The Tokyo – Doha leg of the journey is an overnight flight. How fun? I don’t know anyone who likes long haul overnight flights. And although I love love love travelling; flying is the bane of my existence. I bloody hate it. Thankfully – I’m the kind of person that can sleep anywhere. And although I manage to get some sleep on the plane, it wasn’t the restful kind. I was tossing and turning and shifting about the whole time. I felt a little sorry for the guy sitting next to me.
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 used to be an expert at eating kebabs, but I’m losing my touch… I made a mess – dropping ingredients, getting sauce all over my face and catching meat as it tried to escape from my pita. I was a bit confused by all the cabbage that was in the pita, but overall it was good and satisfied that craving. The noisy train would go by now and then forcing me to stop my conversation whilst the Tokyu line did what it did.
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.
The creepiest looking robot of the lot. I could hear the whispers of kowai scary all around me. It’s one thing when robots look like robots. It’s another thing when they look kinda like humans. Otonaroid blinks. She waves her hand. She nods. She speaks. She mimics many things that a human can do, except she doesn’t seem human at all. But then again – exactly what is a human?
For meze, we ordered Hummus and patlıcan salatası (similar to Baba ghanoush). Oh dear lord, there are not enough words in my vernacular to describe how satisfying it felt to indulge in this after so many years. The dips tasted homemade. Having it with hot and fluffy Turkish bread warmed me inside out. How I have missed Mediterranean cuisine.
Bah Kut Teh (meat bone tea) is one of those dishes that I often ate at the hawker centre growing up. It’s a pork rib soup slow cooked in a broth of herbs and spices. Despite the name, Bah Kut Teh has no tea in the soup and is a reference to the oolong tea which is ordinarily served alongside the soup. The older generations believed that it cancels out all the fat in the soup. Hmm… about that…