Sunday 12 June 2011

Afternoon Tea in San Francisco, Japanese Style!

My favourite photo of the Japanese Tea Garden

Among many food adventures with my father, we included a trip to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. It was rumoured that they offered tea tasting, but to our disappointment, the menu only offered some tea sets, sweets and a small selection of entrées. We decided to stay for a spot of "afternoon tea" despite the limited menu and this is what we ate...

We ordered a Jasmine Tea Set each, one with mochi cakes and one with salty rice crackers.

Jasmine tea with mochi cakes and salty rice crackers

Mochi cakes split in half to share

The bottom of my Jasmine tea cup

We still felt peckish after these bites and it was almost lunchtime so we decided to order a couple of larger dishes to share. We were very intrigued by the sound of the Green tea soup (Nori Ochazuke) and we also ordered the Japanese noodle soup (Udon).

Nori Ochazuke, Green tea seaweed rice soup

Pouring the tea into the rice

The dish is ready to eat!

The Nori Ochazuke arrived in two pieces: the tea in a teapot and the rice, puffed rice kernals and seaweed in an accompanying bowl. We absolutely loved the variety of textures in this dish; crunchy rice kernals, chewy seaweed strips, bouncy boiled rice and a delicately flavoured watery broth.

Udon, Japanese wide noodles in a fish broth

The Udon was served with a fishcake and some sliced spring onions on top. We enjoyed the bouncy texture of the wide noodles but did not find it as exciting as the Nori Ochazuke.

The Tea House inside the Japanese Tea Garden

Iris in the Japanese Tea Garden

Although the menu is limited, the gardens are stunning. It was a great place to play with my camera! I highly recommend a visit here if ever one is in the area.


  1. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon with your father:) The first photo looking up at the tree is my favorite!

  2. Everything to do with Japanese dining always looks so elegant!

  3. Tea on rice? Thats interesting and convenient!

  4. I've never been to the Japanese tea garden. I'd imagine it was beautiful. And the mochi are so cute!
    My favorite spot for tea in the city is Samovar...

  5. What a lovely way to spend the afternoon! Everything looks so delicious.



  6. Hazel,
    Regardless of the limited menu, what a wonderful way to spend time with your father.
    And what you ordered looks good to my eyes, especially as I've never sampled any of the dishes your ordered. If I should ever find myself in San Fran (again) I will certainly keep this place in mind, for the garden if nothing else.

    Also as always, beautiful photography.

  7. So elegant and just looking at the photographs had a calming effect. The photographs are stunning and I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon with your father.

  8. Wow, wow, wow. I want to have tea in SF, Japanese style!!

  9. The green tea rice soup looks fantastic. I've never heard of it. I would love to find it here in Portland. What a nice place and great photos. :)

  10. As I have said before I am envious of your time and adventures in the Bay area. At least I get to enjoy the culinary adventure thru your post.

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