Late Night Okonomiyaki (Miyajima, Japan)

Mmm... Okonomiyaki. ^^

Miyajima shuts down quickly after the bulk of the tourists leave around 4 pm. The majority of those who spend the night on the island eat dinner in their Ryokans or hotels, so when 6 o’clock rolled around, Laura and I found that nearly all the town’s restaurants had already shuttered for the night. Luckily, the owner of our Ryokan told us that a small Okonomiyaki restaurant a few doors down was open until 8.

I ordered yakiudon with shrimp and Laura ordered yakisoba with pork. As usual with okonomiyaki they put just about a whole head of cabbage in each of ours. It boiled down a lot, but there was still more food on our plates than we could possibly eat. It was good, too – the amount and flavor of the sauce was just right. This wasn’t the best food we ate in Japan, but it was definitely a solid choice for a ‘late night’ meal.

Since the tiny okonomiyaki restaurant we ate at isn’t shown on the map, the best thing to do would probably be to follow directions to Ryoso Kawaguchi, and follow the road it’s located on a few storefronts north. If you’re going there at night, it should be one of the only places open, so pretty much impossible to miss.

<p>— Read more about <a title=”Japan 2009″ href=”https://vandrelysten.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/japan-2009/&#8221; target=”_blank”>Japan 2009</a>.</p>

— Read more about Japan 2009.

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Naantalin Aurinkoinen (Turku, Finland)

Naantalin Aurinkoinen is a small chain of cafes in Southwestern Finland, mainly Turku and it’s suburb of Kaarina. The name means “like the Sun of Naantali” -Aurinko means sun, and Naantali is a nearby town known for it’s lovely sunshine, even spawning the local idiom “to smile like the sun of Naantali”.

The cafe and bakery has a wide variety of goods, from fresh bread and the Finnish favourite ‘new potatoes’, to pizza, pasta, salad, hotwings, and panini sandwiches. The pastries looked the most tempting to me, though, and I picked the Mansikkajuhlawiener (strawberry pastry) because if you go to Finland in the summer you should eat strawberries at every opportunity.

Liisa's photo of my Mansikkajuhlawiener. It was five times more delicious than it looks!

The storefront of the Kaarina branch I visited.

Their website is only in Finnish, but your mouth will water just looking at it.

No Google Map this time, because there are multiple locations. This page on the website shows all the addresses.

/A Taste of Scandinavia

Chokladkoppen (Stockholm)

No matter the season, Stockholm’s Chokladkoppen is delightful. Perfectly situated in the Stortorget square, the center of Gamla Stan, it neighbors the Nobel Museum and the Swedish Academy, and only the imposing Stock Exchange Building separates it from the Cathedral and the Royal Palace.

Everything in Stockholm is expensive, so once you surrender yourself to that idea, Chokladkoppen, where you can put down about 14$ on a slice of cake or pie and a drink and call it a meal, is a bargain.

The guilty pleasure Liisa and I counted as a meal.

I’ve heard the cafe is a lovely, cozy place in the winter, where you can duck in out of the cold for bowls of cocoa and hot pie. Liisa and I visited in the summer, so we sat outside in the square with iced chocolate and white chocolate cheesecake and watched the world go by instead. Everything tasted creamy and fresh, and the orange slices added a bright, tangy note to both the flavour and the presentation.

The food is delicious, the atmosphere and the location are top notch, and you won’t even have to go broke to experience it. I’ll definitely be returning to Chokladkoppen during my next trip to Stockholm.

/A Taste of Scandinavia

Chokladkoppen is the orange building in this picture from Wikipedia's Stortorget article.