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Cuisine Food Japan Restaurant

Pushkar

Luke and I went to one of my favorite restaurants in Nakatsu, Pushkar, an Indian restaurant in an old, converted traditional house, for lunch today. Pushkar has a real Indian chef and a real tandoor oven as well. They serve up a good mix of Northern Indian and Anglo-Indian classics (in other words, the kind of Indian food we associate with most Indian restaurants in the West). We both had the tandoori and curry lunch set, which came with a minced chicken curry, tamarind seafood curry, mixed salad, a piece of tandoori chicken, a piece of Sikh kebab, and nan bread.

While their lunch menu consists of several sets that are a permutations of different daily curries with salad, nan bread or rice. For dinner, they offer a full à la carte menu of Indian favorites. Some of my favorites are the chicken butter cream (similar to a chicken tikka masala), chicken dopiaza (another kind of chicken curry with onions, bell peppers and almonds), and the tandoor lamb chops. They also make a spinach and cheese-filled nan bread that is worth checking out as well.

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By the way, Luke has just started his own blog about Japan as well. Check it out here.

Categories
Cuisine Food Japan Restaurant

一合 御馳走屋 Ichi-Gou Gochisouya

Tash and I went to a restaurant in Nakatsu called Ichi-gou Gochisouya (一合御馳走屋) for the first time tonight. It’s in an old Japanese-style building close to downtown that used to hold an udon/soba noodle shop popular with local expats. Now, it’s an Izakaya, a kind of Japanese style tapas/gastro-pub sort of restaurant. “Ichi-gou” means “one gou” in Japanese. A “gou” is a unit of measure in Japanese that is a bit less than a cup, that is used for rice and sake. “Gochisouya” means feast or banquet place/restaurant.

We walked into this gorgeous Japanese space with an open kitchen. It seemed like there were more staff members working there than customers, so service, like always in Japan, was very prompt and attentive. We were also brought a small blackboard with the specials and recommendations of the week that supplemented the vast menu already on the table.

Apparently, our presence in the restaurant was funny or something.  Some of the chefs were giggling when we walked in and when we left.  Also, when I ordered a second round of food and drinks, the waitress asked us if we could read the menu.  hmm, um, I’ve already ordered once and I read the Japanese menu fine.  Why ask now?  Maybe it has to do with the fact that Natasha is a stereotypical blonde gaijin. One of the girls at the neighboring table made it a point to say “Hello! Hello! Hello!” in English to her girlfriends as she walked past us when she walked in late to join them. So who exactly was she saying hello to?  Not us, because it’s not like they she was trying to strike up a conversation with us or anything.  Maybe just showing off her English to her friends?  Who knows, but with 6 years of mandatory English at schools here, I would certainly hope that every Japanese person with a high school diploma can say at least “hello”.  Alas, gaijin still equals funny in rural Japan.

All this aside, let’s talk about food.  We ordered:

Ryuukyuu-tsuke (琉球漬):  Marinated sashimi pieces with slivers of daikon radish

Asatsuki to Toufu no Hanryuu Sarada (浅葱と豆腐の韓流サラダ): chive, red onion and tofu salad with a spicy Korean-style dressing

Watarigani no Koura-yaki (ワタリガニの甲羅焼): crab and squid meat topped with a Béchamel sauce and broiled gratin-style in the crab shell

Ebi no Tempura (エビの天婦羅):  classic tempura-style fried shrimp
And washed it all down with a couple of nama-biiru (draught beers).

mmm.  An excellent new discovery and a great way to celebrate the start of the weekend!

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Canada Cooking Food Quebec Restaurant Travel

Québec Cuisine Lessons: Raclette et Poutine

Québec cuisine is based on good ol’ meat and potatoes. Fatty and filling, it hits the spot just right considering the frigid climate. Below is a picture of Sophia and I trying our hand at raclette – actually a Swiss specialty – which involves cooking potatoes and meat on a grill and then topping it with melted cheese.

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The meal was rounded out by some fried eggs and some salad. At the same restaurant, I got to try some tourti̬re de caribou Рa kind of caribou (the term for wild North American reindeer) meat pot pie.

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And here (above) is the Québec specialty known as poutine. French fries (or as they are known locally, “patates frites” but definitely not “freedom fries”) topped with gravy and cheese curds (that’s the white bits). We tried the spicy and the regular variety. The spicy one was definitely more interesting, but not all that spicy.

Another culinary highlight from Québec (not pictured) is “fondue chinoise” – Chinese fondue. I’m not quite sure why they call it that, because there is nothing particulary Chinese about a meat fondue where you cook your meat in vegetables in a brown, pre-packaged sauce and then dip them in various mayonaise-based sauces. I guess it does kind of resemble Japanese nabe (鍋) or Chinese “hot pot” (火鍋) in concept but not really in flavor.