!
Gardens By The Bay
Access: Alight from Bayfront MRT station via Circle Line and take Exit B, approximately a 3-4 minute walk to the entrance.
Hill Street Coffee Shop
Gardens By The Bay, 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953
Access: Alight from Bayfront MRT station via Circle Line and take Exit B, approximately a 3-4 minute walk to the entrance of the Gardens By The Bay. Another 15 minute walk or 5 minutes via shuttle bus to restaurant
When you think of Tokyo, the first thing that probably pops up in your mind is how big of a city It is. That’s because it is a megacity with the most population than any other city in the world, with such a sophisticated railway network. However, there are other sides to this megacity - a side where you will forget you are even in Tokyo.
Today, I wanted to introduce to you a very comprehensive park in the Chiba Prefecture of Japan, the Showa No Mori Park (I know I said Tokyo, but it’s actually not in Tokyo Prefecture). Chiba Prefecture is situated right beside Tokyo, and is known for Japan’s largest international airport - Narita International Airport (also known as Tokyo International Airport). Chiba is a prefecture renowned for its agriculture and is famous for growing high quality fruits such as melon, pears, strawberries and dragonfruit. Back to the park - Showa No Mori Park is famous for observing the nature - such as birds, insects and flowers. It is the perfect weekend getaway for those who simply want to relax and leisurely stroll through a place far away from the city.
I visited Showa No Mori Park last year in April, when the Spring season is in its peak. It was such a beautiful sunny day that couldn’t get any better. When you arrive at the park, there are plenty of car parking spaces available, but you need to come early as spots get filled up really quickly - we arrived around 10AM and it was still very quiet but by 12PM it was full. When you do visit the park, make sure you bring a lot of water though because as much as a vending machine heaven Japan is, when it comes to these nature parks, its pretty hard to spot one out of the blue.
When visiting Tokyo and you want to take a day trip away from the city at a fairly inexpensive cost, I would highly recommend you to visit Showa No Mori Park and just relax yourself to the maximum.
Coming soon to this blog, I will be introducing you my day journey around Chiba including the Showa No Mori Park and other must-see spots - so stay tuned!
When you plan for your visit in Singapore, Lau Pa Sat will definitely have to be on your list. Whether it is your first time or not, you will end up returning again to this festive food heaven because it is simply mind-blowing. Lau Pa Sat is a large food market that is located near Telok Ayer MRT station. Literally after a 4 minute walk, you will be greeted by a glooming set of lights that brightens up the vibe for what seems to look like an old building. When you enter though, you will be amazed (I was beyond amazed) by the number of food stalls that are in the area. I haven't counted properly but you can see at least 40-50 within the entire food market!
As you enter, i was greeted by a few stall staff members who try to drag you in to their stalls. We were then captured by one guy holding a menu with photos of stay skewers everywhere and we could not resist by try it out.
Their dedicated seating area was outdoors, and also had a full section of seating for smoking out on the blocked road. Non-smoking seating was available closer to the side of the food market. We ordered the "small" size dish of chicken, duck, beef and goat skewers, which came with a satay dipping sauce. When the dish arrived, we thought it was delivered to the wrong table because it was a huge plate - but no. It was the small size. I could not believe how you could ave around 40-50 skewers and call it a small dish, but that was fine because we were really hungry after a long day!
It was undoubtably the best satay ive ever had (and i say this though I don't eat much satay) but it gets you that feeling because you are having a feast of a plate in the centre of the Singapore vibe of Lau Pa Sat. It's just a superb experience. The platter was $42.00 and is great for sharing with 2-3 people. Of course, the stall has many other platter menus to choose from so you won't get bored of coming back once a week or so. The stall is also conveniently located right beside the drinks stall so you can easily grab a drink with your meal.
I say this too many times, but if you do visit Singapore, you really cannot miss Lau Pa Sat!
As some of you may know, I have been absent with my blog for the past two weeks as I have actually been busy with planning and going for a trip to Singapore. For the next few weeks, you will see blog posts on my experience in Singapore, including places to visit and things to eat! For now though, I have made a digest video which can be viewed below:
Stay tuned for Singapore trip reports!
Born in Japan, brought up in Hong Kong and currently living in Sydney, Australia.
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