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

Friday, 19 June 2009

Revisits: Lao Hu Dong Yi Ju and Cold Stone, Tokyo

It was Rob's birthday last week, and I like taking him to nice restaurants to celebrate. Last year we ate excellent food at La Rochelle, two years ago we enjoyed our first fine dining experience in Tokyo and unforgettable Japanese-French fusion cuisine at Restaurant Yonemura, and my very first blog entry in this journal was about the exciting teppanyaki meal we had for Rob's birthday way back in 2005. So anyway, I wanted to take Rob to a nice fine dining restaurant (I was thinking kaiseki), but unfortunately, unlike in NYC, such restaurants in Tokyo won't allow young children. So that plan went down the hole, and I asked Rob to choose a place we have been to before that we've liked and are happy to accommodate babies. He chose Beijing restaurant Lao Hu Dong Yi Ju in Roppongi Hills, which we have been to twice before. This time we didn't order their delicious signature dish, the Beijing-style Sweet and Sour Pork, and instead chose to try out other dishes.

To start with, we ordered Nira Manjyuu (prawn and garlic chives dumpling, 500yen for two). This was really good! It was pan-fried which meant it had more flavour than if it was steamed, yet not overly greasy like deep-fried ones. The prawn and chives were a great combination, and I found that it was delicious to eat as it was without any sauce.

Prawn and garlic chives dumpling:

We each chose a dish, and Rob selected the Deep-fried Prawns in Spicy Sauce (1980yen) which was also yummy but I let Rob have most of it since I am not big on deep-fried stuff. The prawns were fresh and juicy with flavour, and there were deep-fried squid too! The squid pieces were tender - I would love to know how do they get it that tender? My dish was the Seafood with Vegetables and Rice in Claypot (1480yen). The rice had soaked up all the gravy/soup and had a wonderful mochi-like texture because short-grain Japanese rice was used. I liked that the dish was mildly flavoured which allowed the subtle seafood flavours to shine through. The seafood were nicely cooked, not overdone at all.

The deep-fried prawns and the claypot rice:

Once again, Lao Hu didn't disappoint us, but their dessert selection is quite limited, so there was no doubt from the start that we would be heading elsewhere for sweets. Since it was Rob's birthday celebrations, he got to choose where to go for dessert. And where else but to Cold Stone? We shared a German Schokolatekake (chocolate ice cream, pecans, coconut, brownie, and fudge instead of caramel). Yummy! Too bad Zak is still too young for ice cream.

Delicious eice cream from Coldstone Creamery:

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