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Milk, coffee, tea , and breakfast in Japan - any hints?

Milk, coffee, tea , and breakfast in Japan - any hints?

May 28th, 2004, 02:55 PM
  #1  
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Milk, coffee, tea , and breakfast in Japan - any hints?

Is there fresh milk for coffee and tea? I gather there's no such thing as cereal for breakfast, but someone said the coffee is really bitter in coffee shops. Perhaps I can take my favourite tea bags and just get hot water? Where can you buy breakfast if you don't like miso soup and raw egg? I guess that's what you'd get in a ryokan?
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May 28th, 2004, 03:12 PM
  #2  
Airlawgirl
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Amanda, dear, where in the world have you gotten this notion that there's no fresh milk available for coffee or tea??? You're staying in some sort of hotel/ryokan, right? I just returned from staying in a Tokyo ryokan- Ryokan Shigetsu in Asakusa- where I had my choice of a Western or Japanese breakfast- most listed ryokan will give you that choice. When in Japan, I prefer a Japanese breakfast-but there was another table of Europeans next to me who were eating good ole' bacon, eggs and toast, o.j. and coffee. Although I had tea with my breakfast, I asked for coffee as well, and they brought me fresh creamers. As for cereal, I'm sure it's available in most of the western hotels-haven't asked, but I'm sure it's there-KimJapan should be able to enlighten you on that. There's any number of coffee bars, Mr. donut shops, etc. where you can find other than Japanese breakfast.
 
May 28th, 2004, 03:12 PM
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None of these things are any problem at all. In hotels, western breakfast is offered, often buffet style. Many ryokan often have both Japanese and western breakfast for you to choose from. Milk is available everywhere, just like home. Starbucks, Seattle's Best and other chain coffee shops are all over the place. All kinds of tea is available as well. Milk tea is popular...it's regular black tea with milk. Some places serve those little containers of coffee creamer stuff...if you don't like that, just ask regular milk, no problem.

There are convenience stores and supermarkets virtually everywhere...you can't go a block without finding at least a convenience store. If you wanted to buy your own cereal and milk, you could quite easily. Kelloggs cereal is available, and Calbee makes similar cereals.

Miso soup and raw egg is not a typical breakfast at all. A typical Japanese breakfast is rice, miso soup, boiled or fried egg, salad, grilled fish, toast, coffee or tea. In ryokan, they will often serve their local specialties, which you should try. The breakfast tray is large and varied enough so that even if you don't like some things, you'll have enough to eat. Second helpings of rice are always available for those with bigger appetites.

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May 28th, 2004, 03:15 PM
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There are coffee houses in every city and many of them offer "morning service". For a little more than the cost of a single cup of coffee, you get breakfast and coffee, including a free refill. Food varies from place to place, but might include a salad, toast or some kind of sandwhich, maybe a hard boiled egg. It's a great deal. I've never noticed being served bitter coffee although it may be a bit strong sometimes which I've never minded in the morning.
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May 28th, 2004, 03:21 PM
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Boy that was fast!!!!!!!
Thanks for those replies. I'm not one for either a donut or salad in the mornings, but it looks like I'll be catered for easily!
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May 28th, 2004, 03:23 PM
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Airlawgirl
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Ah, yes, macaroni salad for breakfast, very "Lost in Translation." (smile)
 
May 28th, 2004, 03:49 PM
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I would like to add that they are very cheap in Tokyo, at least by my European standard: a cup of quality coffee starting at EUR1.50 and "Morning Service" around EUR3-4.
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May 28th, 2004, 04:46 PM
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Airlawgirl
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And KimJapan- I would disagree with you on the "typical" Japanese breakfast including toast- I've never seen that- rice takes the place of toast-I'm also not sure I agree that a typical Japanese breakfast even includes a fried egg-have seen that only once-and that was because the ryokan thought I would want an egg since I was a Westerner. Everything else you listed-yes-but Japanese breakfast also includes a package of dried seaweed, which you crunch up in your rice-very tasty- to me-but I eat neither meat nor fowl-only fish. Even in Hawaii, where I once lived, you get rice and eggs for breakfast, not toast- not even at McDonald's- unless you ask for it separately, or get it as part of a western breakfast meal.
 
May 28th, 2004, 08:15 PM
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Having lived in Japan for 9 years as well as having stayed in countless ryokan and hotels I can say that toast is absolutely common. In Japanese style coffee shops (not Starbucks) the typical morning set is coffee or tea, a boiled egg and a thick slice of white toast. Sometimes bacon is included. You can find this breakfast anywhere that has a coffee shop, even in the most rural villages and towns. Sunnyside-up eggs are common, and considered very healthy. When I stayed in the hospital after the birth of my daughter, I was served a sunnyside up egg every day. They are also served in most hotels. Coffee shops offer boiled eggs because they can be prepared in advance and are easy to store and serve. You are right about the seaweed...nori...it is served in small packages or accompanies rice in its own lacquer box. You may crumple it over your rice, or eat it plain.

A typical Japanese breakfast and a traditional Japanese breakfast are not the same. Typical is what most people eat and most places serve. Traditional (grilled salted fish, miso soup, rice, pickled vegetables, salad) is not the norm anymore in the home, and is also beccoming less and less so even in the most traditional ryokan where they will now offer western breakfast choices as well.

