(Tokyo. Day 3. Part 2.)
Shrimp-mayo again. Happy, little fried-nuggets of shrimpy-goodness; these were way smaller than the ones from the first night, but just as amazing nonetheless – the bed of greens and sprinkles of green onion were a good compliment. The duck (with the fat) skewered with wasabi was a good laugh. A good laugh in the sense that every person who took a bite (after about 3-5 seconds) was immediately invaded upward-nasal-style with a kick of some serious wasabi-ness. This is what I imagine Steve-o’ lines of wasabi felt like; every single person at the table had the same “Holy shit!- but I’m trying to maintain composure, red-as-a-beat face on.” Terrific.
Salted grilled beef, then karage (Japanese fried chicken) – which, is one of my favorites in Japan. The crunch and crisp on the outside was salty and hard; the inside was super juicy – having all spectrums of chicken meat inside.
Several dishes before the karage and beef, we were all already full – Shochu-rocks and Kirin Heartland still flowing – then. more… food… Corey was half passed out against the wall (not from booze – but food); then there’s me wishing I were wearing a sweatsuit thanks to the ever-shrinking-waistband, choking my insides.
A salad of what I think were some mix of (by this point difficult to distinguish) Japanese greens with oysters and sliced nori; then tuna tartare with sesame seeds, green onion, avocado, and Japanese cucumber that were terrific (our food comrades mixed the whole thing up into a delightful mush). I think this grilled fish we had next with daikon and lemon was Hokke? I definitely inquired – but running on minimal sleep and Japanese booze made the Swedish-sounding fish name… sound fuzzy to memory.
The finale! I’ve had almost everything I think possible in Japan as far as styles of food go; with the exception of Soba. I’ve had homemade soba at home, andyaki-soba in Japan and home – but never soba in Japan.
Soba is served cold, with a very specific soba-dipping-sauce in a cup next to you. There are greens (green onions and other bits) and wasabi to mix into the cup. To eat traditionally, you pull out a small batch of noodles; dip and mix into the cup; then slurp (very loudly) to consume. The soba had everyone around the table delirious in over-stuffed, but still-eating delightful madness. It was so intensely good and simple.
We hung a bit more, said our goodbyes to our friends and hosts – and hit the sack.