Ga Xe Phay, Mien Ga, Chao Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Salad, Chicken Glass Noodle Soup, Chicken Congee)

Whenever I go to Vietnam, I’m always surprised by how much better the ga xe phay (chicken salad) tastes there than in the US or when I make it at home. Last year, a dear family friend took us to a street stall near her home, where the vendor not only makes a really great ga xe phay, but also uses the chicken stock to make chicken congee and chicken noodle soup, so you get a full meal all centered around the chicken. It was so simple but so good!

In trying to pin down what made that meal so good, I’ve decided it comes down to these: (1) the cabbage is very finely shredded, so that the salad is light, not too chunky; (2) there is a generous use of Vietnamese coriander (rau ram), which lends that distinctive taste to Vietnamese chicken salad; and (3) last and perhaps most important: in Vietnam they will often include the whole chicken in the salad — bones, skin, and all.

That last tidbit is what I hadn’t really noticed before. In the US, I’m so used to chunks of skinless, boneless chicken in everything, and that’s typically how even my family makes ga xe phay at home. Not everyone likes to eat meat on the bone (my husband, for one — it’s too much work and too little payoff from his point of view), but my thought is that if you take great enjoyment in the sheer act of eating, then meat on the bone makes perfect sense. I think of gnawing on bones as savoring every last morsel for as long as possible, with the added benefit that you’re not exactly taking in extra calories in doing so. :) Nowadays it seems people can understand the idea that the bones are where the flavor’s at. The only other American equivalent I can think of is eating a drumstick, which seems to unequivocally convey the joy of eating across cultures — it’s hard to imagine a drumstick tasting quite so good without the bone, right? (As for the deboned chicken wing, I don’t think I’ll ever figure that one out.)

I’ve written about ga xe phay here before, but I just couldn’t resist doing a second post on it with this new (to me) detail. Because if you’re tucking into a chicken salad that includes all your favorite parts of the chicken… well, that makes it an entirely different type of salad. In that first post, I mentioned our family likes to make this dish for potlucks and parties, and we serve it on top of large shrimp chips. By comparison, this version here is more homey in style, because it would be a little tougher to serve, say, a chicken wing on a shrimp chip… but if you really wanted to, don’t let me stop you. :)

Accompanying the salad is noodle soup or congee, but instead of being the star of the meal, they are more like the starch component to round out the meal, though they are also perfectly delicious on their own. The meal is totally flexible, and at the street stall, they had a few types of noodles you could have in your soup. One of them was banh pho noodles, and you can indeed even turn the resulting chicken stock here into chicken pho simply by adding a few extra ingredients to the broth. I’ve also seen Vietnamese restaurants offer a duck version of the shredded cabbage salad to accompany bun mung vit (duck and bamboo noodle soup), so substituting duck is also a fine possibility here.

If meat on the bone is not your thing, you can simply throw those bones back into the stock after you shred the poached chicken, so that the bones can lend more flavor to the broth (or you could keep the drumsticks and wings intact but throw the rest of the carcass back into the pot). If you do choose to keep all the meat on the bone, then you’ll probably want to add an extra pound of chicken bones into the stock to get more flavor into the liquid (or, alternatively, poach the chicken in chicken stock to begin with), as I’ve noted in the recipe.

In the end, it’s really hard to say which is the best part of this meal… the salad, all my favorite bits of chicken, or the chicken-broth-infused noodles and congee. That’s why I just had to make them all here. :)

Ga Xe Phay (Vietnamese Chicken Salad)
Serves 4 as a side dish

Because the chicken forms the basis of the meal here, you definitely want to get the best chicken you can find. Organic, free-range is best. In Vietnam and much of Asia, the chickens tend to be “free-roaming” and are scrawnier, with denser meat, and more chicken flavor. The second important thing is that it’s really best to use Vietnamese coriander here, which is traditional to this dish. But if you can’t find it (as I could not in Beijing) or don’t like the flavor of it, then mint will suffice.

