OSAKA: Must Try Food at Kuromon Market (What We Liked)

October 25, 2017

OSAKA: Must Try Food at Kuromon Market (What We Liked)

There are a lot of fresh seafood and meat to try in Kuromon market. But these are the food we liked and would recommend you to try. As shown in the map below, these merchants can be found in just one street. 


Open 8:00 AM - 6:30 PM, 7 days a week

What to eat: Kobe beef

Melt-in-your mouth Kobe beef
Price: 2000 yen
Maruzen butcher stall
There are seats where you can enjoy eating the beef they cook for you.
We chose Kobe beef diced steak.

They cook the beef in front of you.

They give a certificate of authenticity that they served you Kobe beef.

MY TIP: Avoid meal time hours. This stall is very popular. We went there meal time hours and lines are long. There were less people when we went there 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM. 

Open 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Closed Sundays and holidays

What to eat: Fresh Uni, Grilled Giant Scallops

Fresh and newly opened uni eaten straight from the shell is heavenly.
There is an aroma that fills your mouth that you won't experience tasting unless you eat it out of the shell.
Price: 1500 yen

The grilled giant scallops is so juicy.
Price: 1500 yen

The front of the stall
You can identify it through the green sign and the no.59 sign

You choose your scallops.

They cook it in front of you.

You choose your uni.

This is how they open it.

Open 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Sundays and public holidays until 3:00 PM only

What to eat: Cremia ice cream

Soft serve Cremia ice cream

The front of the stall where you can buy the ice cream

You can see this sign in front of the stall.

Open 9:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Closed New Year's day

What to eat: Sushi, eel, etc

Front of the stall
(Photo taken from the Kuromon market site)

There are seats and a variety of food stalls inside Sennariya.
(Photo taken from the Kuromon market site.)

MY TIP: They slash down prices of sushi at 2:00 PM. Apparently, the fish is no longer "fresh" by their high standards starting at 2:00 PM. My daughter bought sushi before 2:00 PM and noticed a few minutes after she bought her sushi, the vendor slashed down prices.

OSAKA: Must Try Food at Dotonbori (What we liked)

October 23, 2017

OSAKA: Must Try Food at Dotonbori
(What we liked)

There's a great variety of food you can try in Dotonbori. But I'm sharing with you the food we really liked. We recommend the following ramen, takoyaki, okonomiyaki and melon pan brands. This is where you can find them.


    Open 24 hours

Entrance of Ichiran Ramen

People lining up to enter Ichiran Ramen

We lined up to enter the restaurant but the wait is not long.

You use this terminal to place your order.

The instructions were:

1. Insert bills

2. Press the ramen button.
3. Remove the meal ticket.
4. Retrieve the change. 

Basic ramen is 890 yen.

Seats inside Ichiran Ramen

The waiter checks your order.

They deliver your ramen through this hole.

Ramen with additional order of tamago and seaweed.


Takoyaki Kukuru is the restaurant on the right with the giant octopus figure on top.

8 pieces is 650 yen, 10 pcs is 750 yen

You can sit inside the restaurant to eat the takoyaki

11:00 AM - 1:00 AM

My tip: Best time to go is during off hours. At meal times, the line is long. We ate at this restaurant 4:30 PM.

Entrance of Chibo
There's usually a line at the front door during lunchtime and dinnertime.

Inside Chibo

While cooking okonomiyaki

We ordered Dotonbori Okonomiyaki.
It has pork, beef tendon and konjac, shrimp, squid and cheese.
Price is 1674 yen.

This okonomiyaki is large and  is good for 2-3 persons.
It is so delicious. We vow to return and eat at this place when we return to Osaka.
It is no wonder that the place always has a long line during meal times. 

We also tried Chibo Yakisoba Noodles.
It's made of pork, prawn, octopus and squid.
The price is 1796 yen. It's also very delicious.


My tip: The line is always long when we pass by this food truck during meal times. I recommend you buy Melon Pan when it's off-hours. Line was short when we went there at 4:00 PM.

Melon Pan food truck 

Average price of Melon Pan is 500 yen.
You can buy melon bread without the ice cream for 200 yen.

The line is long because only the lady owner is dispensing the ice cream.
Warning: Make sure to have the right amount of money with you. They only accept 100 and 1000 yen. They do not accept 5000 and 10,000 yen, as well as coins. That's the warning written on the sign with the red border.

Melon Pan is ice cream placed inside melon bread.
It is so delicious and the texture of the melon bread is quite unique.

