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

Saturday, 28 August 2010

A few of our favourite food (places) in Tokyo

With only a few weeks left in Tokyo, our weekends are packed with meeting up with our friends in Tokyo, as well as preparing for the big move. We are also taking the opportunity to re-visit our favourite eats in Tokyo for one final time, and I just realised that none of the food covered in this post belongs to the Japanese cuisine. We will definitely try to find time for some sushi and okonomiyaki in the following weeks, and perhaps they can be another blog post.

Vietnamese @ Vietnam Frog

Sadly, we had our final Japanese lesson a few weeks ago. As a farewell thing, our Japanese teacher (of almost 3 years) suggested lunch at Vietnam Frog in Shiodome City. This is one of Maeno-san's favourite restaurants, and she goes there so often that the staff and chef know her by face and name. I've eaten there once before about a year ago with a friend, and I'd been meaning to go back for a second visit since. Rob ordered the Saigon Lunch which included an entrée, a special pho, and dessert with coffee. The entrée was beautifully presented, and contained several small portions of Vietnamese-style vegetables, meat, noodles and rice paper spring roll. The food were nice and refreshing, perfect for summer. The special pho turned out to be shark's fin, which sparked a conversation about the ethics of eating this delicacy.

The entrée dish of the Saigon Lunch set, and the shark's fin pho:

Almond jelly for dessert, and Vietnamese-style coffee (black coffee with a layer of condensed milk at the bottom of the glass, to be stirred before consuming):

I was keen to try Maeno-san's favourite dish: 空心菜セット (Kuushinsai Set). She explained that kuushinsai is her favourite green vegetable known as "morning glory", and it grabbed my attention because I remembered reading somewhere that it's another name for kangkung (aka water spinach), one of my favourite vegetables. This leafy veg is widely used in Southeast Asia, but it's not easy to get it in Japan, and when it is available here, it's very expensive. This set includes a choice of chicken or clam pho, well as a generous plate of the glorious leafy greens. The chicken noodles was satisfying and I enjoyed the whole plate of water spinach.

Pho and veg set:

We also got Bánh Xèo to share, which I've already written about before. It was deliciously crispy but not overly greasy.

Funny angled shot of the bánh xèo and the leafies that came with it:

Indian @ Nawab

Met up with my friends K and C for lunch at Nawab, which has been our favourite 'neighbourhood' Indian restaurant for the past 3 years (we moved some a few kilometers away from that location a couple of years ago, so it isn't really in the neighbourhood anymore!). Now, I've written about this restaurant many times before, and we've ordered these dishes just as many times before, so I'm just going to show a couple of collages of the dishes we had. Everything was good, as always, and I was pleasantly surprised to see long-grained rice in the biryani (the short-grained Japanese rice were used in all our previous experiences at Nawab, which made it uniquely different but still delicious).

Clockwise from top left: Seafood Salad, Mango Lassi (we failed several times getting Zak to take a sip of the lassi - he dislikes chilled food), Chicken Biryani (with long-grained rice!), and Garlic Naan and Mughlai Naan (raisins and cashews). Click for larger image:

Clockwise from top left: Chicken Tikka, Lamb Spinach (= saag mutton), Kulfi, and Chana Masala (click for larger image):

Korean @ Kanton no Omoide

Last weekend we headed into Korea-town for a fix of Korean food at Kanton no Omoide. I'll keep this fairly brief because we have been to this same place a few times before. The four dishes we ordered would actually be considered as side dishes by the Koreans, but they filled up four adult bellies quite nicely for lunch.

The banchan (complimentary small dishes); and our order: Chapchae, Seafood Chijimi, Ddeokbokki with chicken eggs and quail eggs, and Kaki Chijimi (oyster pancake):

As is our tradition whenever we're in K-town, we stopped by this vendor for some hot-off-the-grill Honey-flavoured Hoddeok. For obvious reasons, this is not very popular during the midday heat in the middle of summer, but it was delicious. This time, the honey filling was accompanied very well with cinnamon.

The food will be one of the many things we will miss about Japan when we leave, but I have a feeling we will probably enjoy the dining scene in Hong Kong even more!

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