Good Travel in Japan Includes Good Lunch

Make lunch one highlight of your days in Japan, because food is an important and celebrated part of travel in Japan.

Japanese guidebooks introduce foods, cafes, restaurants, bentos, and food souvenirs to buy for your families, friends, and colleagues. Model day trips usually consist of visiting famous sights at your destination, eating local food or visiting a popular restaurant, and shopping for omiyage souvenirs. And those souvenirs are most often food items. Japanese travel programs also focus on local foods.

Don’t know where you should go? Go somewhere for the food – soba noodles in Nagano prefecture, okonomiyaki and takoyaki in Osaka, yudofu in Kyoto. Plan a trip to eat a local specialty as you would plan a trip to visit a local attraction. Or combine the two reasons to travel.

Going to Asakusa in Tokyo? Have tempura, sushi, or monjayaki at an old local restaurant, see Senso-ji temple, and buy some of the food souvenirs the area is famous for like ningyo-yaki cakes and kaminariokoshi crackers.

Going to Matsumoto in Nagano? Visit Matsumoto castle, eat fresh soba noodles, and buy oyaki dumplings with different fillings as a souvenir.

Wherever you might visit in Japan, make use of the best lunch offers make time in your schedule to explore Japanese food.

1. Get a free upgrade. During lunch you can often get a big portion for the price of a regular one. I have seen this offered for ramen, tsukemen, and curry rice.

2. Get a free refill. Many restaurants serving teishoku style sets will offer you more rice or miso soup. At the tonkatsu restaurant Wako for example staff will serve you more miso soup, rice, and also more cabbage.

3. All you can eat. Just like a salad bar offering as much salad as you want there is buffet style all you can eat called tabehodai. Check lunch at the big hotels. Their tabehodai lunch includes a great variety of savory dishes and desert. The high quality food here is popular with Japanese visitors and the amount you eat is only limited by your appetite and usually generous time limit.

4. Lunch sets. Select a special lunch set at a sushi bar or traditional Japanese restaurant. You can expect to eat an exquisite selection for less than half of what you would pay at dinner time. These lunch sets are a good option if you want to eat at places that would usually outside your budget.

5. Bento box lunch. Boxed lunch is a good option if you want to eat outside at a park or will be on the train during the day. Of course convenience stores offer cheap lunches, but you can also get a bento that is a special treat. Check the restaurants and bento vendors near train stations. Eki-ben (train station bento) often uses local delicacies and is a celebrated class of bento in itself.

So do not forget lunch and time for meals when you design your travel. Local delicacies and restaurants will add to your overall travel experience.

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Food Travel Primer And Tips

Food travel used to be a necessity back when humans had to hunt for sustenance. Now, it’s more of a pleasure and a passion for those with an urge to satisfy their taste buds. From restaurant critics forever on the lookout for a new find to culinary learning vacations and walking foodie tours, there’s a whole new world awaiting discovery.

All the major types of food travel are listed below, but those interested should realize that it’s not just about eating or taking a city tour. This has as much to do with preparing food and learning about the culture behind each dish and place. Not to mention the pleasure of the journey and getting to know each city intimately, as opposed to flying to ten different destinations just for the tourist attractions.

The single most popular type is culinary tourism. This can be in the form of visitors getting a package deal which includes a resort stay, free meals and cooking classes taught by expert chefs. It could also be a tour of a region famous for its culinary offerings, like Italy’s Tuscany, France’s Loire, California’s Napa Valley or Australia’s Hunter Valley.

Similar to culinary tourism are wine country vacations involving winery & vineyard tours and wine tastings. These areas are renowned for their fine dining restaurants offering gourmet cuisine and extensive wine lists. Wine country vacations in these scenic valleys can combine quality cuisine and wine with a leisurely getaway.

The simplest way is for foodies to take themed city tours that take visitors for a taste of the city’s best culinary offerings. This can be a walking tour of a specific neighborhood that is packed with restaurants. It can also be a bus or private vehicle tour that takes visitors all over the city to taste a specific dish or item, like a pizza or burger tour, or a visit to classic cafes or bakeries, and so on.

