Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Travelogue: Spirited Away


Peter Green
 Share

Recommended Posts

Perhaps you can help me here - don't let the post count fool you, I'm very much an egullet newbie (I just have more time on my hands than most and the enthusiasm that comes from not having been able to do much cooking or food shopping for a year).

Someone else has been thinking about this, in another forum (Flyertalk) I learnt about the Miele Guide which is now accepting votes for its guide to Asian restaurants.  You need to give them the first 6 digits of your VISA card to qualify to do this.

More information here: http://www.mieleguide.com/

The guy who instigated this talks more about this scheme here: http://chubbyhubby.net/blog/?p=530

He had the same misgivings about the same list I had.

As this requires contributions from those familiar with Asian restaurants I'm not sure where the best place to put a thread inviting people to vote would be.  The more discerning people who do so (and who better than an egulleteer?  :smile: ) the more useful it will be  for everyone.  Asia is an Aladdin's cave for anyone who loves food - but it's vast, the caverns, numerous winding and intricate, the treasures magnificent and plentiful, beyond the wildest mercury fueled dreams of Qin Shi Huang Di.  Another English speaking guide would be welcome.  Michelin Tokyo doesn't seem to be a bad start though, they've been refining their entries for other cities, hopefully they'll do the same for this one - it has the potential to become an authoritative resource in perhaps 5-10 more editions (I doubt they nailed France on their first attempt)

I've been talking with others about the proposed Miele Guide offline. It's a reasonable premise, with a "prescreeening" of restaurants by food critics, before unleashing the hordes (I'll be in the horde). Miele, like Michelin, have good reasoning in promoting this sort of thing, perhaps even more so, as they've got an interest in putting forward restaurant culture so that (hopefully) more people will be putting their equipment in their kitchens.

The prescreen gets around the Asian Problem of much of a restaurant's following and reputation being a thing of almost allegiance, rather than critical review. I think this is where Zagat gets stuck at times. The whole business of voting is troublesome, as you often find in popular votes that people don't vote for what they think is best, but rather for what (or who) they think will win (and there's a whole argument there that I could twist off on with regards to popular democracy).

Let's face it, finding the places to eat anywhere can be a pain. Unless you're well connected with a network of eaters (which is where eGullet comes in mighty handy), it can be tough going finding the really good spots in your own home town, let alone when you're thousands of miles away, brain dead from jet lag, and with only 48 hours to get in eight meals.

Finally, I've a lot of respect for Aun Koh (Chubby Hubby). He's a good choice for this sort of thing, as you know he's never one to shirk work (heck, he goes out looking for more to do). If he's shouldered the load, it should come through.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm straying off topic, I know. Let me try and get back to Japan.

Of all the experiences on this trip, if I was to name one particular thing as the best item, it would be the time spent with the Kitagawas at their brewery in Fushimi. That smell in the air, with the richness of working yeast, is something that just woke me up.

Very good sake is something I'm going to miss. I'll have to put some effort into expanding my Japanese connections in Bangkok, and there's an artisinal sake concern in Vancouver that I'll look into when I get back.

But it's not going to be the same as that fresh pressed daiginshu that Mr. Kitagawa poured for me.

gallery_22892_5790_5207.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The prescreen gets around the Asian Problem of much of a restaurant's following and reputation being a thing of almost allegiance, rather than critical review.  I think this is where Zagat gets stuck at times.  The whole business of voting is troublesome, as you often find in popular votes that people don't vote for what they think is best, but rather for what (or who) they think will win (and there's a whole argument there that I could twist off on with regards to popular democracy).

I had high hopes, but actually looking at their list of nominees for Japan, there are some pretty surprising entries:

Arms

Canal Cafe

Dexee Diner (Shibuya)

Frames (Daikanyama)

Homework's (Minato)

Junkadelic

Jyu (Shibuya)

Pizzeria Bar D'Oro

The Tavern (Yokohama)

What the Dickens

Zest Cantina

Burger joints, British-style pubs, designer cafes. None of them bad, but still odd choices for "best restaurant in Asia."

(Sorry to return to the tangent.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The prescreen gets around the Asian Problem of much of a restaurant's following and reputation being a thing of almost allegiance, rather than critical review.  I think this is where Zagat gets stuck at times.  The whole business of voting is troublesome, as you often find in popular votes that people don't vote for what they think is best, but rather for what (or who) they think will win (and there's a whole argument there that I could twist off on with regards to popular democracy).

