It’s been a couple months since our trip to Japan and we’re still going through major Japanese food withdrawal. Figures. While Toronto has a variety of authentic Japanese food (the best in the country, hands down), it’s just not the same. For those who have been to Japan, you know what I’m talking about. Sushi isn’t as good when you don’t have to wait five hours for it, Harajuku crepes don’t sit well in my hand and I’m in dire need of my perfect latte. However, one thing I do regret not trying in Japan was the wafu pasta (aka Italian pastas fused with Japanese ingredients and dressing). So when I had a sudden craving for it, we had to hit up our favourite Japanese plaza in Toronto: J- Town. Made up of a supermarket, fish market, bakery, a mini food court, beauty salon and a few restaurants, this is the go-to for your shabu-shabu nights (Japanese-style hot pot), snacks, ramen and everything else you need to create a Japanese meal in the comfort of your home. Oh, and we can’t forget the delicious pastries here, especially their cakes. I highly recommend it.
Tucked in the corner of the plaza, Shiso Tree Café is the place to go for wafu pastas. I haven’t been back here for a year, but when I saw a picture of an Uni Taglione (only available for dinner) on my Instagram feed from Shiso Tree, I knew we had to go. While I don’t particularly like sea urchin, Claude is a big fan. Looking through the extensive list of pastas, there are a dozen choices from traditionals like Napolitan (tomato sauce) and Vongole to Shrimp Okonomiyaki and Sukiyaki. I’ve tried my fair share, but I always end up getting my favourite: the Unagi-Don. Smooth and not too creamy, the pasta is infused with the typical unagi-don sauce and garnished with strips of seaweed and a few slices of barbecue eel. So, start things off with Nori or Okonomiyaki fries to share with friends and finish it sweetly with a slice of cake from Nakamura Bakery. It’s quite the carb overload, but, be that as it may, it’s the supper of satisfaction.