Tag Archives: cheap

kelseydo yakisoba

Yakisoba is a fried noodle dish that is super easy to make, really cheap, nutritious and delicious. Also, the grocery store near my house: Gyomu, practically caters to making this dish with its perfect packaging and  great deals. It’s also something I can easily make once I return home to remind me of Japan! It’s not a very authentic way to make it but it’s still really delicious.

Ingredients

Ingredients

I like to use eggplant, spinach and red pepper to get a lot of colour in the dish since the soba noodles are kind of a dull brown colour. Soba noodles are made of buckwheat, which despite the name, is not made of wheat at all-it is more closely related to sorrel or rhubarb. It’s safe for people to eat who have celiac disease or gluten allergies. 

It comes in these really convenient one portion bags and it is already partially cooked so its ready-to-fry. You can also buy raw soba noodles and boil them for a few minutes before adding them to the mix but they are finicky to get cooked right for this dish. The bags are 15 yen so it’s actually a lot cheaper than buying the raw soba noodles.

Soba

Soba

I fry the chicken first, in sesame oil with some garlic powder and chili powder. Once it’s cooked on all sides I throw in the chopped up vegetables.

Frying up some goods

Frying up some goods

Once the vegetables are almost cooked I add the noodles straight from the bag. The trick is to add two heaping tablespoons of Tonkatsu sauce on top of the noodles before you mix them in so that the noodles don’t stick together too much. You might also want to turn down the heat a bit when you first add the noodles as well. Once the noodles are cooked, only after a few minutes, it’s done! Whew, that was easy.

Add some sesame seeds on top. It tastes good, it’s healthy, and it always makes a dish look pro.

Voila

Voila

This isn’t really the most beautiful looking dish but it really is delicious. AND did I mention cheap?

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kelseydo a night out in kyoto on the cheap

Things in Japan can be really cheap but they can also be really expensive. There’s something for everyone’s budget I guess. Being a student means I have to put a lot more thought into where I spend money, especially when I have literally no budget for going out.

Of course it always costs less to stay in, but that can get old pretty quickly. Plus it’s important to get out and be social. I think if we spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping, we should spend at least that much time socializing.

Owning a bicycle and not being afraid to ride it in a variety of conditions is important. Free transportation is the first key to success when it comes to going out in Kyoto on the cheap.

Bicycle to and from your evening excursion Pros: It’s free,you don’t have to worry about missing the last bus home and you don’t have to shell out for a cab Cons: Bicycle parking can be rare downtown Kyoto and if you park illegally it is highly possible your bike will be impounded. Also, if you drink too much you will either injure yourself severely, have to walk that bike home, or leave it downtown and get it the next day when you don’t want to get out of bed.

Parking spot?

Parking spot?

Eat a deep fried snack at the izakaya There are many cheap and cheerful places to enjoy drinks and food but a couple of my favorites for a spontaneous (AND CHEAP) night out are Torikizoku and じぽんぐ (Jipongu).

Torikizoku has a couple locations in Kyoto, including Kitano Hakubaicho & Kawaramachi so depending on how far you want to get from home you can take your pick. I like Torikizoku because everything on the menu is 280 yen ($3.11) including large jugs of beer, a plate of fries or a couple skewers of delicious meat + onion…you can’t go wrong. The ambience is also good even though its a cheap chain it still has a bit of a rustic pub feel with the wooden interior.

Everything 280 yen

Everything 280 yen

280 yen beers

280 yen beers

Jipongu is great for meeting up with large groups but can be busy around 9-11pm on Friday or Saturday night. A pint of beer is only 200 yen ($2.22), which is usually all I order here but you can get small plates for under 500 yen ($5.54). The atmosphere is nice and actually seems a little upscale considering your only paying a couple bucks for beer.

Wall Art @ Jipongu

Wall Art @ Jipongu

Usually I’ve had my fill of beer by now and its time to engage in some other activity beyond sitting and drinking.

Dance at Butterfly & get a free drink If you go to Butterfly on a Friday or Saturday night before 10pm there is no cover for women and only 500 yen ($5.54) cover for men, both get a complimentary drink. The music is generally top 40 club and rap anthems so after about an hour it starts to get repetitive but until then it is a total riot. If you go after 10pm the price for entry increases and it doesn’t seem desirable to me at all.

At Butterfly Club

At Butterfly Club

Find a hole in the wall There are many small bars on the 3rd and 4th floor of random buildings and they are usually always interesting for at least one drink. Usually drinks at these types of places are about 600 yen ($6.65) so I like to order a Long Island Tea which is generally just 4 ounces of alcohol, you will only need to order one: money well spent! A couple smaller bars I like in Kyoto: ING , AF JAM (still searching!) and some busier drinking spots: HUB, RUB A DUB, A-Bar

ING Bar

ING Bar

Ooh where does this go?

Ooh where does this go?

I still can't find The Dylan I

I still can’t find The Dylan I

Sing your heart out If you didn’t bike downtown, and you missed the last bus, you have the choice to pay for a cab or stay out all night until the first trains start in the morning around 6am. The best thing to do at this point is to go home (if you have that kind of self-will at this drunken moment) but if you’re still in the mood to party- head to Karaoke. It’s open all night, so you and your friends can get a private booth, take turns singing and curling up to catch some zzz’s on the comfortable couches. I like to bring in a snack and a drink from the nearest convenience store (this is something you should enjoy without the karaoke staff knowing). Generally you will pay around 1000 yen ($11.08) to hang out at Karaoke for the rest of the night and the morning train will only be around 200 yen ($2.22) to get home.

Karaoke Room

Karaoke Room

Something I always forget to do when I get home: SHOWER and WASH MY CLOTHES! Smoking is allowed at most establishments in Kyoto and you are going to smell like an ashtray when you get home. Having a shower and throwing your clothes in the wash is a must. There is nothing worse than waking up hungover and having everything smell like cigarette smoke. Barf.

There are lots of 食べ放題Tabehoudai/飲み放題Nomihoudai’s (all you can eat/drink for around 2500 yen/$27.70) which are great for large 飲み会nomikai (drinking parties) but I am more interested in the hole in the wall type places at this point. Apparently Osaka has a lot more nightlife but I have yet to travel that far for bar hopping!

The tornado wiener at Chifaja Yakiniku

The tornado wiener at Chifaja tabehoudai…weird, very weird

All-you-can-eat ice cream at Chifaja tabehoudai

All-you-can-eat ice cream at Chifaja tabehoudai

All-you-can-eat Kalbi Beef

Cooking our Kalbi Beef at Chifaja tabehoudai

Cooking our food at Chifaja all-you-can-eat yakiniku + salad + ice cream for 2000 yen ($22.16)

Cooking our food at Chifaja all-you-can-eat yakiniku + salad + ice cream for 2000 yen ($22.16)

I am still searching for good, cheap places to go to in Kyoto, so if you have any recommendations or you want to come find some fun spots with me  feel free to join in! かんぱい!kanpai!

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