a 2- to 3-lb organic, free-range chicken, including organs if you like
coarse salt for scrubbing (optional)
1 tsp table salt (optional)
2 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
1-inch piece ginger, sliced
1 lb chicken bones (back, neck, wings, etc.) (alternatively, you can use the bones of the poached chicken after it’s shredded if you don’t intend to keep the meat on the bone; or if you don’t add any extra bones at all, you could use chicken stock instead of the water listed next)
2 quarts water, or just enough for the chicken to be submerged
1/2 head of cabbage
1 medium-size red onion
1/2 cup packed Vietnamese coriander (mint is an acceptable substitute), leaves plucked off
1/2 cup packed cilantro, torn into small pieces
fish sauce dressing (see below)
1/4 cup fried shallots (homemade recommended, but store-bought will suffice in a pinch)
2 Tbsp crushed roasted peanuts

Fish Sauce Dressing (nuoc mam cham)
1 clove garlic
1 Thai bird chili
4 Tbsp raw cane sugar
4 Tbsp lime juice or vinegar
4 Tbsp fish sauce
1 cup water

1. Clean the chicken and discard any excess fat. If you wish, you can give the chicken an exfoliating salt scrub to get the skin nice and smooth. :) This step is totally optional, but I love the skin so I make the effort. If you do it, make sure to rinse the salt off afterward. Pat the chicken dry. Next, marinate the entire chicken with 1 teaspoon of salt, both inside the cavity, under the skin, and over the skin. This step is also optional, as the chicken will be eaten with a dressing or sauce in the end anyway, so not a lot of salt is needed here, but I like to have the flavor permeate the meat a little better, so I do like to marinate it for at least an hour and up to overnight. Put the pieces of scallion and ginger in the cavity. If you do let the chicken marinate overnight, take it out of the fridge about an hour before you start cooking to let it come closer to room temperature again.

2. In a stockpot pot large enough to hold the chicken, heat about 2 quarts of water, or just enough water to cover the chicken (but don’t put the chicken in yet). (If you’re not planning to add any extra bones later on, then you’ll want to start out with chicken broth as the poaching liquid here.) When the water boils, slide the chicken gently in. You can have some extra hot water at the ready in case you need to add more to fully submerge the chicken. If you end up with too much water, scoop some out so that the broth doesn’t end up too thin and diluted. You can also add the organs now, if you want to eat those as well. Let the water come back up to boiling, and then cover the pot with a lid. Turn off the stove, and let the chicken poach in the residual heat of the covered pot.

3. After 45-50 minutes, the chicken should be just done. It can take a few trials to get the hang of the timing, and it depends on the size of the chicken. I like my chicken just barely done, with the barest hint of pinkness still left, so for a small bird of around 2 pounds, I would tend to take it out around 40 minutes. And since we’re shredding the chicken in this recipe, there isn’t any pressure to keep the chicken intact or looking nice, so it’s easy just to throw any underdone pieces back into the pot for a little longer. But if you definitely want your chicken to be fully done with no pinkness, then go by the longer time period.

4. A few minutes before taking the chicken out, prepare an ice bath large enough for the chicken to be submerged. Gently lift the chicken out of the stock, drain any juices back into the pot, and plunge the entire chicken into the ice bath. You can turn the chicken a couple times to make sure each part gets covered by the ice water. This step helps to stop the cooking and, most importantly, it firms up the chicken, giving the meat a nice, tight springiness and making the skin crisp.

5. Once the chicken has cooled enough to touch, tear it into pieces with your hands. If there are any bones you don’t plan to eat, take the meat off those parts and toss the bones back into the broth to simmer longer. If you intend to keep all of the bones, then you’ll want to add about a pound of chicken bones into the broth, and let the broth simmer for about another hour. Set the shredded chicken aside as you prepare the salad.

6. To prepare the salad, cut the cabbage into the finest shreds that you can manage. It should feel as light and satisfying as running your fingers through shredded paper packaging. Slice the onion as paper-thin as possible, then soak it for a few minutes in cold water to take some sting out of the raw onion. Drain well. You can give the onion a gentle squeeze to get the excess water out, so that it doesn’t dilute your dressing later on. Set cabbage and onion aside.

7. To make the dressing, pound garlic, chili, and sugar into a paste with a mortar and pestle (the sugar helps create friction as you pound). You can also just mince the garlic and chili with a knife, but I recommend pounding to release all the juices and flavor. Add lime juice or vinegar, and scrape the sides of the mortar to release the paste. Pour all this into a bowl or jar, add the fish sauce and water, and mix. Set aside until ready to serve.

