Wednesday, September 12, 2018

3 bowls in Kyoto

Been a while since I posted anything.  Life happens.

Was in Kyoto for just over 24 hours, and it was a few days after the largest typhoon to make landfall in Japan in like 25 years.  It rained the entire time.  On this trip, I wanted to checkout some udon places.  It was too late in the day for Yamamoto Menzo that I heard about, but Okakita that is right next to it should still be open.  Walked in the rain for about half and hour to get there, got a little wet, and it was of course fucking closed early for the day.  On the way back to the hotel, stopped in this place near 紙園 called Mimikou.  The shop was empty when I got there, maybe not surprising as it is Sunday night and the weather is nasty.  Enjoyed a bowl of curry udon here, nice thick and chewing noodle, thick flavorful soup that is a bit sweet and a little spicy.  They have 4 different kinds of peppers you can add if you want it spicier.  A few groups of tourists trickled in during my visit, not surprising given its location (the restaurant has english and chinese menu).

The next day I was up early because of the time difference, so had breakfast at one of my favorite place to eat here, 本家 第ㄧ旭 (Honke Daiichiasahi).  Everything is the same as usual, the Tokusei Ramen did not disappoint, the scene is again pretty interesting at 5:30 am, old dude drinking large bottle of Asahi, couple of big truck driver dudes crushing ramen with a side of rice, plus a couple tables of young people that may have stayed up all night doing whatever (one girl fell on her ass on the way in).  I did something that I have not done here before, that is adding condiment about half way through.  This chili paste is quite thick, and took a bit of stirring to get it dissolve.  It wasn't very hot but added a nice kick.  

I didn't have to work until later that day so for lunch, I visited Fumiya near Nishiki market for another taste of udon.  This is described as Kyoto style nabe-yaki.  It was served in a ceramic pot like what I ate is Nagoya, but the stock was dashi instead of a chicken based soup.  The broth was a bit sweet for me but has a nice rounded flavor, especially after you break the egg into it.  The grilled rice cake has a nice chew and the piece of mushroom is super meaty.  You can tell right away that even though this was only 680 yen, the ingredients were top notch.  The only slight disappointment for me was that the noodle is on the softer side and I like my noodles a bit more chewy.

Wish the weather was better but enjoyed my visit to Kyoto once again nevertheless.  Being solo has it advantages, but perhaps next time I will share the experience with family and friends.

Friday, October 27, 2017

miso udon in nagoya

I was in Japan for a couple of days recently and had to make a train connection at the Nagoya station on my way to Gifu.  My Japanese colleague took us to this spot under the station that serves one of the local speciality, thick udon noodle in thick and hearty chicken miso broth.

Not much to say about the place itself, pretty typical of a nice Japanese train station eatery - clean, bright, wooden table and benches, courteous and efficient staff.  I didn't even look at what else was on the menu, just ordered the noodles, I got the seasonal selection with a couple different kinds of mushrooms.  The noodle soup was served in a very nice but clearly well used clay pot, on a round wooden tray.  It came to the table boiling hot and the pot helped to keep the broth stayed nice and hot until the end.  There was also a plate of raw, undressed, thinly sliced red onion and napa cabbage to give you some crunch and some contrast from the broth and noodles.  I thought about adding it to the broth at some point but my colleague and everyone else around us were eating that separately, either with some of the soy sauce on the table or just straight.

I saw some people using the lid as a serving bowl, but I just dig in directly from the pot.  The noodle was quite thick and chewy, it is probably the best udon noodle I have had in terms of texture.  As is common with noodle soups in Japan, the broth is a bit salty, but well balanced.  And in the case, it has a real fantastic depth of flavor, earthy and a little funky.  I had to eat really slowly because I was wearing a white shirt and the long and thick noodles were not easy to deal with if I wanted to avoid having broth on my shirt.  But that less than half of my usual noodle eating speed really helped my enjoy this bowl (or pot).

I hope something brings me back to Nagoya.  As good as this place was, there has to be other joints in town that serve this dish in other variations and incarnations that I would love to try.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Singapore Hawker Center Dilemma (SHCD)

Everyone who has been to Singapore knows that the various hawker centers throughout the city are the places to go for great meals without spending much.  Some centers have some well known stalls that attract long lines, especially the ones that have received one michelin star.  But really it is hard to get bad food in any of them.  Here comes the dilemma though, at least for me, it is really hard to get just one or two dishes as there are such a good variety of things to eat.  So you end up with a bunch of things and eating way too much.

For example, I went to the Chinatown food street (touristy and pricier then most hawker center, but very solid) after work on my first day during a recent trip and started with the oyster pancake.  Then I couldn't resist these chicken wings.  After the chicken wings I was pretty full, but then, I saw the Bak kut teh stall and thought a bowl of soup would be nice after that really long flight and a day of work.  I needed to walked it off but taking a stroll isn't exactly fun in 90 degree weather.

Maybe this wasn't so much of a dilemma and more of a mild regret (a very mild one since I enjoyed all of the food).  Maybe the dilemma is that after a great spicy / greasy / delicious meal washed down with a couple of tiger beers, are you ready to use public toilet?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

moon cake

It is the mid-autumn festival this week.  Traditionally people gift and eat moon cake, a flaky and lardy pastry usually filled with some sort of sweet paste and sometimes duck egg yolk.  The store bought ones is typically decorative and comes in nice boxes.  These things are almost always too sweet for me.

My grandma used to make a version filled with ground pork.  I don't know if anyone in my family actually knows how to make them now.  So even if I am home around this time of the year I probably wouldn't get to eat them.  For some unknown reason, I was compelled to make these myself this year.  I didn't search very long until I find this recipe.  It looks similar to my grandma's except maybe thicker.  The recipe was quite easy to follow because of the nice photos.

Like almost all things in life, you don't really appreciate them until they are gone.  These moon cakes were quite good, but it is not possible for them to be as good as the ones I remembered, even if they are.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Life matters

Of course black lives matter.

Nothing is more serious than anyone taking another person's life.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Get off the sidewalk asshole

To those fucking assholes that rides their bikes on the sidewalk, it is called side'walk', for pedestrians to walk on, not side'ride', not for assholes to ride their bicycles on.

I am really stupid

A few years ago when the economy of China was growing at a fast pace, I heard and read about how China will take over the US as the #1 economic power in the world etc, and how that could be bad news for us here.

Now that China has slowed down a bit, then we get stocks plunging here and people worried about their investment etc.

I get it that China is a big market and their growth and consumption will effect what we do here.  But I really don't understand how a fast growing China is not good, and a slow growing China is also bad?  So which is it that we want to see, does anyone know?  

Sunday, March 01, 2015

brutal winter

I know Toronto winter is supposedly mild compared to a lot of other places in Canada, but this past couple of months have been pretty epic.  It is my sixth winter here and it is the first time that I have seen ice that far out into the lake.