Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Epicurean in Tokyo - Part I

Today I had a late lunch at Aburi, the charcoal grill restaurant in my hotel (the ANA, Tokyo). Entrees are usually served with a 'rice set' in Japan (see picture here); my entree today was the sea-food grill. Seafood in Tokyo are amongst the freshest I have ever eaten. And I have even begun to like Miso Soup and Rice, now that I know how to mix the sauces for just that right taste!

Roppangi TokyoIn the evening, a bunch of us went out to a Korean restaurant in Roppangi. Roppangi has some great restaurants and bars, but is more known for its night-life among foreigners and expats. African-American touts tried to get us into nightclubs, stripclubs, discos and bars that line the road.

Roppangi TokyoAnyway, coming back to the dining experience: dinner began with small portions of vegetables, noodles, and seafood served one after the other. We had ordered warm sake, which was served in small ceramic jugs and we drank out of even smaller ceramic mugs. It was good I had loaded up on sake, because now the dining experience began getting adventurous with a serving of yukhoe. Roppangi Tokyo

Yukhoe is raw minced beef topped with a raw egg yolk, mixed with seasoning and served on a bed of thin Korean pear strips! I couldn't chicken out now, could I? Not when I had proudly proclaimed my non-vegetarian credentials just 30 minutes back! Actually, this Korean delicacy tasted quite good. Yukhoe was followed by chilled cavier: pink, fine in texture, and perfectly seasoned, quite spicy but tasty (I had expected raw meat/fish to be smell stronger, but apparently very fresh meat has less smell than the fried variety).

Roppangi TokyoThen came heaps of prawns, squid, scallops, and strips of beef marinated in exotic spices. And now I realized what the strange rectangular plate set into the center of each dining table was. It was a personal gas-fired grill! And so, we cooked our meats at the table as we drank more sake. The barbeque was very tasty and we stuffed ourselves silly!

Roppangi TokyoWith all that sake, conversation had gotten progressively louder, and the jokes politically incorrect. We were, in short, having fun! Finally, dessert was served; I chose the green tea flavored ice-cream and followed it up with a strong coffee. The long walk back in the chilly night air through the lively streets of Roppongi topped off a perfect evening.

Roppangi Tokyo
Other posts from my trip to Japan: The Land of the Rising Sun, Kawaii, Epicurean in Tokyo - Part II, Living the Same Day Twice

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