Saturday, April 17, 2010

Tokyo Day 1 - Dango at Inoshikara Park

Inoshikara Park is a really nice place to go cos it's not as touristy as Ueno and has a huge lake where you can rent either a swan boat (paddle kind, for 2 people) or a rowing boat (for up to 4 people) to row/paddle around the lake. It's really pretty during spring, and I managed to catch it during full bloom (heng it was a bit cold so the cherry blossom bloomed a bit slower and I managed to catch full bloom even though it's 12 days early in Tokyo).
Though it's not as touristy, it can get really packed during the cherry blossom season. There isn't a huge matsuri (equivalent to our pasar malams but during the day and night) in Inoshikara Park, but what makes up for it is the delicious dango (best I've tasted during my trip).The dango here is pretty large (about the size of a ping pong ball) and comes with either miso sauce, or shoyu sauce. The dango (when eaten plain) is like a mochi (glutinous rice ball) and has a sweetish floury taste.
It's warmed over a grill, and it's delicious when eaten during the cold weather. The dango are usually painted or dipped in a thickend shoyu (soy sauce) gravey, or in miso (fermented bean) paste. The other very popular kind of dango has red bean paste slathered over it. Being the kaypoh person I was, I asked for one dango with shoyu, and the rest plain cos I don't really like shoyu dango, but I wanted a bit of variation. I think that the plain one tastes the best - it's like tang yuan without filling and is nice and chewy.
The dango store at Inoshikara park is really quite popular, cos the dango here is very delicious and is freshly grilled. Warmed dango tastes much nicer than the cold ones. There was quite a long line of Japanese people queueing up for dango.
Actually, there are many many types of dango, and during cherry blossom season, one can find hanami (flower viewing) dango, which has 3 colours. Here, it's pink (sakura flavour), green (green tea), and plain. (This store was at the Yasukuni shrine, which I will blog about later).
The dango store is located behind the blue structure (where you can queue up for a paddle boat).
Spring special Asahi beer - didn't try this
Disgruntled looking cat who's trained to walk with a leash! Super cute! The pets here are so well trained and groomed :) The owner even got it to look at me when he saw me trying to take a picture and the cat kept dao-ing me!

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