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Tokyo Tonteki and Cheap Gourmet Food

March 30, 2017

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Hi everyone!

Today we’d like to talk about B-kyu Gourmet food in Tokyo. We’ve done some fancy restaurants before, like Saito and Gomei and Kurogi, and we’ve got some other fancy restaurant videos we’re editing at the moment (three of them have been filmed, in fact!). And while those restaurants are great, we can’t really afford to eat at them regularly, nor do I personally know many people who can drop $600 a meal on a daily basis. That’s kind of nuts. There are, however, loads of great restaurants in Japan that serve super delicious food for very reasonable prices. They’re the everyman’s gourmet food, and we’d like to show you more of those places from now on.

We’re not talking about big chains, either. Cococurry and Sukiya, for example, are cheap and delicious, but they’re not really considered gourmet. And though I love Cococurry with a burning passion, it’s not gourmet food. We’re talking instead about smaller restaurants, many of which don’t have branches in other locations. These restaurants don’t have famous chefs that bring crowds to them. They get their publicity mostly from the word spreading about them, from good reviews written about them, especially in the growing hunt for cheap and delicious food.

B-kyu gourmet makes the best out of b-grade ingredients, which sounds harsh, especially from a North American perspective, I think, where only A grade stuff is acceptable and everything else is bad (“if you’re not first you’re last!” – Ricky Bobby). But B-grade doesn’t mean the same thing here in Japan, simply because A-grade ingredients are very expensive and not attainable by the average person. We’re talking about special crab that comes from a region of Tokyo for only a couple weeks a year. We went to a kaiseki place in Kyoto a while ago where they served us THE nodoguro of the day. And I mean THE, as in, only one was caught that day, and the restaurant owner outbid everyone for it. That’s A Grade ingredients. B Grade stuff is still really damned good, and I’d say it’s a lot better than the ingredients we had available to us in Canada. So don’t let the letter B throw you off. It’s still damned good stuff.

So here’s a good example of B-kyu gourmet, with Tokyo Tonteki. You can get a pretty big amount of really good food for like 10 bucks, and while that’s not as cheap as a Family Mart sandwich, it’s significantly better fare for not much more money. The soup the meal comes with is pretty amazing as well. Scalding freaking hot, but once it cools down it’s insanely yummy. The lines from it are always bumping, regardless of the weather. We lined up before it their dinner service, and there were 15 people waiting by the time it opened. If you’d like to check it out, it’s located in Shibuya, something like a 5 minute walk from the station. It’s located right at a major intersection, and the address is 〒150-0002 Tōkyō-to, Shibuya-ku, Shibuya, 2 Chome−22−10, タキザワビル2F. It’s on the second floor, so when you get there go up the stairs, or just wait in the line that’s inevitably there. Interestingly, I think there’s a branch of it in the Philippines as well, bizarrely. I don’t think there are other locations in Japan, but there’s one in the Philippines.

Otherwise, we’ve got some extra scenes here, if you’d like to see us talk about billionaires and all :D

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Tokyo Tonteki and Cheap Gourmet Food

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  1. Hi guys it’s their 10th anniversary! So its 10 yens for the meal plus 10 yens for a beer!! Its so good!! My first ever meal in Japan and also the cheapest meal ever

    Thank you for introducing this place to us :)

    7 months ago
  2. Thank you guise for doing this vid — Do you think that you might be interested in checking out the B Grade gourmet competition/exhibition for us Nasties this year? It’s in Shizuoka from May 13-14. I’d love to see all the regional specialties & what you think of them! Also, as a small aside, I personally *love* the cameos from Meemers & Spudgy & I say, “More, please”.

    7 months ago
  3. Hey guys always loved the vids!Been watching them since the Korea ones. Anyway you know any good food spots in Osaka. I’m going back Saturday to hangout about 1 to 2more weeks before I head home to Los Angeles. I’m in Taiwan atm visiting. Btw food here is amazing!I’ll mostly be around Kita-ku area of osaka and dontoburi is one short 20min train ride away. Just wondering if there’s anything I should really try besides takoyaki and okOno miyuki. Any who lmk. Keep up the great work!