Wine/Beer Festivals also offer an easy way to sample many different cuisines from different regions or countries. Another trend that’s slowly getting more followers is the slow food movement. It’s a whole new subject, but let’s just say that those who have the time and patience to practice it will gain valuable insight into the local culture and learn how each dish is prepared.

Yet another big trend these days is the habit of eating at organic restaurants while on the road and frequenting only those establishments that use sustainable and local produce. Some travelers even stick to Vegan or prepare their own meals on the road to ensure it is organic and sustainable. It’s not as hard as it seems, but it does need a lot of advance planning to map out suitable restaurants along the way.

For those planning on embarking on a food travel trip or adventure, it might be worthwhile to consider becoming a restaurant critic. Most magazines and publications don’t have the budget these days to hire an in-house critic, so they’ll be happy to pay only for each restaurant review. There’s only thing better than tasting all kinds of cuisines while traveling, and that is getting paid to do the same.

Travel, Accommodation and Food in Thailand

Thailand is a great country to visit because contrary to popular belief, getting to and around the country is very easy. You can get to Thailand by bus, air or rail from many different countries all over the world. There are even private chartered tours to Thailand and there is also the possibility of taking some sort of a package deal which covers your food, accommodation, travel and sometimes even activities when you get there.


Thailand is great to visit because of how easy it is to get there. Thai Airlines flies to many of the cities in Thailand from departure points all over the world. Not only that, but many Asian airlines have flights to Thailand as well. If you’re staying in another Asian country such as Japan or China, it’s extremely easy to get to Thailand. Thailand in essence can serve as a great hub to explore the rest of Asia as it is located centrally.

Trains and buses

You can get to Thailand very easily from any of the neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh or India using very reliable train and bus services. Trains especially can be a lifelong experience because of all the different people you can have the potential to meet while traveling. Inside Thailand, trains and buses are also very reliable for getting around.

Where to stay

It’s great to visit Thailand throughout the year. The weather is temperate, sub-tropical and tropical. Regardless of where you’d like to stay in Thailand, there is always accommodation available to meet all of your needs. You can stay in luxury hotels in some of the biggest cities as well as the tourist beaches such as Phuket. You can often rent serviced apartments, guesthouses and villas. Thailand also has an excellent homestay industry. You can through a package deal be set up with a family in a village. This is known as village tourism and Thailand is one of the leaders in the world using this form of sustainable tourism.

Finally, for the more adventurous, Thailand also has many cheap but good youth hostels as well as camping grounds. Furthermore, it’s also possible to stay in health resorts and spas throughout Thailand as some of the best hot springs and thermal baths in the world can be found in this Asian country.

Gourmet cuisine

Another reason why Thailand is so great to visit is that the food is absolutely exquisite. In many places, food is available 24 hours a day, so it makes no difference when you get hungry there will always be something to eat. You can order food directly to your hotel room or eat at one of the fine restaurants in the downtown areas of the largest cities. You can also eat at some of the fantastic fast food places, which are nothing like Western fast food. They use only fresh vegetables, meat and rice and you can get amazing meals. Thai food can be sweet, spicy, savory or any mix of the above.

Foreign Travel – More Foods to Be Wary of When Traveling Abroad

We said in the previous companion article, “Foods That Can Make You Sick When You Travel Abroad”, that foreign travel and teaching English as a foreign language abroad are some of the most interesting and mind-altering experiences we can have. We travel to meet new people, to experience new cultures, to see bold new sights and to try new foods. We need to be wary of some “exotic” foods though. You want to avoid turning your dream trip into a nightmare. Truly the quantities of bacteria, protozoa, molds, fungi and parasites that can be ingested through food and drink are mind-boggling.

