Edible Excursions // Japantown


If international travel isn’t on your calendar anytime soon, don’t worry! Take a culinary adventure by heading over to Japantown in San Francisco and join Edible Excursions' Japantown food tour. With only three remaining Japantowns in the US, this spot in the bay is definitely something you want to cross off your bucket list. Food tours are my favorite way to learn about a culture whenever I visit a new city! 



What a perfect way to start a day out in San Francisco. With coffee and a small pastry from our hotel, we were super excited previewing the list of food we were going to try on our Edible Excursions Food Tour. We took a short Uber ride to Peace Plaza, right in the middle of Japantown. We met Alice, our tour guide and the rest of the tour group. We briefly introduced ourselves, where we came from and why we’re excited to join the tour! Of course, most answers were to explore and get to know the food scene of Japantown. Alice shared her knowledge about the history and culture of Jtown, then we were on to our first stop.  After the tour was over we were definitely stuffed! We ate so much food, it felt like we just finished eating at a buffet. 

Here are all the stops we got to taste: 

1. YakiniQ Cafe - This super cute cafe had a charming vintage vibe. We got to try their specialty sweet potato latte, it was perfect for the chilly SF weather. You definitely have to like the taste of sweet potatoes, but in latte form, it’s very creamy and sweet! They make it with steamed milk, simple syrup and it has no caffeine, so it’s perfect for the kids too. The space is great for studying or catching up with friends or holding meetings. They had paper lanterns to set the ambiance, it’s pretty quiet as well. YakiniQ stocks books and games if you want to chill while sipping lattes. 

2. Ramen Yamadaya - After walking through the Buchanan Mall, we stopped at Ramen Yamadaya. This ramen restaurant is well known throughout California, so you know it’ll be good! We walked up a flight of stairs and stopped in front of a sign filled with tips on how to eat your ramen. Then we got seated at the large table in the middle of the restaurant. Alice taught us how to properly open our chopsticks and create a holder out of the paper packaging. She also explained the Japanese phrase “Itadaki masu” which is custom to say before a meal. It appreciates all the hard work that went into preparing the meal. We put our hands together in gratitude before eating our ramen. Our sample was a half bowl of pork broth ramen, and they were generous with the noodles! The bowl included egg, a thick slice of pork, nori seaweed, and of course perfectly cooked ramen noodles! We also got to taste the chicken broth ramen with no meat. 

3. Super Mira Market - This Japanese supermarket not only sells groceries, they serve hot food too! We got to try 3 types of okazu, meaning side dishes or small bites. While tasting the fried shrimp, sushi rolls, shredded vegetable, and cold udon soup (super refreshing) Alice explained different types of vegetables and let us look at fermented soybean! After we finished our samples, we walked around the market and looked at their ready to go foods and their delicious cakes!

4. Kissako Tea - Our next stop was this little booth in the mall. The booth is filled with Japanese snacks that if you need a quick bite! First, Alice showed us how to correctly open an onigiri. We got to try the salmon onigiri, these are perfect to take on the go! Next, we all got to taste some mochi with red bean inside. They were the perfect texture and absolutely delicious. We got to wash it down with traditional green tea. 

5. Uji Time Dessert - This ice cream shop serves traditional flavors like matcha and black sesame. They’re also known for their Taiyaki fish cone! We arrived shortly after they opened and there was already a line forming out the door. Four our food tour, we got to sample each flavor and decide which was our favorite. Once we voted, they brought out full-sized soft serve ice cream for us to enjoy! Yes, each person got their own cup!

6. Mifune Don - Our next restaurant was just up the stairs from our last stop. Here we got to try Okonomiyaki, a grilled Japanese pancake served in a skillet pan with plenty of ingredients to munch on. The flakes on top were moving when they brought it out, don’t worry it’s not a live animal. We cut it like a pizza pie and served it to everyone in our tour group. Our mixed okonomiyaki had the perfect texture and was so flavorful! 

7. Dosa - Our last stop in Japantown was actually Indian food! Dosa is a modern restaurant that now lives in a space that used to be a bank. There are high ceilings and large windows with natural light (great for photos). Here we tasted a lentil cracker with cumin seed for a starter. Then we had a rice and lentil crepe with masala potato filling. This is a popular street food in India! To complement the flavor there were two dipping sauces and one dipping soup which was made out of 37 ingredients!

If you’re planning a trip to San Francisco soon, I highly recommend trying out an Edible Excursions food tour! ARCHEL20 to receive a 20% discount off any public tour except the Ferry Building Food and Alcatraz excursion. Enjoy!

Edible Excursions: Ferry Building Food Tour

When traveling to San Francisco, always come hungry. If you need help figuring what to eat, join a food tour, like Edible Excursions, and discover what the local food scene is all about. 

