Oh man, it feels so good to be back home! But lets cut to the chase, food, yes? We spent a total of five days in Tokyo and another seven in Bangkok. Weather? Nice and cool in Tokyo, ridiculously hot and painful in Bangkok. Like SUPER dripping sweat hot.
We arrived late on our first night in Tokyo and popped into a ramen shop a few doors down from our hotel. Here, my family and I encountered our first ever ramen ordering machine. Nifty looking, eh?
It’s simple enough: drop in your coins, press the selected button and out comes a ticket. Hand the ticket to the lady behind the counters and in less than five minutes, your gyoza and ramen are done. Now that is efficient!
It was brought to my attention a few years ago that I do in fact, eat all sorts of noodle soups in strange manner. You know how people rarely finish all the soup, and some need to order even more noodles? I’m the opposite. I usually finish everything, but on the occasions I do not, it’s only noodles that are left. I NEVER LEAVE SOUP. And this soup was deep, dark and salty, just the way I like it. I fear for my sodium levels, but not enough to leave any soup. The pork wasn’t near tender as Yotteko-Ya back home, but of better quality than what I would find at a random ramen shop in Honolulu.
The gyoza was loosely packed, but no complaints on the sweet, meaty flavors. However, I wish it were pan-fried just a bit more, I like the skin crispy…almost to the point of burnt, hehe. We were exhausted after our flight and a long ride from the airport to the city, that I almost didn’t care for dessert. Almost. Cause on the way back we found a bakery!
And in the bakery…
…I found canneles!!! I haven’t seen a single cannele in all of Hawaii, so my extreme excitement was well justified. The cannele was purchased without a single thought and trucked backed to the hotel along with a tomato garlic loaf for my dad.
Flavorwise, it was a not-so-hot-cannele, with an excessive use of run overpowering the taste of anything else. But texturewise, the innards were positively lovely moving from a soft to near pudding-like state as you bite your way into the center. The shell was too tough, and required more chew than a cannele ever should. Man, now that I think of it, maybe I should have just sliced it in half and spoon out the innards like cannele pudding!
I didn’t have any of the tomato and garlic studded bread, but all my dad said was, “man this is crunchy,” as he took it down in a few bites. Then we all went to sleep.
I’ve been updating a spreadsheet on pu’erh prices on release for the past few years in order to get an idea of tea being offered to western consumers and any possible trends. The well-known popular narrative is that fresh pu’erh prices have gone up and this certainly seems true in the data. Last year the prices looked about the same as the previous year. And when and how much the price has gone up depends on how we look at this and there’s a handful of different ways to look at the data and options available (I do three here).