Jan 29, 2009

Thur: I miss Japanese food

I realized today that I have yet to post anything involving food. I'm not really sure what that's about. I'm not a food nut, or aficionado or anything, but still it's a huge part of everyone's life. What other activities have you done roughly 3 times a day your entire life? So to remedy the situation, and because the other day I had a "Hawaiian Roll" (California roll with yellow-fin tuna on top) that left me feeling less than excited to take on the rest of the day, I figured it was time to reminisce about the wonders of the Japanese culinary world.

Some Japanese food is magic. True story.

I'm not really someone who would be described as an "adventurous eater", but then again not everyone can be Andrew Zimmern. I spent a few months in Japan over the summer though and was definitely forced out my box of meat, potatoes and spanish rice. It's considered hugely improper to take food and not eat it over there, so whatever you grabbed going through the cafeteria was going to go inside of you. Because it all looked so foreign, or at times deceptively familiar (such as Eel disguised as BBQ pork) you end up trying some things that you would normally dismiss. Well that, and most of it smells so good; you don't really care what it is.

Let's start with breakfast, because I enjoy proper chronology. Breakfast in Japan is typically Miso soup (a cabbage and turnip kind of thing), Nato (fermented beans) and rice. They also have this thing called the "1000 fold omelete" that pops up every so often. I'm not really a breakfast person so to be honest I don't really miss most of this stuff. Except the rice. I cannot describe to you in words the difference of white rice in America and white rice in Japan. They take it seriously over there, everyone owns at least one rice cooker and it's safe to say they know how to use it. They take it as seriously as Americans take their coffee making. So my typical breakfast would've been a nest egg, rice, and some Charlie Brown cereal. Nothing real special, and the cereal just reminded me of home, so it’s disqualified from being missed.

The best lunches always involved a small restaurant near the place where I was staying called Bochan’s. It was the essence of a mom and pop restaurant. One couple operates the place every day, he works the grill, she chops the vegetables and works the register. They were so hospitable too, it was like eating lunch in their house. She would make small talk with all the regular customers (at least I think it was small talk, they only spoke Japanese) and he would cook amazing food. There wasn’t ever anything eaten at that restaurant that wasn’t amazing. Some of the highlights were yakiniku, which was grilled meat in a special BBQ kind of sauce, torii karage which was some juicy chicken nuggets, and katsu curry which was a pork cutlet in curry sauce (I believe these names are right, it’s been a couple a months). Also the helping sizes were ridiculous. Generally throughout Japan everything is smaller, smaller cups of water, smaller loafs of bread. But not at Bochan’s. They believe in Texas portions over there. If you have lunch at Bochan’s you’re not having dinner. It’s game over.

Assuming you didn’t have lunch at Bochan’s however they was a lot of cool things for dinner. First there was the Sushi on the merry-go-round. It a conveyor belt that just brings sushi past everyone’s table and you just grab it if it looks good. Or you can order a specific dish and they send it out to you on a little train. I wasn’t really sushi person before I went, but after giving it a shot over there it’s now one of my favorites. There’s also ramen, soba, and udon, which are different kinds of noodles that they put in soup. The udon noodles in particular are huge; it’s like slurping shoelaces off a pair of Van’s, size-wise anyway.

This was just a quick list of some of the foods that I can remember off hand. Mostly I remember because of the people I was eating those foods with. I mean I live near a place that serves great udon, and another place that has halfway decent sushi, but I’m starting to realize now that meals are only 45% food, and 55% the people you eat with. So yea, I miss Japanese meals.


  1. there is a pretty good japanese restaurant on Elliot...their miso soup is legit!

  2. ME.


    Oh my gosh.

    And to add to Alicia's comment, there's a fantastic Japanese restaurant at Southern and Dobson called Tohzan. Highly recommended by me!