Friday, February 28, 2014

BIG Breakfast at Takefue Ryokan

When we woke up, it was still snowing and BRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRRRR. But we were kept so warm, despite sleeping on the futon ON TATAMI mats...

JS: "Pay so much to sleep on the floor."
:D hehehehehehe
JS -_-"

The nite before, our room attendant Hiro sent his 2 assistants to set our comfy futons, thick fluffy futons, setup the aromatherapy of our choice, and inserted 2 hot water bottle bed warmers inside our thick blanket. When Monkey hopped and dived into her futon she was surprised to find it so warm and aaAAAaaaaa nice inside. So so so so so nice. I was smiling from my monkey ear to ear. Hehehehehehe.

Though it was snowing early in the morning, both of us jumped and dived into our outdoor hot spring onsen....before long we could hear Hiro announcing his arrival at our door. Pots, bowls and cutlery were soon heard clinking on each other as he was setting up our table...he even set up the fireplace at the irori.

Hiro: "Breakfast is READY!!!!!"
he's so jovial despite his messy-just-woke-up-hair

WOW!!! this is breakfast?!?!?!?!?
OMG so pretty!!!! PRETTY!! PRETTY!!! PRETTY!!!!!!
BREAKFAST!!!!! and did a monkey dance in my yukata

JS: "calm down monkey...sit down...we have guest here."
errrr I don't think Hiro is our guest but I sure didn't want him to have a bad impression on we Malaysians behaving like some monkeys climbing some coconut trees.

Hiro: "This is rice, from Kyushu. It won many awards last year."
I guess he's too shy....sorry!! we scared you but believe me, not all Malaysians are like me ok?

Hey don't burn the tail of the fish ok??? He's my favourite ornament in this room.
I can't work it out how Hiro alone can do so much. Fetching all the food, setting them up neatly, built this lil fire, re-rake the sand on this irori, make tea, there's also flowers around. Plus the weather isn't too fantastic for him to walk around in socks and slipper only

JS, please observe and learn OK?

First, there's the fresh green and crunchy and sweet, of broccoli, sweet peas, even sweeter baby tomatoes, white asparagus, sweet red onions and some unidentifed but really yummy vege. Next to it, there was a long tube of bamboo with its dressing - goma vinaigrette dressing. So So so delicious :))))))

Then there's some freshly homemade toufu, also served inside the looked so bland but so intense with its bean taste. You can add soyu or sea salt to it but eating it like this is so beautiful alone.

YUMMY!!! all gone!!!! see!!! if the toufu is good it won't break up.
Some small bites with mentaiko on top

there were so many other small bites with delicious flavours.

Kelp is super healthy and brain food. Eat more!!!

What is breakfast without eggs? served with some grated daikon and soyu on the side.

Initially I was thinking that it's too heavy to have rice so early in the morning. But true enuff, this was one of the best grains in Kyushu. I gobbled everything down.

JS: "Don't worry monkey, there's still a big claypot of rice over there."

Our breakfast is almost like a Kaiseki dinner, with fried food, simmered food, hot food, cold food, grilled food. Above is the lightly simmered japanese yam, mushrooms, chicken and bamboo shoots.

Another yummy soup of long cabbage, fish and toufu. So so so so good!!!!

I went for 2nd helping and mopped this pot clean :P Heeeeeeeeee Seriously I didn't know we could eat so much for breakfast. Blame it on the cold weather.

Finally a generous chunk of ocean trout

To be grilled over the charcoal fire and this was JS's job.

Lovely pickles and my favourite was the long cabbage :))))))))

Lovely wild mushrooms

Some sea salt will do :)))
It's so fun to cook ur own food like this accordingly to your Hiro alwiz says..."as you wish" :)))))))))

Soon me and JS walked out of the irori like 2 gigantic whales *or walrus*...and went back to the onsen. This time no problem floating at all. Wahahahahahaha.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kaiseki in Takefue Ryokan

We stayed at this most beautiful ryokan ever *not like we have a lot of ryokan experiences*. Nestled among the bamboo groves, each traditional japanese house comes with your very own bamboo garden, huge onsen, a warm irori inside your unit, huge windows with access to the beautiful nature out every single amenities a modern world needs.

Right now, we are so addicted to ryokan experience....and so on the first nite of our stay, we had an awesome full fledge japanese kaiseki inside our room. The menu was presented and hand written on a japanese paper...inserted into the bamboo. Problem is...we can't read Japanese.

When we returned from our really hot hot hot bath at the natural hot spring tub *or should I call it pool coz it's so humongous* our dinner was already laid out by the irori. Charcoal fire has been started and a slab of lava stone has been placed on top. Hot water was boiling for tea. Our really really beautiful appetizer has been laid on the table immaculately. Notice al of its cutlery were made from bamboo?

I've enquired if I could purchase any of it, including its pewter cup...but no such luck

oh so pretty!!! even my chopstick rester has got a tiny flower. :))) Such attention to detail.

Notti Monkey and JS in their respective yukata...pardon us for our messy hair...we just dried ourselves and dashed out from the hot 45* hot spring bath...into the snow on the floor..and ran into here for dinner....

our room attendant Hiro was luffing at us. 

