Friday, 29 April 2011

Grazing choices in Tokyo

A Groupon meal at Shibuya entailed acquiring a free coupon from the website which promised a 1500 yen rebate. Sounds good at the outset. You are drawn to gimmicky visuals of themed rooms like Alice in Wonderland, Ali Baba's cave for the experience of dining with a difference. Reservations are quickly confirmed for the only available dining time at five thirty or wait for the next weekend.

Without a glimmer of a chance of getting a themed room this time, it only got worse. Ushered into a cubicle reeking of smoke sent spasms to my bronchioles. Request for a smoke-free room landed us in a four-person cubicle, separated from the other couple by a pull-down screen. There were several restrictions to meal selection too inane to mention. Adding insult to injury the bill was presented minus the rebate offer. Surprising for Japan indeed. They pride themselves in honouring deals. For another horror Groupon story read this.

My favourite lunch place, Dexee Deli at Lumine 1 food court, serves up a quick low cal nutritious meal. On offer is a protein choice of fish, chicken-tofu or beef patty, and recently added green chicken curry, two vegetable choices and sekihan (red rice) with a drink for a value price of 900 yen!

Thai Khao San, located directly opposite, is popular for its unique hawker-styled seating arrangements ie stools around large round tables, suited for a shared dinning experience with total strangers.

Korea town, Shin Okubo, is teeming with Korean restaurants and supermarkets and Zainichi, Japanese-born Koreans living in Japan since before the war. Our favourite spot is a little establishment on the second floor specialising in Korean fried chicken with Yangnyom sweet hot sauce and sesame seeds. Another yummy fried chicken dish is the soy and garlic version. The secret to the crispy crunch is the double frying technique with only a dash of seasoning.

Obviously this meal negates all previous efforts at eating healthy . . . but what the heck. If you haven't tried yangnyom you haven't lived!

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