Category Archives: Kanazawa

The Best Sakura Soft Cream in Town: Kyokusuien

Ice cream models, Kyokusuien @ I'll Make It Myself


I had a hell of a time looking up the name to this hole-in-the-wall ice cream shop, but it’s actually hard to miss the storefront! Located at the base of the hill leading up to the Ishikawamon (石川門) Gate of Kanazawa Castle and Kenrokuen, Kyokusuien (曲水案) specializes in Japanese flavors of soft ice cream. While that may not sound as exciting as the ice cream shop a few doors over with 10 different premade flavors, Kyokusuien’s handmade soft cream is much better than the icy pucks of flavored soft creams that go into the machines at festivals.

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Yes, You Should Try Soy-Sauce Ice Cream (Yamato Soy Sauce & Miso Company)

I probably don’t need to mention how much I love “weird” local flavors of ice cream. In fact, I’m not sure I really need to preface this post with an explanation about how soy-sauce ice cream sounds a bit odd to people unfamiliar with Japanese “savory” flavors used in sweet ice cream.
Yamato Soy Sauce and Miso Co @I'll Make It Myself

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Hug Chai Works: Get Your Bagel Fix in Kanazawa

Hug Chai Works (ハグチャイワークス)
Location: Sainen, Kanazawa (Kencho Road/60 near Kanazawa Station)
Type: Lunch, café
Dietary: Meals are not vegetarian-friendly, but bagels and baked goods are.
Language: Japanese

Part of the reason I learned how to make my own bagels was that in Japan, really good bagels are not easy to find, especially outside of major metropolitan areas. Kanazawa has a couple of bakeries that sell decent bagels, but my very favorite is Hug Chai Works, a café specializing in bagels and chai.

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Veg* Out in Kanazawa: Aashirwad

Aashirwad (アシワード)
Location: Kohrinbo, Kanazawa
Type: Indian/Nepalese; lunch, dinner
Veg status: vegetarian friendly
Languages: Japanese and English (menus, staff)

Aashirward @I'll Make It Myself

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Earth Café (Veg* Out in Kanazawa Series)

Earth Café (アースカフェ)
Location: Kanazawa City, Ishikawa pref.
Type: Café, Lunch
Veg Status: Completely vegan
Languages: Japanese, English (bilingual menus and staff)

To put it simply, Earth Café gets vegan food right. Despite enjoying cooking vegan food at home, I am often wary of it in restaurants. Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy– particularly in light of some of the sugar/margarine bombs out there in the world of vegan desserts. (Readers may remember this sentiment from various iterations of “13 Things Your Barista Won’t Tell You,” which floated around the internet in the late ’00s.)

Earth Café, on the other hand, emphasizes healthy macrobiotic food and being good to the Earth and to your body. Continue reading

Okara Ice Cream, Healthy Lab, Kanazawa

Featured in the August 2011 Japan Blog Matsuri “Summer Lovin’.”

I pass by or through Kanazawa’s bustling Ômicho Market (近江町市場) at least once a day on my commute. I love looking at all the fruit for sale, shopping at the import store, and traveling underground to the M’Za デパ地下 (depachika, basement-level department store grocery and deli). I have to bob and weave through the crowds if I go in the afternoon, but in the morning and in the evening, it’s actually quite quiet.

Last week, I was wandering around the market and came across Healthy Lab (へるしいらぼ), a small permanent stand at the M’Za entrance of Ômicho that specializes in ice cream and donuts made from okara (おから), a tofu byproduct. I’d only ever sampled the donuts, which have the density of sweets made with fresh okara, but okara soft-serve ice cream sounded perfect on a blazing August day in the two weeks when we had no rain.

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