And so dinner begins...with Hiro explaining to us wat is which, which is to consume them...and in which order. Japanese are really anal.

The above was an iced cold Japanese soju. It's sweet with an intense alcohol content but very refreshing.

Next was this puree of burdock root with some spicy grated daikon

Japanese Nanohana - rapeseed plants which looked like baby broccolini but much sweeter and tender. Served with a small dollop of egg based sauce and 2 japanese raw sweet shrimps

Then we have the slightly seared Horse Meat...
yesss HEEEE HAAAAA horse meat

in Kyushu it's a delicacy to consume horse meat...oh well it's the year of horse...are we supposed to eat them? Anyway it's really really tender, almost beefy liked, very fat and juicy minus the Beefy taste.

Horse Meat sashimi anyone? Surprisingly it was really good, esp when eaten alongside its red sweet onions. However I preferred the seared horse meat.

The sashimi platter has got generous serving of White Fish, 2 huge sweet prawns, a dollop of Sea Urchin and a single Abalone with its liver *in green* color jutting out seeking for attention.
Yea all these for one person!!!! and I gladly donated my abalone liver to JS...and before long..the entire abalone to him...

A Beautiful creation of small bites, with more prawns, bean paste with vegetables, the white flower-liked was actually daikon with one fish beautiful right?

Some smashed fish with eggs, spinach served inside a yuzu.

Whelk...a type of shell. This one was rather delicate and soft.

soyu and salt for the beef to come...I just lurve their bamboo cutlery. Takefue means the whistle of bamboo. So rest assured u can find everything bamboo about this place.

Our individual soup was boiling on its own standalone gas fire. We were like scratching our head...oh my...our room attendant Hiro fetched all these things from the kitchen to our room? In the SNOW!!!! goodness was so cold out there...

As each course was served, all the platters and cutlery was cleared alongside with it. Hiro took the time to educate and brief us on each ingredients and cooking method. It was JS that held him too long in the room each and every time with more questions. I am sure Hiro gladly stayed on because it's definitely much warmer in here :)

JS's hairy 2 toned colored feet. It's so nice we have leg warmers here....aAAAaaaa warm and cozy. But most of all we don't have to sit on the tatami mat like other ryokans for dinner. Oh well we are seated on the floor here but it's a sunken floor, with a deep resting concave for us to rest our feet. Much better than folding our inflexible feet throughout the 3 hours kaiseki dinner. This is so so so much better.

Really silky soft smooth chawan mushi. Ohhhhh heaven~~~~ nothing can get this soft...not even the Ipoh Toufu fah

Our Kyushu Brown Cow Beef then arrived...

"U sure it's not horsie????"
Hiro: "Iiiieee....this is the best cow in Kyushu."

Time to do some cooking here...nyek nyek nyek...

JS: "Monkey!!! U don't touch anything...u can't cook a nut. Don't spoil this outstanding beef. Allow me to!!!"

"Please pleasure. I am too lazy to stretch out to cook anyway."
the food was good esp after a hot bath, my feet was so warm...I'm in good company....wat else could a gal asked for?

Once I gave clearance....JS heaved a relief for fearing I may:
1) Drop the precious meat into the sand instead of on the lava stone
2) Overcooked the meat
3) Splatter things everywhere
Basically he just didn't want me to screw up. Fine. Good arrangement. You happy I happy. We all happy. So please.....concentrate on the cooking now.

with Japanese sweet pepper and a piece of japanese yam. Just look at the marbling of the beef.

Then Hiro cleared our table, and brought more fresh ingredients in bamboo holder.........WOW wat's this?? Some fresh vegetables, mushrooms and 2 pieces of japanese rice cake

The paper was folded accordingly to the food cover. We could smell broth boiling over this piece of paper-pot.

Aaaahhh so heart warming.....and yummylicious.

Next was some tempura....served simple on its own.

Not just any tempura.........but tempura of Fresh Crab MEAT!!!! This was like the best-est tempura ever!!!!

can't remember wat was this being served. My memory has been really bad.

Now let's see wat to drink? I found so many yummy locally bottled juices and milk!!! And Yogurt!!! Wah this is too much!!!

JS: "Monkey are u happy?"
"Oh yes can we stay here for a week?"
JS T.T whistled whistled and pretended not to hear me

Next Hiro brought more bamboos into our room :P

Once it was opened...WOW
there's 2 bamboo bowl of wild mushrooms fluffy the bottom were some pickles to be served alongside.

not to forget a yummy red miso soup. Such comfort food.

Such adorable cutlery made from bambbo :)))))
Desserts are alwiz welcomed no matter how full we were. :)))))

After a few hours of scrumptious and beautiful kaiseki has finally came to an end.......even the burning charcoal fire.    

Hiro then asked which aromatheraphy we prefer for the nite. How immaculate!!!!

BURPED!!!!! and our dinner was done....time to jump back to the hot onsen and it's bed time again!!!! I would love to blog more about Takefue. The experience here is one of the most memorable one. EVER :))))))

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