I had high hopes, but actually looking at their list of nominees for Japan, there are some pretty surprising entries:

Arms

Canal Cafe

Dexee Diner (Shibuya)

Frames (Daikanyama)

Homework's (Minato)

Junkadelic

Jyu (Shibuya)

Pizzeria Bar D'Oro

The Tavern (Yokohama)

What the Dickens

Zest Cantina

Burger joints, British-style pubs, designer cafes. None of them bad, but still odd choices for "best restaurant in Asia."

(Sorry to return to the tangent.)

I was looking through the list, and it does have an odd collection. But then again, I see a number of fairly good choices in the lists (Ryugin is there, Iggy's in Singapore, etc).

It'll be an interesting book when it's done. I'll withhold judgement until I see what's in the pages.

In the meantime, I may sneak in another eating trip before the WGF in September. That'll give me a chance to try some things out.

:smile:

Edited to say: we should probably open a new topic for this, outside of this travelogue.

Edited by Peter Green (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"the Tavern"? "What the Dickens"? eeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhh?

Are they counting atmosphere more heavily than food? I love "What the Dickens" but I go for the live music and the Hitachino Nest Beer on tap, not the food.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

There, I've finished the last of Hong Kong, ending on Cathay's seared tuna to bring things close to a closed circle from the beginning.

It's been good to be back home, with all my toys at hand.

gallery_22892_5999_12933.jpg

I've put my ying yang hotpot from Kappabashi dori to use already, but I'm thinking, "this would be really cool with an MI unit on the table top".

gallery_22892_5999_19283.jpg

And I'm in love with my knives. The Aritsugas I bought aren't their most expensive models, by any means, but I've read too many times about people buying the sashimi knives and then never using them. I'm using my nakiri daily for vegetables, and getting good use from the santoku. (And I haven't lost a finger yet)

gallery_22892_5999_16401.jpg

I just have standing instructions that I'm the only one to clean them. I have nightmares about coming home and finding them chipped, or in the dishwasher, or helpfully sharpened (some of my knives have really odd shapes now - you just can't get good help).

But now I can relax, and just sit back for awhile. Just rest and let the world come to me, instead.

But I am getting a hankering for good Thai food.........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice knives Peter, i too bought some knives from Tsuikiji - Nenohi & Masamoto parers. Like i need any more! But how can you resist?

I bought some steel moribashi from Kappabashi too. But that was the only thing i bought in Kappabashi. I intended to stuff my suitcase full of those plastic food models but they're actually quite expensive. Did you find that too Peter? I thought they'd be cheap but was surprised by some of the prices, especially on the really life-like ones. I remember picking up a miniature matchbox size sushi set priced at 1500Yen but as i took it to the till i realised the price was in fact 15000Yen!!! The cashier could literally hear my gasp as i gingerly replaced it and slid out the door.

Edited by Prawncrackers (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What'cha cookin' in that pot?

Ah, that would be my attempt at a Sichuan hotpot. I'd brought back some fresh lotus root, that I can't get here, and I turned cooking that into an excuse to do a whole bunch of stuff.

But that's hardly on topic.

:biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice knives Peter, i too bought some knives from Tsuikiji - Nenohi & Masamoto parers.  Like i need any more!  But how can you resist?

Resist? I suppose you just have to steel yourself. :smile: (I couldn't help using that one)

I bought some steel moribashi from Kappabashi too.  But that was the only thing i bought in Kappabashi.  I intended to stuff my suitcase full of those plastic food models but they're actually quite expensive.  Did you find that too Peter?  I thought they'd be cheap but was surprised by some of the prices, especially on the really life-like ones.  I remember picking up a miniature matchbox size sushi set priced at 1500Yen but as i took it to the till i realised the price was in fact 15000Yen!!!  The cashier could literally hear my gasp as i gingerly replaced it and slid out the door.

I also found the price, when I inquired to be beyond the "cheap like borscht" stage, enough that I didn't act as spontaneously as I might.

Plus, while I would dearly love to own the world's largest plastic plate of kare rice, it wasn't immediately obvious to me just what I would do with it in a household that's already in a state where it's not going to be profiled in any upcoming issues of Spartan Living.

And then Scud sealed it by making some statement regarding Yoonhi's potential displeasure, and the consequences.

I think he might've used the term "gut you like a fish".

:blink:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...