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Food Sake Tokyo (The Terroir Guides) Paperback – May 18, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Where to eat sushi in Tsukiji if you don't want to wait in line? How to find the finest wagashi confections, sake or shochu, handmade rice crackers or croissants to rival the best in Paris? These conundrums and plenty more are answered in Yukari Sakamoto's Food Sake Tokyo, the first proper English-language guide devoted specifically to eating and drinking in the megalopolis. Sakamoto has filled her little volume with all the intelligence she has gleaned over many years living and working in the city." -Japan Times

“Tokyo is notoriously hard to navigate, but the densely populated Japanese capital might seem especially overwhelming when it comes to deciphering its restaurants, markets and bars. Never fear–chef, sommelier, journalist and culinary consultant Yukari Sakamoto guides the reader through the best of this city in Food Sake Tokyo…. Sakamoto provides a glossary of food terms and a guide to restaurant etiquette. In the first half of the book, she demystifies the central ingredients of Japanese cuisine. In the second half, she lists restaurants, shops and bars organized by neighborhoods, with addresses in English and Japanese.” –Pittsburgh Tribune

Food Sake Tokyo is the ideal guide for indulging in the best of Tokyo dining and drinking, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a Japanophile foodie keen on discovering new favorites.” –The Examiner

"Chef, educator and food journalist Yukari Sakamoto has just published a new book: Food Sake Tokyo, a fabulous guide to the city's eats. Go Yukari! I first met Yukari a few years ago; I've always learned a ton when she lectures on Japanese food. Her book reflects her deep, deep knowledge -- what I love about it is the incredible, broad and extensive details she shares, from the phrase for "juicy meat" to a detailed rundown of the stores in Kappabashi, the city's restaurant supply district, to a listing of "antenna shops" (read the book to find out what that means!) to wonderful culinary itineraries. I am so impressed by how much work Yukari has put into this book. If you're into food and heading to Tokyo, this is your guide."  – Harris Salat, The Japanese Food Report 

"Japanese-American chef and sommelier Yukari Sakamoto unveils the diversity and subtlety of Japanese food...She explains Japanese food philosophy, offers advice on basic etiquette and proper attire, introduces the basic ingredients of the Japanese pantry, and describes the astonishing number and types of restaurants."--The Chicago Tribune  PRAISE FOR THE TERROIR GUIDES: "Getting to the heart of regional cuisine can be a tall order, but The Terroir Guides ably examine the interplay between markets, local food artisans, winemakers, and chefs on a town-by-town basis, taking the reader from field to plate and making a great companion for any food-obsessed tourist...packed with local history, food lore, and useful translations." –Sherman's Travel “When I travel, food is naturally a primary focus, but most guidebooks provide minimal information in that realm. Thankfully, The Little Bookroom is publishing Terroir Guides, a series for the foodie traveler that focuses entirely on culinary delights." –Cravings "I love The Terroir Guides. They give me everything I want. They're a tactile pleasure, compact, meaty. They're lovely to look at, elegantly laid out, mutedly and tastefully colored...positively overflowing with the Who, What, Where and How even an intrepidly independent traveler should know...The Little Bookroom has a knack for putting guidebooks into print that are as useful as they are beautiful." –Wine News "I advise you not to go [to Tokyo] without Food Sake Tokyo tucked into your tote. Digest [Sakamoto's] preamble on the mysteries of Japanese dining rules and rituals and then follow her footsteps to the best places to eat and drink and shop, to snack and splurge."Gael Greene, Forkplay 

About the Author

Trained at the French Culinary Institute and the American Sommelier Association, Yukari Sakamoto was the first non-Japanese to pass the rigorous exam to become a “shochu adviser.” She has taught classes on food, wine, and shochu, and has conducted culinary tours of Tokyo’s shops and markets. Her writing has been featured in such publications as Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, Time, The Washington Post, and Time Out Tokyo. She divides her time between Tokyo and New York City.

Tokyo native Takuya Suzuki specializes in food, travel, and culture photography. His work can be seen in magazines like Brutus, Goethe, Sotokoto, and Hers, among others.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Terroir Guides
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little Bookroom; Main edition (May 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 189214574X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892145741
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jessica Young Moore on May 20, 2010
Format: Paperback
I feel so fortunate to have stumbled upon this book before my very last-minute, first-ever trip to Tokyo and Kyoto.

