In spite of being busy with these last few days in Tokyo and having little time to sit down for a proper meal I had no concerns about what I was going to eat. Tokyo was never going to disappoint me with the food selection available from grab and go counters and casual eateries, if anything I’ll have too much choice.
Collecting the reservation space for the Michelin starred ramen venue had taken about 5 minutes, leaving me with an early start to the day.
It being just after 7am and with several hours to kill a quick simple breakfast from a simple venue seemed like a great start to the day. The vending machine where I placed my order and collected my token didn’t vex me like they once had, I found this to be a simple pleasure for me early in the morning.
A simple Japanese breakfast for me, is exactly what I received, a perfectly cooked grilled mackerel, butterflied open and still bubbling, served with rice, miso soup, some finely grated radish and a wedge of ice cold tofu.
For my partner that meant some crispy fried chicken, also with rice, miso soup, a wasabi soy mix and a ponzu dip. She didn’t want fish for breakfast and thought the fried chicken would be better, I disagreed, but certainly enjoyed the piece I stole.
As I savoured my meal, including my stolen morsel of fried chicken, I thought about these little everyday memories, hoping that the enjoyment of figuring things out and the satisfaction of a good trip remain with me for a while.
This casual meal was not the way I wanted to eat while shopping in the Asakusa, no, here food on the go was my preferred option.
With so many shops and a significant number of takeaway and street side dining venues, casual grazing seems like a great option.
A pork nikuman, that was somehow a hotter temperature than I considered possible, was pretty good, with not too much cabbage or bamboo inside. I had wished for some chilli sauce, but the vendor didn’t have any clearly available and I have no idea how to ask for it.
The panko coated and fried nori, pork, cheese and ham roulade was golden and crispy in spite of it only being slightly warm. It was still pretty tasty, and the cheese was still molten, I really liked the nori flavour that lurked in the aftertaste.
While these savoury options were good tasty bites, neither satisfied quite as well as the sweet items available in the area.
The first of these sweet snacks was a rather delicious looking shell cup of matcha ice cream and red bean paste, I’m not the greatest fan of matcha items, yet I love red bean, this was a great balance of both, with the gooey red bean offsetting the grass like flavour of the matcha.
The clear winner for the best snack from Asakusa on this day had to be the custard bun, it was awesome! Although the cream filling was per functionary the case it was delivered in was an inspired hybrid, an amalgamation of a choux pastry puff and puff pastry palmier.
Baked together and filled with custard lead to an item much more interesting and enjoyable than the sum of its parts.
My final udon noodle experience in Japan caused me some confusion. How had I been in the country for so long, having chowed plenty of udon and not come across a dry udon noodle dish?!
To say that I relished my pork noodle bowl would be an understatement, it was awesome! The warm udon noodles swimming in a scant pool of punchy pork syrup, topped with a long list of tasty things, poached pork, spring onion, crispy batter pieces, sliced nori, bamboo, a poached egg and bonito shavings.
Really there is no wonder why I enjoyed this bowl of deliciousness so much, it was a bowl filled with many of my favourite things.
I assume the crispy batter pieces where simply the spent batter left from the fried items the udon stall also sold, I grabbed a few pieces, a piece of crumbed chicken and some surimi, although both were entirely unnecessary food volume wise, I found them impossible to resist.
While I was chomping my way through my pork noodle bowl, my partner ate her perfectly tasty udon noodles, swimming in a dashi and kombu broth with a piece of fried and poached sweet tofu sprinkled with spring onion. To be fair it was a very good example of this plain yet taste laden meal, but couldn’t compare to the noodles that had me dancing in my chair.