8. Once all the components of the meal have been prepared (including the noodle soup or congee), and just before you’re ready to serve, gently toss together the cabbage, onion, whole coriander leaves, torn cilantro, half of the shredded chicken (reserving the other half of the chicken for the noodle soup or congee), and about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the fish sauce dressing. Add the dressing incrementally to taste, and adjust as you go along — feel free to be generous here; it’s ok if the dressing ends up pooling at the bottom of the plate. Arrange the salad on a large plate, then top it with fried shallots and crushed roasted peanuts. Serve immediately, while the shallots are still crispy.

With the approximately 8 cups of chicken broth obtained from poaching the chicken, you can either make chicken congee or chicken glass noodle soup. The recipes below involve using the entire 8 cups of broth — so you could choose to make either recipe as written, or split these recipes in half and make both congee and noodle soup with 4 cups of broth each (as I did in the photos). If you happen to have extra chicken broth on hand, you could make both in their entirety. If you’re looking for ease, congee is essentially made by letting rice boil in broth for about an hour, resulting in a warm, homey bowl of savory rice porridge, with the essence of chicken in every bite. If you want something a bit heartier, then the few extra steps involved in the noodle soup are worth it. 

Chao Ga (Chicken Congee)
Serves 4

2/3 cup jasmine rice (using standard measuring cup, not the plastic cup that comes with the rice cooker)
8 cups chicken broth, strained
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 poached chicken, torn

For garnish:
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 bunch cilantro (about 6 stalks), chopped
fried shallots and shallot oil
lime wedges
Thai bird chilies

1. Rinse the rice in water and drain. Repeat 2 more times or until any specks of dirt have been removed and the water runs relatively clear.

2. In a large saucepan or small pot, add the rice, the 8 cups of broth (strained of any stray pieces of chicken or leftover ginger and scallions), and the salt. Let the liquid come to a boil and turn the heat down to low. Keep the liquid at a gentle simmer for about an hour, stirring frequently as the rice gradually absorbs the liquid and the resulting congee grows thicker. How thick or thin you like the congee is a matter of preference. You can add more liquid to thin this out or cook it longer to make it more concentrated. Adjust seasoning at the end, adding more salt (or fish sauce) as needed.

3. Serve the congee in bowls, adding in pieces of the other half of the shredded chicken reserved earlier. Garnish as desired with scallions, cilantro, fried shallots, and shallot oil, and serve with lime and chilies on the side.

Mien Ga (Chicken Glass Noodle Soup)
Serves 4

If you want to make this even simpler, you can omit the charred onion, ginger, coriander, and lemongrass. You’ll still end up with a flavorful chicken noodle soup that is just as good in its simplicity. Other types of noodles will work with this dish, but you’ll want to boil the noodles in a separate pot of water to avoid the starch clouding up the broth. Only with bean thread (or glass) noodles will it work in your favor to cook directly in the broth, so that the noodles can absorb the flavor.

8 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp table salt
1 Tbsp fish sauce
half onion, charred
1-inch ginger, charred
1 tsp coriander seed
1 lemongrass, bruised
6 oz. dried bean thread noodles
1/2 poached chicken, torn

For garnish:
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 bunch cilantro (about 6 stalks), chopped
thinly sliced white onion
fried shallots and shallot oil
lime wedges
Thai bird chilies
Vietnamese coriander

1. Boil the broth with the salt, fish sauce, charred onion and ginger, lemongrass, and coriander (keep the coriander seeds tied in cheesecloth or inside a metal ball for simmering spices for easy removal later; otherwise you’ll have to strain the broth). Simmer together gently for 30-60 minutes. Remove the aromatics and the coriander seeds. Taste the broth and make any adjustments to seasoning accordingly.

2. Soak the bean thread noodles in hot (near boiling) water for 5 minutes. Drain and cook the noodles directly in the broth for 2-3 minutes or until al dente. If desired, you can cook in batches with a mesh strainer. Drain the noodles, allowing the broth to fall back into the pot, and divide the noodles into individual deep soup bowls. Let the noodles sit dry in the bowls until ready to serve. (If you don’t plan on serving right away, then you may need to briefly reheat the noodles in the boiling broth, using a mesh strainer, just before serving to loosen them up.)

