The Curious Donut

I first encountered the decadent Spanish dish paella at the Renaissance fair. The infusion of seafood and meat complimented with Saffron rice livened up the dreary day. However, there was an unexpected visitor in my paella, an octopus. The tentacles stood out. I pushed it to the side of my paella, frightened to take a bite.

Years later, I was at a grocery store in small town Japan with my buddies Bryan and Yuki. They had samples of octopus along the seafood aisle. Bryan convinced me to try the exotic delicacy. To my surprise, the octopus tasted delicious. It was slightly rubbery, but the consistency worked. From then on, I grew to love calamari, a cousin to the octopus.

When I returned to Japan, I wandered the streets of Tokyo with curious buds. I was more open than ever to trying new foods. Tokyo’s food scene is all about perfection. The tastes mesh well and the food’s presentation is impeccable.

On the Tokyo subway, I met a group of ex-pats from England and Finland along with their Japanese friend. They invited me to spend new years at the Asakusa temple, the oldest in Tokyo. We strolled around the many food stalls and souvenirs and found a hard to find delicacy.

A man had a stall with muffin shaped tins. In the tins, he rolled the dough, using chopsticks. My friends encouraged me to try the curious creation. He served me a plastic container full of round dough, which resembled a donut. I took a bite and it had the consistency of octopus. Surprise, it was an octopus donut.

It tasted doughy and the octopus was flavorless. Soy sauce enhanced the flavor. Savory meets sweet was the primary theme of the snack. My octopus donut was piping hot, but tasty.

It was my last meal before ringing in new years at the temple. It was a truly magical evening of making new friends, trying out authentic Japanese food and celebrating the New Year at a historic location. If you ever get the opportunity indulge in an octopus donut, I say go for it.

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