    8 months ago
  4. Hello Simon and Martina!
    I’ve been studying Spanish, and when I say studying I mean with intense slacking and procrastination, for almost 2 years now through high school and college in the Las Vegas, Nevada area (Woop!). I wanted to ask what your advice is when it comes to learning a new language, especially when coming as a native English speaker. I originally did not take Spanish seriously even in the slightest and just skimmed through with little effort, but now I am actually putting in effort to really learn something. I see how fluent you both are in Korean and how you work at becoming fluent in Japanese. I know that Japanese probably comes easier since you had already previously learned an Asian language; however, I could be totally wrong with that statement and it could be just as hard. It’s all just very impressive and rather humbling to see, because I find myself getting frustrated with memorization and vocabulary (not to mention that I feel like people in other languages talk three times faster than what I normally do in my native tongue). You both seem very smart, and impress me in your social skills; especially as foreigners. I love watching your videos so much! I haven’t been a subscriber for very long, but I’ve binge watched a lot of your content and even made subtitles for you guys! I really hope you have time to answer my question, and I want you both to know I greatly appreciate it.
    With the utmost sincerity and well regards,
    BarelyBearble or Christopher Nelson
    P.S. Thanks to Dan as well for making Eat Your Sushi that much more accomplished. Love the accent, my grandmother is from England and has many wonderful stories. I was raised on a good cup of black tea with plenty of milk and sugar! I grew up on Tetley, I don’t know how “legit” that is, but it’s my favorite. Thanks to the three of you once more (and sorry for the long comment)!

    8 months ago
    • Hiya!

      First of all, holy smokes, I’m totally flattered, especially because we constantly get criticized for how poorly we speak Korean and Japanese. I see it daily. But to see a comment complimenting our language learning? Wow. Thank you.

      And so, I think we’ve internalized this criticism a lot, and don’t really feel comfortable giving advice about learning languages. I know people who have learned significantly more in significantly less time. For them, they usually come to Japan or Korea alone, and have a significant other that speaks the language. The two of us both speak English, and we just use that with each other around the house, so we don’t have as good an immersion in the language as others who come here with the goal to learn the language.

      What worked for us, though, is finding the things that we need to say everyday, and getting those down first. How to order food, how to ask for directions, how to give directions, basic greetings, such and such.

      I can say that we’re not learning Japanese as quickly as we learned Korean, though. Within one year I think we knew more Korean than we know Japanese now, and I think that’s just because everyone around us speaks English. And because they speak English to us, we don’t speak Japanese back to them, because that’d be weird. In Korea, we didn’t have as many people speaking English, so we had more urgency to learn Korean, I think.

      We’re also lately finding more people that speak Korean around here, oddly, and so we ask them equivalents. Like yesterday, we asked someone how to say fire in Japanese, because we knew it in Korean, and so we had three languages to work with, English Korean and Japanese.

      Ah. I’m not sure how good of an answer that is. I can just say that our approach is more for function rather than perfection, and the way we grow in this direction is just through immersion. I don’t think I can give advice on learning language any other way.

      8 months ago
      • Thanks so much Simon and Martina. Living in Vegas luckily means I’m near a very large amount of Spanish culture… I think my problem is just getting out there and getting immersed in it. I’m very much the nervous type when trying to speak another language, I really just need to overcome that though. I appreciate the advice!

        8 months ago
    • I’m sure that Simon and Martina will answer your question but in the meantime, maybe, as a multi-language speaker, I can give you a tip to think about :). Most schools teach language in a “this is the sentence in english, this is the same sentence in spanish, in english, the word is ‘x’, and in spanish, the same word is ‘y'” and frankly (in my opinion), this is a hard hard hard way to learn a new language, especially if the sentence structure or alphabet are different. You’re better off having a mental switch of “now I’m speaking english” and “Bueno, yo hablo espagnol”. If I hear nature calling, I say “Donde esta el servicio?” When I look up, I see “el cielo”. You can start out slowly by looking around you and saying the names of the things you see aloud (OUT LOUD is the important part here) in spanish, or even pasting their names in spanish with post-it notes on them and reading the notes. Sort of like a “mini-self-immersion” in a safe environment where no one is going to judge you. Eventually, you will feel more comfortable with the vocabulary because you will have a visual/audio memory associating the word with the object or action DIRECTLY, rather than trying to translate in your head and the whole language will get easier. Most people who learn the “translating it as I go in my head” way end up learning very little until they get immersed by travelling and having to wing it and basically start the learning process all over again. If you know places where people speak spanish near you (a community center? spanish restaurant?) go there and just listen and then try talking to someone. People are usually more than happy to help you learn their language if they can see that you are putting in the effort. p.s. Forgive my horrible spanish, it’s not one of my languages….yet ;)

