The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Chinese Claypot @ Tian Yi Bao, Tokyo

On Sunday after church, we headed to Roppongi Hills for lunch. It was past 2pm when we arrived, and my parents were starving, so we didn't take very long to decide where to eat. Tian Yi Bao is a Chinese restaurant that specialises in claypot dishes, and you can order claypot rice, noodles and dishes, as well as non-claypot dishes. After placing our order in clumsy Japanese, we discovered that our waitress could speak Mandarin Chinese, and that my dad could have easily made our lives easier by ordering in Mandarin instead. I'm quite certain that the cooks in the kitchen were Chinese too because I heard snippets of Mandarin being spoken, which was an assurance that the food is at least authentically prepared.

To start with, we got a plate of Yaki Gyoza (fried "potstickers", the Japanese version of Jiaozi) [480yen]. Although the gyoza were meant to be appetisers, they came after the Ebi Chilli Sauce (prawns in chilli sauce) [1380yen]. In fact, the prawns was served before the bowls of rice, but we only had to wait a little while before the rice came and we could begin our meal. It's funny how the strange order of dishes served appears to be universal in Chinese restaurants anywhere - Australia, US and Japan! The gyozas were tasty with pork filling, and my mum especially enjoyed them. The chilli prawns were swimming in a gluggy almost-fluoro sauce which had the texture and taste like the sweet and sour sauce that one can get at Chinese restaurants and foodcourt stalls that cater mainly to non-Chinese clientele. It wasn't very spicy at all, but the prawns were fresh, and I actually didn't mind the sauce!

Gyoza and Ebi Chilli:

We also ordered Seafood Claypot with Harusame (glass noodles) [1790yen for medium size (there's a choice between small and medium serving)] and Szechuan Mapo-tofu [1380yen for medium serving]. The mapo-tofu was actually my dad's request, but he didn't realise that it came with mince pork. He'd have much rather a dish with larger pork pieces. The seafood claypot was delicious, although a tad bit salty, and the mapo-tofu was actually the least oilest we've had in Japan! I enjoyed both claypot dishes, with a preference for the seafood one.

Seafood Harusame Claypot and Szechuan Mapo-tofu Claypot:

All four (and a half) of us were pretty full, and the bill came to under 5500yen - pretty affordable for a restaurant in Roppongi Hills!

(By the way, photos in the last 3 journal entries were taken using my dad's more compact camera, which I have been carrying around in favour of its portability.)

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