Sunday, March 25, 2012

bring on the fugu

I've finally started reading up on Tokyo, particularly on food, and was kind of amused to read in my Lonely Planet that shabu-shabu is one of the dishes particularly favored by foreign visitors in Japan, namely because "you get to cook it yourself at the table". (If you're new to shabu-shabu, I think it's best described as a Japanese version of fondue, the man difference being that you create a broth as you cook your beef and veggies, and that you drink said broth at the end of the meal.)
Johan and I tried it for the first (and hitherto only) time at Shabu-Tatsu in the East Village, and while the taste struck me as kind of bland, it was far outweighed by the excitement of sitting in my own little dining booth, getting steam in my face, having two kinds of dipping sauces at my disposal and getting to handle thin slices of marbled, raw beef with chop sticks!
Which makes me realize how right the Lonely Planet writers probably are in their observation, even though it struck me as kind of random at first. When I think of it, my appetite for "non-western meals" is just as much founded in a desire for different rituals, procedures and etiquette as it is for different flavors. 

So, Tokyo tourist traps, here I come. As long as you let me cook my food at the table, that is.

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