Golden Gai (not quite) and yakitori

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We were looking forward to Golden Gai. It is meant to be similar to Piss Alley but for bars – a true Piss Alley, you could say. Unfortunately we went on a Monday night and it was practically quiet. Looks great though with all the small and tight bars. As it was dinner time, we crossed the road back to Shinjuku Sanchome and picked the first place we found.

Unlike Golden Gai, Sanchome is quite busy and lively on the Monday night. This area is where Isetan and many of the department stores are and has blocks of eateries. We could see lots of young Tokyonites meeting up for dinner.

This place was run by young hosts and hostesses.

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On the way in, we spied some sort of bony steak being grilled. As it turned out, it was tunar collar. We naturally had to order it.

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The clams were great. The sea snails in the shells weren’t so good.

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On our first trip to Tokyo, we found that the side salads were a little different to the ones we have back home. They had less leafy salads and Chinese vegetable dishes. Pickled vegetables were common. We were eager for something similar to home and at one place, we ordered cabbages. It was a bit of a surprise when it came out because it was a simple cut block of raw cabbage with some dipping sauce on the side.

The tuna was full of meat and tasted great. We also ordered a side dish of cabbage and thought we could improve on the tuna. We made our version of Sang Choi Bow, the famous Chinese lettuce with duck meat when you have Peking Duck. We substituted the lettuce with cabbage and the duck with tuna. It worked well and we named it Tuna Bow, soon to be TM🙂 and a bit hit!

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After the smallish meal, we went to Baskin Robbins. Everyone knows about Baskin Robbins and their ice cream. But I doubt that many people know about John Robbins, the heir to the Baskin Robbins family. I read his book The New Good Life: Living Better Than Ever in an Age of Less about 2 years ago. John was a bit of a hippie at heart and left the family fortune and went to the a remote island to live very basically with his wife. He invested his savings with Bernie Madoff and lost most of his savings. This book tells his story.

It is not a bad read but I find the works of Michael Pollen a lot more engaging and informative. One thing I did learn is that pop corn is listed as one of his super foods (which also includes quinoa). I have always thought that this was an overrated junk food and underrated easy food. It is overrated because you spend a lot of money buying it at the cinema and they are coated heavily with oil, butter, salt/ sugar.

It is underrated because of the easiness of cooking. Many friends don’t realise how easy it is to pop corn at home as they buy the microwaved prepacked ones. The plain ones are probably the third of the price of the microwaved packets. We pop them with some oil and add a bit of salt. Sometimes we indulge and add some truffle oil. It is also fun watching and hearing them pop in the pot.

On our first trip, we also didn’t know that it was rude to be eating or drinking while you are walking down the street. The polite way is to eat/drink at the vending machine. That way, you can also dispose of the garbage after you are done.

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4 thoughts on “Golden Gai (not quite) and yakitori

  1. I am jealous as you have an adventurous palate! You fit right in! I noticed Japanese sausage being grilled; they also taste quite different from the “Farmer John” type sausages here, yes? And as you read his book, you know the (current) logo for Baskin-Robbins is “BR” where the loops of the “B” and the “I” in R are brought together and highlighted as “31”… for 31 Flavors.

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