Here Are Three More Foods to Be Wary of When Traveling Abroad

o Raw, Uncooked Foods

Here we go again. Guess what one of the reasons for cooking foods is? Yup, you’re right. One of them is to kill germs, protozoa, bacteria and other unwanted micro-organisms that are in the things we eat for food. Unless you’re sure of the source and treatment of what you’re about to eat, be very wary of seviches, escabiches, sushis, sushimis and other raw, uncooked or partially cooked foods while abroad. And don’t think that just because it’s “pricey” or served in a “good” restaurant or hotel, that it can’t “get you”. One of my worst cases of shellfish poisoning was when I ate from a seafood bar at a well-known Atlantic City Resort.

o Stale Foods and Condiments

How old is the “salsa” that you’re about to pour on your food? Has it been sitting there since it was made yesterday, last week or even, gulp, before…? If condiments are sitting out they are subject to insects, bacteria and molds. The longer they’re “out” the “deadlier” they can become. Bread, rolls, jellies, marmalades and jams, among other condiments are always suspect in my book. This is especially true when abroad where health and food standards may be “compromised”.

o Local “Delicacies”

We’re all tempted to try some local “delicacies” while abroad. Never mind how they tease you, insist on knowing what it is you’re going to be eating. How it’s prepared and how “fresh” it is or how recently it was prepared. I’m also extremely prejudiced against any dish made with blood or with blood products in or on it. In the Holy Bible books of Genesis 9:4 and Leviticus 7:26, Jehovah God distinctly says, “And you must not eat any blood in any places where you dwell, whether that of fowl or that of beast”.

Take heed. Be safe.

Watch what you eat and drink while traveling on business or for pleasure or when teaching English as a foreign language abroad.

Food In South East Asia

South East Asia – Food to Eat

South East Asian food is extremely diverse and varied. It is influenced by traditional food from each country’s native indigenous population as well as major influences from Indian cooking to the west, Chinese cooking to the north and Pacific and Indian ocean islander cooking. Of course, in today’s multicultural world you can find literally any international food to eat in any of South East Asia’s cities.

Let’s take a look at food in Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore.

Cambodian cuisine

Cambodian food is like most Asian food in the region, however, Phnom Penh is famous for its Ka tieu, which is a variation on a rice-noodle soup made of rice noodles with pork broth. It is spicy and sweet at the same time.

As with most Asian food, Cambodian food is based on the staples of rice and noodles, which are either made into a hearty soup or used as the base for a dish made with meat and vegetables which is placed on top.

Some of the herbs and spices that are used in Cambodian cooking which give the food its unique flavor are Rice paddy herbs, fishwort, peppermint, chives, water spinach, Chinese broccoli, bok choy and different types of yams.

For meat, regular meat is used the most such as beef, pork and chicken, however, because Cambodia has such vast access to the best seafood in the world their cuisine is also heavily based on the fruits of the sea.

Vietnamese cooking

Vietnamese food is often called the ‘light cuisine’ of Asia. Filled with fresh herbs and greens, a dash of grilled or fried meat either served in soup or on a plate with noodles or rice, the Vietnamese eat a lot but in small quantities at a time. Food to eat in Vietnam is very easy to find in most places even 24 hours a day, so no matter how tired you are after a long day at the beach or trekking through the jungle, you’ll always find a hearty soup to fill your stomach.

You won’t be able to spend enough time – probably not even a lifetime is enough – to try out the over 1,200 recipes that are part of Vietnamese cooking!

Malaysian gourmet

As with many other Asian foods, Malay cuisine is heavily based on the staples of rice and noodles, served with greens and fried or grilled vegetables. Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur in particular has always a travel hub for all of Asia and as a result its food isn’t a monolithic one-flavor-fits-all, but a mix of Malay, Indian, Eurasian, Chinese, Nyonya and Bornean indigenous tribal food.

With the thousands of recipes available and the time required to eat them all, it doesn’t really matter where you start. But once you do, you’ll never stop.

Singapore delicacies

As with Malaysia, Singapore is an ethnic travel hub for much of Asia and its food hails from Chinese, Indonesian and Indian backgrounds as well as a lot of English influence from the old colonial days. The concept of cafes and restaurants is not alien to Singapore, but most people prefer to eat their meals in food courts instead if they’re not cooking at home.