3. When ready to serve, heat the broth back up to boiling. Divide the reserved half of the shredded chicken among the bowls of noodles. Garnish the bowls with scallions, cilantro, sliced onion, and fried shallots. Pour hot broth into each bowl of noodles. Drizzle shallot oil over the broth. Serve with wedges of lime and chili pepper on the side.

Ginger Fish Sauce Dipping Sauce
(Not pictured.) Optional dipping sauce for the chicken, to serve alongside the congee and noodle soup.

2 Tbsp grated ginger
1/3 cup fish sauce dressing (from ga xe phay recipe above)

Divide grated ginger onto small dipping plates. Pour fish sauce dressing over the ginger. Serve on the side with the congee and noodle soup for dipping the chicken.

3 Noodle Salads: Vietnamese Bún, Japanese Chilled Soba, Shaanxi Liang Pi

NOODLES3

I mentioned previously that my default lunch during the cooler months of the year is a hot, steaming bowl of noodle soup (see our variations on quick noodle soups here). Similarly, during the warmer months of the year, I default to cold noodle salads. (Well, actually, I eat all of these interchangeably, not always corresponding to outside temperatures. :) Most of the time, what I end up making is a simple Vietnamese vermicelli bowl with whatever I happen to have in the fridge. I like to bulk the bowl up with vegetables, so that there’s at least as much lettuce as noodles, resulting in something that actually is more salad-like.

Lately, I’ve been trying to branch out a bit to try other kinds of noodle salads. From our recent travels to Japan, I wanted to try a cold soba dish. And living in Beijing has also introduced me to one of my favorite Beijing breakfastsliang pi, or cold noodles (literally “cold skin”) originating from the province of Shaanxi.

Here I wanted to share recipes for these three noodle salads, in hopes that you might have a chance to try one of them before the summer is over. These are all flexible recipes, a springboard for whatever variations you can imagine. Because I usually make noodle salads as a quick lunch, I often don’t bother to add meat or protein unless I have leftovers in the fridge I can toss in. But I’ve made some suggestions below if you wanted to add it. The recipes for both the noodle bowls and the dressings below are for 2 servings, but I actually like to make a large batch of dressing and store it in a mason jar to use throughout the week, so if you intend to do that, please remember to increase the ingredient amounts accordingly. Lastly, I eat these salads more at room temperature, but if you prefer them actually cold, then chill the noodles in a tub of ice water before draining and putting into a bowl. The noodles taste best fresh and tend to harden if refrigerated (like cold rice). But the dressings can be chilled in the refrigerator prior to serving.

Vietnamese Vermicelli Salad Bowl (Bún)
Serves 2

To make this more of a salad, you’ll want to decrease the amount of noodles and increase the amount of vegetables listed. I also like to add some kind of fruit to my vermicelli bowl, for a bit of sweetness, so I’ve included that in the recipe below. Favorites include slices of fresh pineapple, strips of mango, or slices of starfruit. And, of course, you can also top your vermicelli bowl with grilled meat of any kind, like chargrilled pork, lemongrass beef, shrimp, or chicken. Crispy Vietnamese spring rolls also make a good topping. :) But, really, whatever leftovers you have in the fridge (rotisserie chicken perhaps?) will work. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t skip the fried shallots and crushed roasted peanuts on top for that extra bit of smoky flavor.

Noodle Bowl:
5 oz dried vermicelli noodles
2 large lettuce leaves
2-inch piece each of cucumber and carrot, julienned into thin strips
2 radishes, julienned into thin strips
handful Vietnamese herbs (such as mint, Vietnamese coriander, fish mint, etc.)
10 slices of pineapple, starfruit, or mango
handful beansprouts
2 tsp fried shallots (store-bought or homemade)
2 tsp crushed roasted peanuts

Fish Sauce Dressing (nuoc mam cham):
1 garlic
1 Thai bird chili
2 Tbsp raw cane sugar
2 Tbsp lime juice or vinegar
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1/2 cup water

1. Boil a pot of water and add the dried vermicelli noodles. Cook for about 5 minutes or until al dente. Drain and rinse the noodles under cold running water until the water runs clear and all the starch has been washed away. Drain well.