      8 months ago
      • Thanks for the advice Cyber_3! I’ve been trying to think and say the Spanish translation of things I see now and it definitely seems to help. It’s always troublesome when you don’t actually know the word for the thing your looking at though . Looks like I’ll have to invest in some sticky notes.

        8 months ago
  5. Hi Martina and Simon,

    Thank you for making this video (oh and the other 1000!). I will definitely be heading to this place on my trip to Japan – in just 7 freaking days! Yipppee! Canada, especially Toronto, is failing pretty hard when it comes to quality but relatively inexpensive food.

    If you see a Canadian girl wearing a pink Eat your Kimchi shirt looking lost but happy and eating (probably too many) pizza buns from 7-11, that’s me and I hope you say hi.

    8 months ago
  6. Hi guise! Very nice video. I liked that you did some great rainy photography as the intro, really set the tone nicely. Thanks so much for not telling how to feel about this video, like the last two, it made for a more relaxing watch. I think that the North American equivalent to this kind of cooking would be a a small cafe/pub that cooks really neat food. There are quite a few around, outside of the huge cities in Canada, but for some reason, once they get the least bit famous around here, they kick up their prices into the stratosphere :/ and become ultra-gourmet. Even fast food is so expensive here these days, I’m able to cook amazing meals for so much cheaper at home, that we rarely eat out. I’ve often contemplated opening my own restaurant. The different classes of food and dining in Asia are quite interesting and different than other parts of the world, might make a nice TL;DR. Thank you for not 3 minutes of DaMeems eating a string ;). Simon, pork is definitely great and so suited to Asian cooking because the fat melts well into the sauces and soup and far more flavourful and filling than chicken.

    8 months ago
    • You know, we talked about opening a restaurant as well, when we’re older, something small, like just a small bakery or something, but everyone I know in the cooking business has to work a looooooooot. It’s challenging, and not something you can really do casually, from what I’ve found!

      8 months ago
      • Yeah, I know about the tons of work. I think that just doing breakfast with one helper would be enough for me, ’bout 6-7 hours a day on just that. There is a small burger joint near my house that only does lunch and supper, I’m thinking of propositioning him for breakfast ;). Maybe if we ever get together and do that commune thing, we can have a central communal (hah!) eatery and people can just work the open kitchen when they feel like it. <3

        8 months ago
  7. Hello, Simon and Martina. There is a guy, his name is Wim Hof and I seriously think that he can help Martina. Watch VICE documentary about him or testimonials on his youtube channel.
    Just give it a try.
    Moderator don’t you dare to block this comment) Please, don’t or at least inform Simon and Martina about this information.

    Hey, fans. Help me make Simon and Martina know about it. I hope it will help them.

    8 months ago
    • Inside the superhuman world of the iceman VICE documentary
      Rheumatoid Arthritis | Wim Hof Method Testimonial

      This guy helps people with different kinds of deseases. He with group of people, some of them with cancer, heart condition, Chrohn desease, Multiple sclerosis, Asthma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, 76 year old guy climed mount Kilimanjaro(19,341 ft above sea level, about -10°C) just in shorts in record 2 days, what is impossible according to physiologists.
      The guy with Rheumatoid Arthritis that could barely walk did 40 push-ups after 45 minutes practicing breathing exercise with Wim Hof.

      NASTIES! Seriously, lets make Simon n Martina know about this method. This is a real thing

      8 months ago
  8. In my alternate life I work in a butcher shop and pork steaks are chow. There’s a reason why people love the cheap cuts. Not only are they delicious, but they often mean: Home.

    8 months ago