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Saturday, July 9, 2011

of dim sum and bento boxes


Hello bento pals! We recently spent a wonderfully sensory day exploring San Francisco's Chinatown and Japantown. Some glimpses of the colorful, evocative and extremely tasty things we encountered follow.

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, note the sculpted Art Deco details in the second image.



Chinatown, late morning, with bright sky and green leaf-lit freshness:


I loved this bird mural...


Dragonfruit and melons


Chinese herbal medicines, harmoniously displayed


Our breakfast of good dim sum, was very fond of the shrimp and dark greens dumplings at the top of this photo...



Beautiful vegetable seeds, like postcards from a cosmic garden!



 


Check out the intricate tones and textures on this hanging lamp, lovely against the gold and cinnamon wall:




Chinese tamales--a great expression of California's culinary cross-fertilization. Wonder what they taste like? Next time I'll find out!


Here we are reflected in the bakery window. Love the film noir-era sign letters in black and gold...



The nostalgic, garish and effortlessly beautiful all combine here and call out from each sloping street and shifting vista...




Arriving in Japantown, getting our bearings at the Peace Pagoda. I'm hungry for lunch and eager for some bento shopping!


 Inside the large indoor malls, so many versions of Japanese refinement and fun...




Daiso! This place is the Holy Grail for budget bentoists...some great little treasures here, my new sunny yellow boxes were less than two dollars each.



We were excited to see a ramen shop whose sign announced noodles made on premises daily...have been searching for authentic ramen in the DC area without great success.


Here's Jamison happily tucking into his soup featuring roast pork in a garlicky broth with bamboo shoots and eggs. Incredible noodles. Mission accomplished!



Meanwhile, I was tackling this weighty, salty, tasty okonomiyaki  pancake. Yummy indeed with sharp mustard and pink pickled radish accompaniments...



At a nifty hardware/housewares shop, seeds for growing traditional Japanese vegetables and herbs


...many of which were available at the excellent markets and delis in this part of town. We loved the selection of fresh foods at Nijiya Market!






Sweet treats at Yasukochi's Sweet Shop. I hope they never change this wonderful 1970's sign!



Here's a bento I made the next day with leftover okonomiyaki and pickles, shiso leaves from Nijiya and mochi from Benkyodo Co., plus avocado, scallions and Sebastopol market purple radish.


Thanks for coming along on this flavorful journey!




13 comments:

kellybmomof3 said...

I am so jealous! I wish we had a place around here that sold bento supplies. My heart got excited just looking at the bento display! Looks like you had a fun, and beautiful, day!

Bentobird said...

Hi Kelly! I can relate, I was psyched for weeks before this trip at the prospect of visiting a Daiso. It really was a great day, so glad you visited here!

Anonymous said...

Oh, it's so interesting..... and sadly so far away :(

But, thank you for sharing!

Anja

Gretchen (flit) said...

You're in my neck of the woods! (I'm down the coast a ways in Santa Cruz.) I'm deeply impressed by your on-the-road bentos. I'm glad to see you had good weather for SF, with blue skies and bridge fog! I think the bridge just looks wrong without fog.

Lyndsey said...

I would be so excited to see Japantown or Chinatown. I don't know what I'd do in a Daiso shop...pure pleasure! :) Everything looks so colorful and yummy! So nice to see Jamison's face...he looks very happy with his big bowl of ramen! :) Yumm...can't imagine how good. I did make my own okonomiyaki, because I didn't think I'd get a chance to taste an original in Japan.
:D Yummy again! Thanks for letting me tag along!

P.S. I made some muah chee for that same reason...never had a chance to taste it from a stall, I'll post it on the tiny skillet tomorrow if my computer will let me. heheh

Robin said...

What I find so endearing is how you weave your story with images that are so reflective of your own spirit. I sense lilting, playful and thoughtful artistry that seeks the world joyfully. (maybe that could be today's fortune cookie!)

That all of this culminates as a bento reflective of a beautiful sunny day in San Francisco is magical.

Another wonderful travelogue, Jenn!

Bentobird said...

Hello Anja! It can be fun to visit different parts of the world through blogging friends, so glad you came along!

Bentobird said...

Hi there Gretchen, thanks for your visit and lovely comments! Nice to know where you are when you make those vibrantly healty bentos...would love to see Santa Cruz some day. Have a great rest of the weekend!

Bentobird said...

Hi Lyndsey! Can't wait for your muah chee post, buddy! We would have had a GREAT time in Daiso together. Thanks for your encouragement and always supportive comments my dear :D

Bentobird said...

Wow Robin, I am so warmed and flattered by your kind comments! Admiring your elegant way of turning a phrase as always :D

Happy Saturday night and Sunday, looking forward to reading about your creative family feasts at What About the Food!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bentobird! I am one of the "everyday" viewer here ;) - to see the world, to read about nice people and to see beautiful pictures and bentos.

Yours Anja

babykins said...

Woo you guys had a extremely great trip again! I'm sooo jealous!! Ninja Market is a pretty funny name to me :D I'd love to go to a Japan town in another country someday. The okonomiyaki is turned into a fantastic bento by you. I never think it's leftover!

Bentobird said...

Hi Izumi! Thanks for your visit and comments, dear! How has your summer been thus far? This trip was so full of great times, and Japantown was a highlight indeed. Best wishes!