As a culinary professional - I am always compelled to seek and sample the best food a country has to offer. I knew Japan would be challenging, given my time constraints and the overwhelming number of choices in such large cities, and especially because of its famously rich and sundry culinary traditions. I couldn't waste the limited time I had there on searching out the best soba noodles, the crispiest tempura, or the perfect sushi (there were gardens, museums and temples to see, too!). I had just several hours in Kyoto's Nishiki Market - not the several trips I would've preferred to have made, had I several more days in Kyoto. Still, I was intent on making the right choices...

Enter Food Sake Tokyo - carefully and conscientiously researched by someone who clearly possesses real knowledge and discerning taste, and whom, gratefully, saved me from the useless and practically non-existent recommendations from the (almost-as-useless-otherwise) guidebooks I'd purchased.

Thanks to this guide, I tasted the most perfect (not to mention atmospheric) plate of Soba noodles. I sampled the crispy/tender delights of a properly-prepared tonkatsu. And I was experiencing sensory overload at Tsukiji Market (on a very cold, rainy, jet-lagged morning) when I sat down to not one (the donburi at Nakaya), but two (the fried anago filets at Tenfusa) memorable breakfasts.

Then there were things like the hit-the-spot soy doughnuts in Kyoto! After the first couple of successes, I felt comfortable giving up "the search" for this or that, and just following the author's lead.
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I was a little hesitant about ordering this book since there were so few reviews. Thank goodness I did! Because of this author we experienced some of the best restaurants in Tokyo. Whenever we strayed from his suggestions we found ourselves underwhelmed by comparison. Every type of Japanese cuisine is covered- from ramen to soba to sake and sushi. The author does an excellent job describing each place and often mentions what a shop/restaurant is really known for as sometimes it is different from what might be expected.

This guide has other fantastic tips, such as seasonal food lists, helpful phrases and foods special to different regions. Amazing shops are also included- we actually spent an entire afternoon in one of the department store food halls sampling so many wonderful (and some less so) new foods- something that was not mentioned in our other two guide books. We were able to find a sake tasting and knew what uncommon-to-the-states sake to ask to try. And we were happy we did because there was one I'm relieved to have only had a small taste of, I would have been bummed if I had ordered a full bottle at a sake bar.

My only regret is that I did not spend time on his website prior to our visit. We heard that Tokyo only has great food and while this is largely true, it is not entirely true. Bad sushi does exist. Which is why we kept going back to this book on our visit. My only *complaints* are minor- for me, personally, the shape of the book is a little awkward as the spine doesn't allow it to fully open and the glossy pages are difficult to highlight. Far from being a deal-breaker but a little annoying.
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Food should be one of the highlights of any trip to Japan, and eating your way through Tokyo really is a joy. But where to eat? There are thousands upon thousands of restaurants, many of which specialize in just one thing. Websites like TripAdvisor have extensive coverage of Tokyo these days, but the amount of information is so overwhelming and Tokyo can be so complicated to navigate, that you could probably spend hours with a map in one hand and a cell phone or tablet in the other, stuck in "analysis paralysis" trying to figure out where to eat. Frustrated, you might end up lured into an overpriced tourist trap by the promise of English menus. What you need is a guide you can trust, and this is just the one for you. Food Sake Tokyo identifies a manageable number of eateries, provides a map and brief description, then leaves the rest up to you. Most of these places are in popular areas, but just off the beaten path--down an alley here, around a quiet corner there. As a result, you're rewarded with a delicious and authentic meal, and may likely find yourself as the only non-Japanese customer there. This is a good thing! Don't be intimidated--even if you don't speak Japanese, at a good establishment the staff will be patient and friendly, and committed to you having a good experience at their restaurant.

Moreover, this book isn't just about restaurants, but food and drink conceived more broadly. Department stores, sake shops, tea houses, utensil and pottery stores, fish markets ... it's all in here. If you like food and you're going to Tokyo, this book is a must-buy.

7/9/14 UPDATE: I'm back in Tokyo and still enjoying this book ... my only small complaint is that I wish the index also listed restaurants by the type of cuisine.
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