Nagoya – a great hotel guests love

Thursday was business trip for me to Nagoya.

As this is the beginning of the Obon week, you can imagine that train stations and airports were packed. Even though JR has planned shinkansen in the Tokaido line every 4mn (how do we do in France that they cannot manage to get one train every 90mn to arrive on time, it always intrigues me), I had to let a large number of trains go until I could get a seat!

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I approached this trip with a pure business focus in mind and hardly any expectation on Nagoya. I have been there years ago and had not found anything special to it. I knew I would have an interesting afternoon as we had to review a specific segment of clientele where we need some work done.

Let me tell, what I found was extraordinary. Although the hotel does not enjoy the best location out of all luxury business hotels in town, it is a gem!! Fully renovated, beautiful restaurants and what a team!! So far, all I heard was that Nagoya people are “different” and they don’t like to spend. Instead, it was a friendly and outgoing bunch of people, all extremely competent and professional, smiling, attached to service, client oriented.

First surprise happened upon arrival. there was a meeting to taste the winter menu, each chef for each of the 6 restaurants was describing his new menu, the recipe, the preparation, the presentation, the ingredients. All the newcomers (young people just out of university) were religiously taking notes, at the end of the session, all could taste. When I asked whether it would be too early to try the December menu in August, all looked at me astonished, they explained this is why they do it, all have notes and have time to review, learn, ask questions and the chef to prepare orders, suppliers, produce etc.

 

We then moved to our meeting. After that, I was lucky enough to be here for the welcome celebration party for the new General Manager and again what I found was amazing – a great atmosphere, a buffet that some of our clients would envy, fantastic team, the owner present and mingling with his teams, the GM very open and approachable, the employees smiling and coming naturally to me asking questions, so refreshing

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Nagoya indeed has not got much too offer in terms of heritage and monuments BUT you could consider it as a stop on the way to Kyoto (only 30mn train), to enjoy the Nagoya Meshi, great cuisine, based on red miso, eel, deepfried meat, chicken wings. and enjoy the people!! thank you ANA Crowne Plaza Nagoya for this experience.

The Boston Museum is linked to the hotel, nice place, there is a shrine, the port to visit and the Toyota site of course.

Sendai – food

The Tohoku region is known for the good food (Osaka remaining the hotspot for food in Japan).

Sendai and the Miyagi Prefecture have a lot to offer. Their main one is beef tongue

I did not get a chance to try it as there were some many other items to try that I simply had no time to fit it in the menus, next time

Seafood is recognised and I would highly recommend it, the fish was excellent as well as the oysters. fun thing, they sell seafood in vacuum pack as omiyage in the train station!

We went for sushi on the Friday evening in the west wing of sendai station there is a lovely sushi place good value for money, we had great fun and the quality was remarkable, arigato gosaimasu.

You can see on the plate that we got the classic ones but also raw almonds sliced thinly. the weird black thing in the middle is a pickled aubergine. they have them every where and we were not too enthusiastic about it. (we found it in our bento, at breakfast and during this dinner, clearly a common thing in the area)

One thing that Sendai is known for is Zunda and that is A MUST!! I absolutely loved it. Now, as a westerner, if you tell me, I will have a soya bean ice cream, I dont think I will go for it instantly however I highly highly recommend it.

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here is a bit of explanation and the Japanese version with nutrients explanation zunda

 

For those of you who do not plan a trip to Sendai, Zunda is available at Daimaru Tokyo and Haneda Airport.

I tried the shake and the pudding and both were equally delicious

BREAKFAST

Now, finally, I could have a Japanese Breakfast at the hotel with an explanation and it was fun.

Of course rice is on the menu, in my case I had rice with mentaiko from Aomori (one of the Tohoku prefectures), excellent

We had a roll that looked like vine grape, long and thin, sweet with meat taste

There is a Chinese origin rice that is stewed and that you can top up with seaweed, fried onions, pickles, excellent, anyone has the name? a very good option

there is also miso soup and I have been told that miso soup is excellent for hangover (resaca)

you will find the typical natto that I avoid at all cost, pickles, omelet, fish cakes (the white thing on the plate) that you find everywhere and can buy as omiyage, not very tasty and a bit chewy, the one at the hotel was the best we tried of all

Udon are also reknown in Sendai (see photo) and the famous Zunda this time is cream with mochi (rice ball)

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