Amanda, you won't have any trouble at all getting something you like, so put that worry aside. Even my mother didn't starve here on her visit, and she is very, very picky about her food! You'll be fine.
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May 28th, 2004, 08:47 PM
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I accept that there is a distinct difference between a "typical" and "traditional" Japanese breakfast. What you described in your first post was not a "typical" Jap. breakfast but a "traditional" one- which does not include either toast or eggs. However as you stated, eggs are commonly eaten, partic. boiled eggs, and toast, for a typical, coffee shop breakfast. I, for one, haven't really seen any difference in the type of breakfasts offered at ryokan since I made my first trip to Japan in the late 80's. The ryokan I have stayed in, both then and now, offered me a choice of traditional or Western breakfast-and the "traditional" as opposed to the "typical" Jap. breakfast has always been the same: a piece of fish, grilled or smoked, pickles, vegetables, miso soup, a lacquer box with a package of nori, rice and tea.
 
May 28th, 2004, 09:04 PM
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Yup...in my first post I said typical but I meant traditional. My error. The traditional breakfast hasn't and won't change...because it's traditional. It is very easy to find what you like, and often, if the place doesn't have something you want, they'll get it. On more than one occasion, restaurants have gone shopping while we were there to get something suitable for our child.
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May 28th, 2004, 11:16 PM
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I LOVE the toast in Japan! those thick square slices of totally white bread that have that wonderful bread smell. Nothing like white bread in America.

I'd have to agree that a typical japanese breakfast is as likely to have spaghetti or salad with egg (any style) as it is to have fish.

Which is why I love to stay in nice Inns or ryokans...the Japanese breakfasts are so wonderful, and as stated above, will always have way too much food!
lcuy is offline  
May 29th, 2004, 04:36 PM
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No, Icuy, that is NOT what we were saying- a "typical" Jap. breakfast does NOT include fish-and I have no idea what you mean by Jap. toast having that "wonderful bread smell." Their toast is thicker and better than our store white bread- but I haven't noticed it having any partic. bread smell at all.
 
May 29th, 2004, 11:06 PM
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Lcuy...the texture and smell of the bread is why I think it's so, so popular. The best quality bread is wonderfully soft and fragrent, and toasted with butter it's delicious.

There are bakeries all over the place, and new ones opening up all the time, competing to see which can have the best milk bread, English bread, other baked goodies. The bakeries are an adventure all of their own,.,.you can get curry hot dogs, egg custard tarts, fried noodle sandwiches, bean paste rolls...until living in Japan I never imagined what could be done with simple bread dough! The only downside to bakeries is they often don't open up early enough for breakfast...but for an inexpensive and intersting lunch or snack, they are great!

Amanda....you might find that bakeries serve you really well...you will find them in the basements of department stores, in a corner of every supermarket, in stations, and on every block or so in the cities...virtually everywhere. Buy a few things that look good to you and try them....and if you've bought a few things it won't matter if one isn't to your liking. Careful, though....when we first moved here we went to bakery every day and really overbought and overate and gained 10 pounds in a month!
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May 30th, 2004, 01:10 AM
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Hi,

Are there any restrictions on bringing in snacks and/or other 'outside' foods into the rooms in ryokans?

The selection of baked goods sounds so tempting as described by KimJapan, and we might just choose to skip the ryokan's breakfasts to sample the 'local' bakeries.

Any tips welcomed!

Thanks!
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May 30th, 2004, 02:35 AM
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Don't skip the ryokan breakfast...it's wonderful, and you should a traditional breakfast at least once. Most ryokan serve local specialties at both breakfast and dinner, and they are well worth trying. Even if it's not exactly to your taste, the experience is nice. Bakeries aren't usually open very early...department stores and supermarkets usually at 10. Independent bakeries sometimes open at 7 or 8, but they don't have as much selection until closer to lunch time. I'd recommend eating breakfast, then going to a bakery for lunch or snack food.

I don't see any reason why you couldn't bring food into your room...you generally eat in your room anyway in ryokan. I would be discreet about it though...like don't take our your brought in food during dinner service or breakfast service.
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May 30th, 2004, 05:21 AM
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Happy Traveling-I'd be willing to wager that in a brief trip to Japan, you'll probably come into very little contact with bakeries, and when you do, you're really not going to find too much there to eat that will interest you-the toast is good, but I certainly wouldn't wax rapturous over it, nor have I ever heard anyone else rhapsodize over it either, and I have a number of Japanese friends, as well as a very good friend who is Japanese-American who go back and forth to Japan on a regular basis. That said, however, be adventurous and try different foods-no place like Japan for that! Grilled octopus on a stick comes to mind immediately-and if you're up at Ssensjo-ji temple (my favorite) -the Nakamise-dori street has all kinds of quite delicious vendor food to try-like fresh fried sweet potato balls (my description) which are quite delicious. If you're in a ryokan, do try the traditional Japanese breakfast-I like it, but understand that it certainly isn't every Westerner's cup of tea. If you don't like it, then just ask for a western breakfast-although breakfast and dinner, as I'm sure you know, are QUITE expensive in ryokan. There are no restrictions on you bringing anything at all into your room-some ryokan have small fridges, but most do not, I should think, however, you might get something and ask if the ryokan will put it in their fridge for you.
 
May 30th, 2004, 07:15 AM
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Airlaw,I guess you're not much of a pastry person! The only way someone wouldn't come into contact with many bakeries in japan is if they simply didn't notice them.

They're everywhere! Usually with a "French" name and as kim said, with more derivations of bread dough than you would ever "knead". (They are so popular that they've even been imported to Hawaii...) If you want to find one early in the morning, check a train station. Grab the some tongs & a tray and go for it! Love those onion rolls!

And back to your origional question of raw egg, Amanda. If you are served one, you will also get hot rice in a bowl with a lid. Crack the egg over the rice, then replace the lid for a few minutes. The egg will cook in the steam, and end up as a 3 minute egg.

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