A few months back, I had intended to start a series of blogs about food in various countries, but I only got around to talking about Japanese food. I need to take some time and talk about some of my other favorites, but having just gotten back from Japan, I though I’d share my weekly menu with you.
Sunday night: Okinawa food. I had never tried it but the various tapas and in particular goya chanpuru. Goya is a typical vegetable from there and is a little bitter but good. The restaurant was in Skinjuku across the street from the Lumine 2 shopping mall and really good. Loads of beautiful beach photos from the island everywhere. I didn’t realize that the controversy surrounding US military presence on the island continues to heat up particularly around the deployment soon of Osprey aircraft there.
Monday lunch: Tonkatsu. The classic Japanese lunch, tonkatsu (ton=pork katsu=cutlet) fried and serve with yummy dark sweet-n-sour sauce and shredded cabbage. It is fantastic stuff and also usually comes with white rice and miso soup. Really great lunch for about 1100Y so relatively inexpensive. If there is one thing you have to eat for lunch in Tokyo, it is definitely tonkatsu.
Monday night: (Italian). Ok, so it was an excuse to eat at the yuppie, hip Roppongi Hills mall. The food at Giuseppi’s was pretty good. But it was all Japanese after that.
Tuesday lunch: Ramen Soup. Mmm, ramen soup reminds me of those cheapo meals when I was broke in university. Yummy tiny noodles in a greasy spoon next to the office. Apparently, the cooker was on wheels so that they could go nomad if the mood struck them. And so cheap, only 700Y!
Tuesday night: Sushi at the Tsujiki fish market. I love sushi like crazy and this stuff was as fresh as it gets. Only thing, I don’t think that the sushi chefs get good dental benefits. I had loads of different kinds of sushi including slices of tuna ranging from lean to fatty to mega-fatty. Very interesting and very important to go for the mega-fatty one at the very end because it is delicious but also so tasty that it is hard to appreciate something after that. I also loved the ginger but was disappointed to see them pouring it out of these huge plastic sacks. Dumb me thinking it was “fresh”. Now, was I worried about radiation? Well, not really. Apparently, they pass geiger counters across all the fish in the market now (as well as the vegetables) and so I should be fine. The concern is for prolonged exposure to tiny bits of radiation for residents of Tokyo and one week isn’t long enough. My friends living there have a bit more to worry about, say, 20 or 30 years from now…
Wed lunch: Udon Soup. Those big fat noodles with a slab of soy patty floating on top. Two noodles down and one to go.
Wed dinner: Okonomiyaki. This is a specialty from Kansai (the central part of Japan roughly from Hiroshima to Osaka) which is like a fatty pancake and served on a hot plate built into the table. First time I tried it and will definitely try it again – amazingly good, probably my favorite besides the sushi. “okonomi” means something like “anything you like” and “yaki” means “fried” so it is basically a happy, satisfactory heart attack on a skillet 🙂
Thurs lunch: Soba Soup. And so noodle #3 was enjoyed in a small lunch place. Beef broth. I don’t know which I prefer but if push came to shove I’d say udon then soba then ramen.
Thurs dinner: Yakiniku. What could be better that 2h of all u-can-eat korean barbeque and beer for 5000¥ a head? Basically, all kinds of thinly slice meat and veggies on cylindrical charcoal cookers. This is our classic group dinner “thing” and a great time was had by all.
Fri lunch: Tonkatsu. Ended the week as I started with an awesome tonkatsu in the Toshiba building.
One other travel tip: arrive early to Narita for shopping – the mall just before security starts to close between 8pm and 9pm.