Japan is the land of sushi, miso soup, teriyaki and delicious curry dishes. Tokyo is my favorite food city along with New York. My primary goal on the famous Tokyo journeys was to eat well. As an expensive city, Tokyo has high food standards and practices.
For a young American, my best food friend was the noodle house. Whether, I was lost in a maze of Pachinko machine parlors (equivalent of our arcades) in Shibuya or browsing the art museum at Roppongi Hills, the noodle house filled me up well and cheaply.
At the noodle bar, you go up to a machine, similar to a vending machine. There are different numbers with noodle bowl selection, pick the number, sit in the round circle of noodle enthusiasts and the waitress serves a magnificent circus of noodles, broth and fresh pork (depending on what meat you like). In Japan, it is socially acceptable to slurp and enjoy one’s soup.
The noodle house was my home away from home. However, I longed for a different taste for my palate. Tokyo has a wonderful food selection. They have traditional style French brasseries and American burgers. However, I opted for Italian. I was still living in New York on my last Tokyo trip. Therefore, the idea of going out for Italian seemed absurd.
However, I took the plunge. After taking the metro to Ueno, I walked into this fancy Italian restaurant located in a smart department store. I put my name on the list. I roamed around while I waited. Chopsticks are fine cutlery in Japan. They had a variety of chopsticks from practical to fancy. I went to check on my name.
I sat down, ordered and they brought over my Italian dinner. With all the Japanese food, I felt guilty eating Italian. Although, I had a tortellini dish, which is relative to noodles, the tastes were authentically Italian. Wow, I ate the whole dish. Tokyo can do Italian food very well.
After my unexpected voyage into Italian culinary land, I stuck to Japanese. However, it opened my mind to Tokyo’s worldliness. When I would walk in the metro station there were New York bagel shops, authentic French pastries and of course, the Japanese noodles. When in Tokyo, eat at noodle bars. It’s your wallet’s savior. Venture into the numerous cuisines the Japanese capital has to offer. It will be worth every yen.