We ate our way through the Ferry Building down by the waterfront. This place is perfect for foodies who want to explore numerous food options. In 1898, the Ferry Building opened as a hub for ferry transportation. When the need for ferries became obsolete, it turned into office space and then into a magical marketplace. Located next to the financial district, the Ferry Building is very easy to get to. This is one of the top places I recommend to all my friends who want to visit San Francisco. It’s spaced out, with lots of room to walk. The building has natural lighting as well, perfect for food photos! When we arrived there was a huge Farmer’s Market going on as well, with vendors selling fresh lavender, sweet fruit, divine olive oils, and more. It seemed like there was an infinite amount of tents and things to try. The Ferry Building offers top quality shops and artisan producers, you’ll see very quickly which shops form the longest line. You’ll know their stuff is good! 

The Food Tour

Andy and I were so excited to start our San Francisco trip with a food tour. We’ve visited the Ferry Building before, but only tried one of the sit-down restaurants. Now was our chance learn more about what was offered in the marketplace. Our tour met at the front entrance of the building. We found our guide, Joshua, who was holding an Edible Excursions sign and two baguettes! Here are all 10 vendors we stopped at. 

1. Frog Hollow Farm - Here we got a delicious full-sized apricot and cherry tart! They bake with the freshest fruit (they had a produce tent right outside for the farmer’s market) and the crust was flaky and so yummy. They were warmed up to perfection, a great way to start the tour.

2. Prather Ranch Meat Co - Joshua told us that this was his favorite chili, and no one can top it. We got a small cup of chili, with sour cream and cheese. It had the perfect amount of heat and top quality meat. Their meat is local, sustainable, and raised ethically so you can definitely taste the difference.

3. Recchiuti Confections - Here we tried a Fleur de sel chocolate piece. This is made of chocolate, sea salt, and caramel, all good reasons to spoil yourself. If you want something sweet and heavenly just in one bite, try some of the amazing handcrafted chocolate here. 

4. Boccalone - Two words: meat cone. Yes, a paper cone stuffed with three types of salty smoked meat. It was presented so beautifully like a flower, I had to get a photo before eating it. Boccalone cold cures, meaning they use colder air during the drying process. They also use less salt. So their process takes time, but you can taste the difference.

5. Acme Bread - Finally we get to try the baguettes that Josh was holding throughout the whole tour. The bread was made to pull apart easily and pairs perfectly with some good cheese and wine. 

6. Cowgirl Creamery - While tasting our bread, we paired it with award -winning cheese from Cowgirl Creamery right next door. The first one we tried was called Mt. Tam, their most popular cheese. It’s made with Straus Family organic milk, this tasted so creamy and buttery! The second one we tried was Red Hawk, a more pungent cheese with a smooth taste. 

7. Miette Patisserie - There was a birthday girl on the tour, so Joshua surprised her with a cupcake from Miette Patisserie, such a cute little gift. Here we got to try a strawberry macaron with buttercream filling, so soft and perfect! They also sell a variety of sweets and cakes.

8. Dandelion Chocolates - Here we got to sample three different types of chocolate. Joshua had us do a blind taste test and guess the amount of cocoa and what the tasting hints were. We all pretty much failed at guessing, but it was interesting to know that it was all the same percentage. With tasting notes of fruits, tart yogurt, peaches and cream, brownies and toasted nuts, there’s something for every type of palette.

9. Out the Door - Super fresh Vietnamese food here! We sampled some shrimp spring rolls and dipped it into creamy peanut sauce. Don’t be afraid of the sauce, be generous and just slather it on! One of my favorite stops on the tour! 

10. Humphry Slocombe - Of course we saved the best for last. ICE CREAM! Now, this ice cream stand is a little different, here they serve ice cream for adults! We got to sample all the flavors and then choose one scoop to enjoy. My favorites were the Secret Breakfast (bourbon + cereal) and Beer Goggles (tasted like a Guinness Float). They also had Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee flavor which was high on my list as well! If I could eat them all I could, they were all so good, it was hard to choose my scoop.

I love marketplaces because of the variety of food and drinks. Whatever you’re in the mood for, you can enjoy it here right on the bay. We tasted food from 10 amazing vendors of the Ferry Building and my stomach had never been happier. Joshua was the perfect tour guide. He helped us become SF foodies through storytelling and experiences. Being a chef, his passion definitely shined through while he was conducting the tour and that’s one of the best parts of a food tour, having an amazing guide. Overall, we had a great time and now we know so much more about San Francisco culture, history, and food! Till next time Ferry Building. 
Thank you Edible Excursions for having us! Please check them out if you’re planning a trip to San Francisco, you won’t be disappointed.