After a week of admittedly very good pub grub, my palate was desperate for a change. And no, I didn’t want Indian food or Chinese food. I decided to save that for when I got back. Hey – I do not go to a far away country to feel like I’m back home. A quick Google search later, I found Damascus Gate: a Syrian and Lebanese Restaurant on Dublin’s Camden Street Upper. It was Friday night and we didn’t have a reservation, but we managed to get a table for two.
Two teetotallers cannot be trusted to attend a booze tour. We should know better. We don’t. So we decide to do two things that are a ‘must-do’ on the Dublin bucket list. We decide to go to the Jameson Whiskey Bow Street Tour and the Guinness Storehouse Brewery Tour. Hey – just cause we don’t drink doesn’t mean we should miss out on all the fun. But is it fun if you’re not drinking?
When I found out that I was coming back to the Kansai area for a business trip, I crinkled and raised my eyebrows at the same time. It wasn’t on my plans. But when life is ready to bring you full circle, it will do it with a big smile on its face.
I got a seat at the counter and boy was I tickled by the sight of all those okonomiyaki neatly assembled. One chef was cutting the cabbage. Another was preparing the okonomiyaki. Another was making the negiyaki: made with scallions instead of cabbage. And another was expertly tossing noodles to make yakisoba. If you love cooking like I do – open kitchens like this one are a HUGE treat.
I’ve heard people rave and rave about Shin-Okubo: Japan’s largest Korea Town. Easily accessible on Tokyo’s Yamanote line, I went there today not quite knowing what to expect. The moment I stepped out of the station, I felt like I was transported to a different country.
I realise that a Japanese man is about to serve hawker fare to a very fussy Singaporean. I have ridiculously high and stringent standards when it comes to the food of my childhood. It comes with the territory. Whenever most people do something that’s foreign – they inevitably end up leaving their accent on it. It’s not a bad thing. But I know better than to expect it to taste like it does back home.
“We use yuzu in baths on the winter solstice,” she says. “We also make tea, dressings and yuzukosho with it. Yuzu also has a little brother. Its name is Kabosu: commonly grown in the Usuki and Taketa areas in Oita. Unlike yuzu, kabosu is less well-known.”