Bankoku Coffee: a Coffee Roaster in Okayama

I found Bankoku coffee roaster by pure luck.  I parked my car to visit a furniture shop and I saw the bright green coffee sign in the distance.

My curiosity was rewarded by a fragrant and well stocked coffee roasting shop, the type of shop I had been dreaming about since I arrived in Japan.

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Chez Papa: French Goodness in Okayama

Chez Papa French restaurant can be found on the outskirt of the “cool Soho like” neighborhood in Okayama city.  From the outside, it looks like hundred of other restaurants, makes you wonder if there is only one sign maker in Japan. In my mind, Chez Papa is an amazing restaurant in Paris which serves amazing South-West food, will this Japanese iteration let me down?

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Ramen Tomare

We found a ramen shop named 止 by the side of the road just outside of Niimi in Okayama Prefecture. This single kanji means “stop” in Japanese and reads Tomare, a very short name for a great ramen place and one kanji every one should learn since it’s featured on every stop signs in the country.

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Kuishinbo: Offal Gluttony in Tsuyama.

I don’t know why, but Tsuyama in Northern Okayama Prefecture is the capital of horumon fried udon. It’s quite common for Japanese cities to build their reputation on a particular specialty,  but it takes some gusto to build this fame cooking offals or as some might call it the “discarded bits”.

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Tacostyle: Tex-Mex Food in Okayama City

When I stumbled on the Tacostyle website http://taco-style.com,  I was shocked to have visited Okayama City for the last 3 years without knowing about this place. Mexican food is always on my mind, but I guess some places are hard to find.

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La vie en Cafe

La vie en Café is located in  a very odd little building behind the Okayama City Symphonic Orchestra. If you spend enough time in Japan, you quickly realize that there is not many old buildings in  Japanese cities.  This building seem to be  clinging to another age among a sea of new constructions since it survived the bombing of Okayama.  (Okayama castle which is about 5 min away was severely damaged)

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Chez Petit Lis: the Word is Fusion

French food in Japan, French restaurant in the middle of nowhere on the ever busy route 2, why not?

I’ve driven in front of Chez Petit Lis a couple of time without even considering stopping there, it’s located between Fukuyama and Kurashiki on route 2.  I’ll be honest, I had a difficult time imagining that a French restaurant could do business among the ramen and udon shop, but I guess I was proven wrong.

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Kurashiki Coffee-Kan

I have walked in front of this discreet coffee shop on numerous occasions without really noticing it.  Kurashiki Coffee-Kan is located right in the heart of the historic Bikan area of Kurashiki city in  Okayama Prefecture.  I think I might have found my little  coffee heaven only 20 min from my house.

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Toraya

Mizushima is not a pretty place. This part of my wife’s home town of Kurashiki is down right ugly to be honest with you.  Mizushima is the home of JFE steel mill, Mitsubishi and Asahi Kasei just to name a few.  On the border of this industrial wasteland, lay the commercial center of Mizushima with its main street that hasn’t seen any revitalisation plan since the Edo period.  Yet, I found the chinese restaurant Toraya amid a sea of seedy snack bars.

I am in heaven and it’s only 10 min from my wife’s house!

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