2. To make the dressing, pound garlic, chili, and sugar into a paste with a mortar and pestle (the sugar helps create friction as you pound). You could also just mince the garlic and chili with a knife, but I recommend pounding to release all the juices and flavor. Add lime juice or vinegar, and scrape the sides of the mortar to release the paste. Pour all this into a jar, and add fish sauce and water. This will keep in the fridge for about a week. If you want the sauce to keep longer (up to a month), omit the garlic, chili, and lime juice, and add them just before use.

3. Line the bottom of two bowls with the shredded lettuce. Add the noodles. (If the noodles have started clumping together, you can loosen them in a bowl of cold water, then drain well.) Then top the noodles with the cucumber, carrot, radish, fruit, beansprouts, and herbs. Lastly, sprinkle fried shallots and crushed roasted peanuts on top.

4.  Serve the noodles with the sauce on the side. To eat, drizzle sauce over the bowl and toss lightly.

Japanese Chilled Buckwheat Noodles (Soba)
Adapted from Elizabeth Andoh’s Washoku and Takashi Yagihashi’s Takashi’s Noodles
Serves 2

Individual serving-size katsuobushi flakes are really convenient for this recipe. As a shortcut, you can use store-bought ponzu sauce as the dressing here, but if you have time, I do recommend the homemade ponzu below from Washoku, which is like dashi with soy sauce, sugar, and citrus juice (if you already have dashi on hand, then simply add the soy sauce, sugar, and citrus juice to a jar and shake). For added protein, try a raw quail’s egg (or raw egg yolk), which was part of the original recipe from Takashi’s Noodles.

Noodle Bowl:
6 oz soba (buckwheat noodles)
3-inch piece daikon, peeled and grated to yield about 1/2 cup
1 scallion, cut into 2-inch pieces and thinly sliced lengthwise
2 small (snack-size) sheets of roasted nori, cut into thin slivers with scissors
1 (0.1 oz) individual packet katsuobushi flakes
2 shiso leaves, cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade)

Dressing:
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup water
2 square inches kombu
1 (0.1 oz) individual packet katsuobushi flakes
2 Tbsp fresh lemon, lime, or grapefruit juice
1/4 tsp grated lemon zest (optional)

1. Boil a pot of water and add the soba noodles according to the package directions. (If using fresh noodles, cook for about 1 minute. If using dried, cook for 4-5 minutes. In both cases, you want it just al dente.) Rinse the noodles under cold running water until the water runs clear and all the starch has been washed away. Drain well.

2. Divide the noodles among 2 bowls. On top of the noodles, add small mounds of the grated daikon, sliced scallions, shredded nori, and katsuobushi flakes.

3. To make the dressing, combine the soy sauce, sugar, water, and kombu in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the katsuobushi flakes. Cover the saucepan, and let it stand or 2 minutes. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a jar. Add the citrus juice and (if using) lemon zest. Sauce will keep in refrigerator for 1 month.

4. Serve the noodles with the sauce on the side. To eat, drizzle sauce over the bowl and toss lightly.

Shaanxi Sesame Cold Noodles (Liang Pi)
Serves 2

There are different versions of this dish, and this recipe is based off the version I get from a local street vendor just down the street from where I live. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I got the noodles and wheat gluten from the vendor for the purposes of recreating this here — it was just a lot easier than tracking the ingredients down around town!) There are also different versions of the liang pi noodles themselves, but I find that the versions I eat in Beijing are quite similar to Cantonese ho fun, so that is what I suggest using in this recipe (ho fun is also what our family uses to make Vietnamese banh uot, which I find to be very similar to liang pi!). To make this more salad-like, decrease the amount of noodles and increase the amount of cucumber listed here. That’s actually how our street vendor serves this dish, with equal parts cucumber and noodles.

This dish traditionally involves a baked spongey wheat gluten known as kao fu or bran puff. It is similar in texture to tofu that has been frozen and then defrosted, which takes on a spongey consistency. Fried tofu puffs are also similar, but fried tofu probably doesn’t taste very good cold. Wheat gluten may be sold along with tofu at Asian grocery stores, but if you can’t find it you can substitute frozen-then-defrosted regular tofu or a medium-firm regular tofu.

