Review: Szechuan Aun, Yushima – Tantanmen

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“It’s like hanging out with a junkie. You’re already planning your next hit.”

My friend was surveying me with disbelief. I wasn’t paying him much attention though because I was bouncing on and off the pavement, and doing mini star jumps.

The cause of my happiness? Some really good noodles. What else?

As a matter of fact, I had eaten at Aun more than a year ago and had been itching to go back ever since. The anticipation – combined with the fact that I generally adore tantanmen – had elevated my mood to levels probably beyond that of normal human beings. I was also deliriously babbling about trying to go back the next day to eat more. Hence the druggie comparisons. I needed my next hit. Continue reading

Review: Sanpotei Tokyo Lab, Nakameguro

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Sanpotei Tokyo Lab / 三宝亭東京ラボ

Japanese food has boomed in the West over the past few years. Not just ramen, but all kinds of stylish “Japanese” places are popping up, with polished wooden surfaces and all fanfare of fusion dishes.

Although I’m all for experimentation, I’m naturally a little sceptical  when self-professed Japanese food lovers claim that going to one of these trendy joints is evidence!

“Places like this don’t actually exist in Japan,” I say, trying my hardest to tiptoe round being overtly sanctimonious. “And, no, Hirata buns, are a Western take on Taiwanese street food, and no, they have nothing to do with Japan.”

But having visited Sanpotei Tokyo Lab, I can now offer up a different response. There is at least one trendy place doing experimental food in Japan. And, naturally, it does it better! Continue reading

Review: Tokyo Mabo Shokudo, Akasaka / 東京麻婆食堂、赤坂

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We were on our way to get a sandwich from a sandwich shop.

Now, before you leap to any hasty conclusions, I should say that sandwich shops are fairly rare in Japan. Unless you head to the convenience store and pick up some dubious plastic-wrapped item, you are more likely to be heading to the noodle shop. Or the bento store. Rice. Noodles. Those are your carbs.

So heading to the sandwich shop could definitely be considered “doing something a bit different” for lunch.

I must confess that I wasn’t 100% into the idea, but the sandwich store had very positive reviews and my colleague seemed very keen as she navigated us there.

Then we crossed a street and she smelt the mabo dofu. Continue reading

Review: Uzumaki Bekkan/うずまき別館

20160107_122912Yesterday, I went to film sumo wrestlers stomping in the new year at a shrine in Tokyo.  Which was a fantastic experience.

Every year, the top-ranked sumo wrestlers go to Meiji Shrine where they perform Dezuiri – a ring entering ceremony, which involves some impressive foot-stomping and feet shuffling.  Continue reading