Bowls of glory

I’ve been trying to find some new noodle bowls when I’m in Japan, I really like the style of crockery that I’ve seen in many of the restaurants. Yet nice bowl, the kind that will make decorative and practical usable souvenirs from my trip seem hard to find, I have considered lifting one or two, but really don’t want them that badly, also I’m not the guy that would do that. So I will continue going from shop to shop looking for some affordable useful everyday items to ship home, so when I finally get home and want to make ramen or a rice bowl, I’ll have the bowls as lovely reminders of some of the delicious food I’ve eaten in Japan.

P1100495Osaka has less sights than any of the locations I’ve been to in Japan, giving me free time to sit and enjoy a meal, rather than to grab something out and about as I can. I’m glad for the change of pace, as much as I love onigiri, nikuman and other convenience foods it’s nice for a break. The following dishes are some of these meals, quite casual affairs in local areas.

P1100573The shrimp dipping noodles, came with instructions, although confusing, the English translation, I’m glad it was offered, suggests eating each item in its entirety before staring the next item. I think the basic premise is clear, dip the cold items into the hot bisque like soup to coat your food in a wonderful shellfish sauce, although I shall ignore the advice to eat each item entirely, I think a scattergun approach would be better. I think my method P1100574worked well it certainly was very tasty. Collectively we also ate some salt ramen from the same place, it was good, with a strong kombu flavour and some lovely noodles. I am glad we waited before eating here, the place was jam packed with locals when we first tried and was worth coming back for. I do wonder about the purpose of the vending machine ramen concept in a store that has very limited seats and employs a waitress, it really limits the upselling opportunities.

I enjoyed the meals from the old school restaurant just a few doors away from our Airbnb, it was so retro, but not styled retro, this place was original. It looked like it had been there for an age, with all of a dozen seats I’m glad I had seen it packed previously or else I may have reconsidered going in there. Between the cook and ourselves we shared a dozen words, many of them not pertinent to the task of ordering food, so we had to order go with him to the street side display of sanpuru, plastic food samples, at the front door.
I can honestly only speculate what we ate, I think one dish was a teriyaki chicken and egg don, don being a dish served on rice, and a Tonkatsu and egg set. The set being served with miso soup, rice some tempura vegetable and a few pickles. It was cool, the food was very tasty and very simple it’s every day food that people eat, not fancy or dressed up, oh yes, the meal was painfully cheap too.

Not quite as cheap as this meal though, I had seen this chain of diners in a few places and had earmarked them as a place to try on one of the days when you just don’t give a shit. The day when it’s all a bit hard to decide and it’s not going to be ruined by the fact that a lacklustre meal may happen. I’m kinda glad that places like this exist, cheap and functional but pretty bare bones on amenities and niceties, and in this case really tasty, surprisingly tasty.
20170420_151051The ginger pork bowl with grated yam looks pretty plain, the yam thankfully came on the side, as it had all the culinary charm and appeal as a glass of bull semen. The ginger pork however was flavoursome and tasty, the shredded pork had clearly been poaching in a light soy broth with onions and mirin for ages. With a little salt and some Japanese pepper it was delicious.
The gyudon with bonito flakes and okra is a strange phenomenon where the 20170420_151136menu is selectively translated, gyudon being beef rice bowl yet nowhere on the menu is this explained. The shredded beef was clearly cooked the same way as the pork, just without the ginger added, the bonito added a flavour interest, but the raw okra just added slime. I chose to add some of the table top pickled ginger and some sesame oil when I ate to make it more suitable to my taste preference.