Noodle Bowl:
12oz fresh wide rice noodles (ho fun – you can these precut as noodles or in sheets you can cut yourself)
7 oz spongey wheat gluten or tofu, cut into bite-size cubes
1/2 English cucumber
1/4 cup bean sprouts
2 Tbsp cilantro leaves

Sesame Dressing:
2 Tbsp sesame paste (or Tahini)
4 Tbsp Chinese black vinegar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
dried chili flakes and chili oil, optional

1. Peel the rice noodles (or if you bought rice noodle sheets, cut them into wide noodle strips, then peel). Divide the peeled noodles among two bowls, sprinkle a bit of water over the noodles, and microwave each bowl for about 1 minute or until the noodles are soft and a bit translucent. (You can also steam the rice noodles in a wok or a bamboo steamer if you wish.) Let noodles cool.

2. To make the sesame dressing, combine all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and stir. [Update: Depending on how dense your sesame paste is, if the sauce ends up too thick you can thin it out with a bit of water.]

3. Top each bowl of noodles with the wheat gluten or tofu, julienned cucumber, bean sprouts, and cilantro leaves.

4. Serve the noodles with the sauce on the side. To eat, drizzle sauce over the noodles and toss lightly.

Sushi in Tokyo (with a toddler)

Sushi is one of my favorite foods in the world, but I must confess that for most of my life I have prioritized value over quality (Costco salmon sashimi, anyone?). This is in large part because whenever I tried better sushi restaurants in the US, it rarely ever felt like the quality justified the price, so I just couldn’t afford to keep looking for good sushi where I lived (which were admittedly not very good sushi towns to begin with… Phoenix and DC). So our hopes in Tokyo were to experience (1) quality sushi the way it was intended it to be, and (2) the best value sushi we could find. I think we didn’t do too badly… even with a toddler in tow.

Tsukiji Market
Let me start where sushi begins… at Tsukiji Market. I felt lucky to have a chance to visit this historic place, because it is very likely to be gone soon. In fact, when we visited last September, there was a lot of talk that the (inner) market would be closing by the end of the year and relocating to somewhere farther out. Last I heard, the move has been rescheduled to 2016 (check out this piece for more info on the move, as well as the market’s history). Even though the new market will have much larger and better facilities, it’s definitely sad that such an iconic piece of the city will no longer be the way it has been for the past 80 years.

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Eating in Tokyo

Last September, we took a short trip to Tokyo. It was my first time in Japan, and though my husband has relatives there, he hadn’t been back since childhood. This city truly felt like Paris in Asia, and like the French, the Japanese also bring a lot of care and attention to everything they do. Ever since our trip, I have found myself quite smitten with the Japanese obsession with details and their compulsion to perfect absolutely everything, right down to how to keep your noodles firm when you are eating them with broth. These are the questions that keep this culture up at night. And we were very happy to benefit from it for a brief four days.

During our time in Tokyo, we stayed in a neighborhood called Shimokitazawa on the western edge of the city. The area’s calm, relaxed pace was just right for us with our two-year-old, but at the same time, the long history of arts and culture there has exploded into a hip, vibrant community kept alive by both young and old. Our kind AirBnB hostess, Wakana, gave us such a great introduction to the area that I ended up writing a travel piece on our time there. The story ran recently in the Washington Post travel section, and if you’re interested you can read more about the neighborhood’s personality, history, and offerings there. Tokyo is pretty expensive, so if you’re ever looking for a more affordable lodging option, Shimokita is definitely a great pick, especially if you also want to get away from the frenzy of the big city!

Much or our time in between meals in Tokyo was spent meandering in different neighborhoods and popping in and out of shops. We’re lucky to have plenty of Uniqlo and Muji shops in Beijing, so in Tokyo we instead frequented Tokyu Hands, Loft, and Daiso. Our hostess also kindly invited us over to her home and to attend the annual local temple festival with her family, which we thoroughly enjoyed. It really gave us such a personal glimpse into local life and culture. One morning, we even stumbled upon this children’s parade coinciding with the festival, and little E was very happy to participate in it!

As for food, given that our time in Tokyo was very brief, we decided to focus on just a few things we really wanted to eat…

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