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By Steven Li on 2007-06-21

June 21, 2007


We’re about to part ways with Tokyo and leave for Bangkok, but before we do so, care to heard what else we’ve eaten? ;)

We left for Narita early in the morning, but late enough so that the bento shops were well stocked! I picked up this bento you see here, I admit, due to aesthetics alone – so colorful! But the junky part is that I didn’t eat it. It was stored in my mom’s carryon and my sister got to it before me, claiming that she didn’t know it was mine. That’s what they all say. But I suppose it all worked out for the best cause I found…

…takoyaki at the airport! And not just the normal kind takoyaki but squid ink takoyaki! After being somewhat puzzled with the squid ink soft serve near Tsukiji, I wasn’t sure if I wanted squid ink takoyaki. So I compromised and ordered half squid ink, and half normal.

The takoyaki guy was so nice that he added in two extra pieces, saying “you are fun to talk too.” Hehe. He was fun to talk to also. But the takoyaki was not so fun.

I like takoyaki innards to be more solidified, and I guess what some would consider overcooked. But I do not like squishy innards when it comes to these little orbs. The squid ink innards were slightly bitter and nearly spewed black goo when I bit it in half. The ‘normal’ takoyaki was better, but still, I couldn’t get over the super wet, near liquidy innards. I went to McDonalds afterwards to get a chocolate milkshake just to clear my mouth of the lingering taste. I know. I cannot help it. I just really, really needed a milkshake.

My mom had been eyeing this musubi place near our hotel since the first day we arrived. And although we never found the chance to stop by for a light meal (too many good options here!), she made sure she got her fill by purchasing five different musubis for the plane ride.

Here’s what the picture of the musubi looked like.

And here’s the real thing.

I ate the salmon and ikura musubi for breakfast. Salmon musubis are common in Hawaii, but I’ve yet to see the salmon and ikura combo. It was so delicious, biting into salmon and a generous quantity of cool ikura popping in your mouth, nestled within the warm shield of rice and nori. I’ll definitely be making my own version of this for breakfast when I get back home!

The day before we had a late lunch of ramen and gyoza near Harajuku.

Te gyoza skin was on the strangely chewy side, but the innards were well packed and very moist. Everything I have ramen, I feel the need to get gyoza, it’s like the both go hand in hand and I can’t have one without having another. And even if I had gyoza and rice, I feel the need to have at least a small bowl of ramen on the side. Am I the only one with this habit?

I wasn’t expecting too much from the ramen after a bit of the gyoza, but then the waiter laid out this bowl, and oh man, it was the best bowl of ramen I’ve had in a super long time. It was the broth that did it for me, it was thick, almost curry like rich in sesame seeds, both ground up and tangled with the noodles. It reminded me of a cross between satay and curry with the addition of minced raw garlic and plenty of spice for heat. The broth, so thick, I don’t know if you could properly call it ‘broth’, would have been awesome poured over a bowl of hot rice!

For dinner that evening, we had barbeque near the Hanzomon station. We were wandering around the area around dinner time, and this intense smoky smell of grilling meats was positively intoxicating. So we wandered up the stairs and straight into the restaurant.

We had a great waitress who, though Japanese, just happened to be fluent in Mandarin and saved us a great deal of work in trying to decipher the menu. The plan for the evening was…

…spicy tofu chiage

…a variety of meats to grill. The one you see here is beef tongue,


…and you’re going to hate me for this, but I can’t remember which is what, but I know that we had a mix of beef, pork and chicken.

But I can tell you this: all were fatty in the most wonderful way. None of this lean meat business we’re so used to in America. The fat sizzled like crazy on the grill, leaving each cut of meat with a near crackly crisp shell and moist, savory innards that practically needed no chew, and each bite so purely decadent. I’m not usually such a meathead, and would usually pick fish over beef, but this was crazy stuff! I like the compromise made here: eat more fatty and rich meats, but eat less quantity-wise.

and an order of ground raw beef with a raw egg, daikon, and cucumbers. Just crack the yolk, mix and eat with the daikon and cucumber. My mom wrapped hers in nori, but I wasn’t sure what was the proper way to eat it, so I just put a little of everything in my mouth at once. It’s not a dish I would crave again, I never get hankerings for raw eggs or beef, unless it’s the Vietnamese nem, but that’s more or less cooked. Even though it’s raw. But not really. Am I confusing you? Go have nemfor yourself and you’ll see what I mean :)

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