Tokyo Up Late: Iconic Recipes from the City that Never Sleeps, written by Brendan Liew, features a wonderful collection of recipes and stories inspired by Tokyo’s izakaya, ramen shops, tempura bars, restaurants, and convenience stores. A few highlights include Harusame Salad (Glass Noodle Salad), Chirashi Zushi (Scattered Sushi), Ramen Noodles, Chicken Curry, and Mitarashi Dango (Mochi Skewers with a Sweet Soy Glaze). I will also be sharing his recipe for Fruit Sando following the review.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Smith Street Books in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Brendan Liew is a chef, food writer, and author. “He has travelled extensively through Japan’s countryside and major cities to explore, learn, and live Japan’s culture and cuisine.”
Brendan is currently based in Melbourne where he has worked at Kappo and Supernormal, the pop-up cafe Chotto, and Minamishima. He is also the co-author of the cookbook, Tokyo Local.
Tokyo Up Late
Brendan begins Tokyo Up Late with descriptive and engaging stories of Tokyo’s nighttime food scene. For those new to Japanese cooking, he has also included a basic guide to the Japanese pantry and a glossary to help with the ingredients.
Chapters are divided according to the following: Izakaya, Makanai, Fast Food, Konbini, and Back Home.
The food photography is provided by Gorta Yuuki with food styling by Yuko Yamaguchi. The pages are packed with not just the food, but also the people, scenery, and nightlife of Tokyo. Most of the recipes are paired with a half to full-page photo of the finished dish.
Titles are written in Japanese and English. Measurements are listed in Metric and US Customary. Every recipe includes a headnote with background information, yield, tips, and serving ideas.
Fruit Sando (フルーツサンド)
Of all the fantastic recipes we have tried so far, the Fruit Sando (フルーツサンド) was Claire’s absolute favorite and she has continued to ask for it a few times since.
A fun way to highlight seasonal fruit, this Fruit Sando is filled with a light whipped mascarpone cream and fresh strawberries between slices of soft Shokupan. A layer of strawberry jam on each side adds even more flavor.
The Fruit Sandwich comes together relatively easily, but is best after refrigerating for at least 3 hours to overnight. Otherwise, it will not cut as smoothly.
A Few Tips
Marking a line across the plastic will help you remember where the strawberries are arranged. When cutting, this creates a striking, vibrant contrast between the fresh strawberries and cream.
This recipe creates one sandwich, but the ingredients can easily be doubled for two servings.
Try to keep the strawberries around the same size for a more uniform appearance.
Whip the cream just until light with stiff peaks. Over-whipping will cause a more grainy texture.
While this Fruit Sando uses purely strawberries, I have also come across some fun variations with other fruit such as kiwi, mandarin, mango, and grapes. They can even be arranged into flowers (I can’t wait to try this soon now that I have the base recipe down).
I also made Mizu Shingen Mochi (Raindrop Cakes), Lemon Sour, Gyudon (Stewed Beef over Rice), and Pocky S’mores.
After seeing it recently online, I was so so excited to come across the recipe for Mizu Shingen Mochi (Raindrop Cakes) in Tokyo Up Late. This dessert is created by lightly setting sweetened water with kanten agar in bowls or circular molds for quite the striking, yet easy treat. It is traditionally served with black sugar syrup and a sprinkling of kinako (roasted soybean flour), but Brendan paired then with a delicious matcha syrup.
The recipe for the Lemon Sour comes from the small collection of cocktails. Lemon juice is mixed with honey and paired with shochu and tonic water for an easy and refreshing drink.
The Gyudon (Stewed Beef over Rice) is a quick meal packed with flavor. Thin slices of beef are simmered in a rich soy sauce and topped optionally with onsen eggs, beni shoga (pickled ginger), spring onions, shichimi togarashi, and ground sansho pepper.
The Pocky S’mores is the last recipe in the book and such a fun one! We have made these multiple times now. Simply top Pocky with marshmallows and toast over a fire until golden. They are definitely a new favorite.
Tokyo Up Late is an incredible option for those interested in Japanese cuisine. Many of the recipes are not often included in other Japanese cookbooks and I am excited to learn how to make them at home now! There is a nice variety from appetizers, snacks, and drinks to seafood, meat, noodles, and desserts. Some dishes come together in as little as 15-30 minutes, while others have longer prep or simmering times.
Having a market with Japanese or East Asian ingredients will be helpful in locating items such as kanten agar, matcha, kombu, katsuobushi, fresh seafood, glass noodles, kizami nori, potato starch, daikon, yuzu juice, fresh wasabi, shiso leaves, and more. Substitutions are provided when available.
Fruit Sando Recipe
Excerpt from Tokyo Up Late
- 5 strawberries
- 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
- 4 thin slices shokupan
- 60 grams (2 ounces) mascarpone
- 60 milliliters (1/4 cup) whipping cream
- 20 grams (3/4 ounce) sugar
- Clean the strawberries and cut the tops off. Leave to dry on paper towel in the refrigerator.
- Spread the strawberry jam over two slices of the bread, leaving a 1 centimeter (1/2 inch) border. Place the remaining slices on top, to make two sandwiches.
- Using a pastry cutter or the back of a knife, carefully press firmly just inside the crust, as you were cutting off the crusts, to seal the two bread slices together, encasing the strawberry jam.
- Now cut off the crusts, just beyond where you sealed. (If the bread isn't sealed properly, you can pinch it closed with your fingers.)
- Using a spatula, massage the mascarpone to soften it.
- In a bowl or using an electric mixer, whisk the cream and sugar to soft peaks, then add the mascarpone and whisk to firm peaks.
- Lay one of the strawberry sandwiches on a large square of plastic wrap, then spread with a layer of the cream.
- Place three whole strawberries on the cream in a diagonal line, and a couple in the empty space.
- Use the remaining cream to fill in the gaps between the strawberries and cover everything in cream.
- Place the other strawberry sandwich on top and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Use a market to draw where you've placed your line of strawberries.
- Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
- Keeping the plastic wrap on, cut along the line through the sandwich to divide it in two. Remove the wrap and serve.