Sunday, 6 April 2014

Pig offal for dinner; Matcha green tea Kit Kat for dessert...

Day 6 - on a train from Hiroshima to Kyoto - 1305 km traveled

We've had some terrific food in Japan so far. One highlight was a bento box picnic enjoyed with thousands of tipsy locals under the cherry blossoms in Ueno Park, Tokyo. Hanami, or cherry blossom watching, is an important event during the few weeks in spring when the blossoms are in bloom. The national weather service provides bloom forecasts and junior employees are sent in the morning to lay out blue tarps and claim precious space in the parks before they fill with people walking, photographing, drinking, eating, and enjoying each other's company. The blossoms are a pretty powerful symbol for the fleeting beauty of life.
Another delicious meal was traditional Japanese tapas-style pub food shared in a small bar with a Japanese friend in Tokyo and some friends of a friend visiting from Norway. We munched on grilled skewers, a pork stew, and edamame beans and washed it all down with beer and huge glasses of plum wine and sake--they pour until it overflows into the saucer because if it's overfilled it can't be underfilled!
Also in Tokyo, we had Ten Don--massive fried prawns on rice--at a tempura restaurant, seated with our shoes off on tatami mats. And in Hiroshima we enjoyed Okonomiyaki, a local creation consisting of a savoury pancake piled with layers of noodles, cabbage, bacon, cheese, green onions, fried egg, sticky sauce, and unknown secret powders. You sit around the edge of a giant grill and the food is cooked in front of you and served on the grill just by sliding it towards you. Amazing! Don't knock it 'til you try it.
It was all going well until last night when we accidentally ordered the house special: offal stew. It wasn't as awful (ha!) as I expected--Ruth disagrees--but my imagination wasn't happy with it and after working my way through about half I was keen to settle it with something more normal... like matcha-flavoured Kit Kat of course; it seems there are all sorts of odd varieties here to try.
I still need to get a good sushi fix and we're on a Ten Katsu mission tonight.

3 comments:

Julia Bellis said...

Yum. We have soft shell crab burgers at Kerb. Thank goodness otherwise the canteen would be a bit of a let down after reading that.

I also meant to say luckily you can get Japanese street food at Brixton market in case you need a fix when you get back.

Can't believe you're going to make me do a captcha to post this!

Stephen S. Percy said...

As it gets warmer and warmer, all we think about is something cold... One thing everyone seem to love is green tea ice cream! Just like California rolls, it was invented in the kitchen of a Japanese restaurant in the US, and imported back to Japan. the best ceramic cookware

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