By Eleanor Schmidt, Semester at Sea, Spring 2017

Dining in Japan was full of many different experiences from randomly pointing at something on a menu in Japanese and not asking any questions, to going to Nobu, a renowned restaurant with locations all over the world and getting to meet the owner and creator.

The best food experience that I had, though, was at a small restaurant in Kyoto called Chao Chao Gyoza. The menu had all different kinds of gyoza and between the table, we probably had one (or even two) of everything. Almost everyone got a meal that consisted of a (mysterious yet good) draft beer, their signature “chao chao gyoza” which was two, long pieces of pork dumpling and I chose to get the shrimp dumplings and pickled cucumber along with it and it was so good I could have eaten another three orders.

Everyone shared everything. We ordered so many more small plates from chicken and mozzarella dumplings, to chocolate filled ones on top of vanilla ice-cream. Our server, Alex, was Japanese but born in Canada so he spoke very good English and really livened up the traditionally quite atmosphere of other local restaurants. The experience was even better because it was shared with new girls that I now consider close friends after bonding over an unforgettable meal and a few drinks.