Friday, April 24, 2009

Mirokuya, Tokyo (もろくや)

Ahhh, is it time to inaugurate a Fukuoka category? No? I didn't think so either.

This is a pure stepping stone along the way to finishing off all the options of the 東京ガード下. It nestles down at the Marunouchi Kitaguchi end, and consists of not much more than a yellow sign, and big round counter...and a perpetual line. Seriously, there are almost always people waiting to eat the Nagasaki specialties on offer here. OK, only 3 when I got there, and it turns over pretty quickly, but still surprising since it looks so ordinary from the street.

It looks pretty ordinary from the counter also, but there 3 waitresses and 2 cooks make a good deal of noise welcoming customers and bustling about industriously. With great industriousness. You can order from a ticket machine, then squeeze into a small, marginally-mobile stool to wait for your food to come.

Nagasaki food - what does it consist of? Well, chanpon, basically. This is a sort of Japanese-Mexican thing, in the sense that every dish contains the same set of ingredients in a slightly different configuration. Chanpon has some kind of noodles, topped in some way with some combination of shrimp, processed fish (thin pink strips and also thin white rings), bamboo shoots, black fungus, bean sprouts, and lots and lots of cabbage. The most common way to eat these delicacies is in a white soup with ramen (chanpon), but I went with the mixed-with-starchy-sauce-and-slathered-atop-a-brick-of-deep-fried-crunchy-noodles version, sala udon. There's also a pan-fried noodle variation. There's also fried rice, which wasn't half bad. Geez is it all filling and monotonous.

What explains the line? It's just possible that every person transplanted from Fukuoka is going there for lunch every day; I've met lots of them recently. Or all the businessmen from Hakata who are up on business trips. Other than that, mysterious, my friends.


If you've read this far, you may be amused to know that I was full but unsatisfied, and thus decamped to sunnier pastures...on the Yaesu side, in the Daimaru confectionery area (if you continue just south past the restaurant strip, there's a funny entrance that goes to the cross-station passage). Daimaru has a number of extraordinary options for sweets; I had been thinking of Pierre Herme and thus finished off lunch with a pair of macarons back at the office. They were:
- Rose. I'm not actually sure if this was an Ispahan macaron; the filling was white but seemed more creamy than lychee. The stores also have these big round Ispahan 'cakes' this season - not the 'jumbo macaron' ones like last year, but 6-inch pucks that seem to have been made by piping macaron shell batter into coils, then used to sandwich the usual Ispahan bits (raspberry, lychee, cream).
- Jasmine. I think a vanilla shell, but with the strongly tea-flavored white chocolate filling stealing the show.
Appearance on these wasn't perfect, but as usual the lightness of the shells and filling, as well as the flavors, certainly were. Really lovely if you're lucky enough to have someone buy them for you.

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