My Step-By-Step Guide on How to Renew a US Tourist Visa Without Interview

September 30, 2017

My Step-By-Step Guide 
How to Renew a US Tourist Visa Without Interview

Link to 2022 update:

First, you have to find out if you are eligible for visa renewal without interview. The criteria are as follows:

Eligibility Criteria for Drop-Box Applicants: 
  • I have a previous B1/B2 visa that I wish to renew. 
  • My visa was issued after July 1, 2007. 
  • My prior visa was valid for at least five years. 
  • My prior B1/B2 visa is still valid or expired within the last 12 months 
  • I am a citizen of the Philippines. 
  • My prior visa does not say “Clearance Received” or “Travel with Employer”. 
  • I have my passport with my B1/B2 visa in my possession
  • My most recent visa was issued on or after my 14th birthday. 
  • The last time I applied for a B1/B2 visa it was approved.


STEP 1. Have your photo taken.

In my case, I had my photo taken at Great Image. I told them that the photo is for US visa purposes so they know what to do. They charged me 249 pesos and got the photo in 15 minutes. Make sure to get a digital CD copy so you can use the disc to upload the photo when you fill up the DS-160 online application form.

STEP 2. Pay the visa fee.

The tourist visa is US$160. It's peso equivalent at this time is 8320 pesos at the exchange rate of 52 = 1USD. Click HERE   to verify the visa fee amount.

Check out US Visa Bank and Payment Information for primary information on how to pay the visa fee.

To summarize, you can pay 2 ways:

1. Over-the counter at Bank of the Philippine Islands
Go to this site: Bank and Payment Information. Click the Deposit Slip - $160 MRV Fee link to retrieve your US visa deposit slip with the RECEIPT NUMBER. Then go to any Bank of the Philippine Islands branch to pay the visa fee. 

My tip: KEEP THE RECEIPT. You will include a copy of the receipt with all the documents to be sent to the US embassy.

2. Online
If you have a BPI online account, you can pay the visa fee online.
Go to this site: Bank and Payment InformationClick the BPI link under Online Payment to retrieve your REFERENCE NUMBER. 

Log in to your BPI account online and enroll your reference number. Click the Guide to Enrolling Other Bills online 
My tip: After payment, print your payment confirmation. You will include a copy of the payment confirmation with all the documents to be sent to the US embassy.

STEP 3. Fill up the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160).

You can find the form HERE .

My tip: Make sure to remember your APPLICATION ID at the start of your application so you can retrieve and continue filling up your application in case you don't finish it in one sitting.

Prepare the digital copy of your photo. Uploading the digital photo is the last stage of the the process before submitting the DS-160 form online. You cannot submit and digitally sign the DS-160 form without uploading your photo.

Print your DS-160 confirmation page with your photo. You will include this with other documents to be sent to the US embassy.

STEP 4. Register an Account at the US embassy page

You need to create an account because this is where you will input your DS-160 confirmation number so you can retrieve the Dropbox Confirmation Letter. 

NEW FORM!!! Update as of August 6, 2018.

My Tip: Make sure to click "New Application /Schedule Appointment" first and answer questions on what kind of visa you are applying for, etc. BEFORE filling up the "Update Profile" section. Otherwise, if you fill up the "Update Profile" section first, the DS-160 Confirmation Number box WILL NOT APPEAR. You need to fill up that box for the Dropbox confirmation letter to appear. 

You need to input the DS-160 confirmation number in the account you created before a link will appear where you can print the dropbox confirmation letter.

The courier, 2GO Express, will ask for a copy of the dropbox confirmation letter before accepting your documents for delivery to the US embassy.

STEP 5. Gather all documents to be sent to the US embassy via 2GO Express.


1. Passports
a. Your current valid passport. 
b. The passport with your most recent B1/B2 visa 
c. All passports issued since the date of your last visa
If you are missing a passport, an affidavit of loss or police report is not acceptable – you will need to schedule an interview.
2. One copy of the Drop-Box Confirmation letter 

3. Two photographs taken within the last six months. 

4. DS-160 Confirmation Page

5. Proof of Payment

STEP 6. Bring the documents to 2GO Express.

No need to pay anything. The visa fee includes the courier fee.

Documents submitted to the US embassy


FOUR DAYS after submission of the documents, the passport with the new US Tourist Visa (together with all passports submitted) are delivered to the applicant's address.

NOTE: I received my passport 4 days after submission of documents. But I was informed by some people that they received their passports 2 WEEKS  after SUBMISSION of documents. Please take note of this when deciding on when to submit your application for renewal. The embassy do not give an official timetable regarding this service.