We caught up with our friend Carol Lawson today in Nagoya. Carol has been coming to live and work in Japan for 30 years now, so knows a thing or two about the place. One of the things she asked us today was, "Have you had any bad food yet?" She reckons in 30 years the answer for her is pretty much never.
Maria and I have been fortunate to have travelled to some amazing food destinations including Portugal, France, Greece, Turkey and Morocco in the last couple of years. In each of those places we had some incredible food experiences, but we also had some duds, maybe in part because sometimes we got lazy and ate in tourist areas. But, our answer to Carol's question is a resounding 'no'. The Japanese just do fresh, tasty and tasteful food really really well, even if you don't know exactly what you're eating.
This roast pork noodle soup with kimchi (spicy stuff), accompanied by gyoza (Japanese dumplings) was so good, we went back to this little eating house in Suidobashi (Tokyo) to have a second go.
Maria was delighted with her first bento box which we grabbed before jumping onto the Shinkansen (bullet train) yesterday.
Gifu (where we are now) is off the tourist track, so not a word of English to be found on the menus of the izakaya (Japanese 'tapas') bars, so we found a place we liked the look of, which had a table outside, and I managed to ask the attendant what her favourite dishes on the menu were, and suggested she just load us up with them. Wonderful stuff and great people watching in this little backstreet near where I used to live, which has now become a trendy little strip with hip young Japanese all over it. We blended right in .... NOT.