Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hantejiya, Kanda (韓豚屋)

This will be a boring post. Watch out.

Coming back from a big vacation and eating nothing but European food for a week, I actually feel...sated. Usually I want to eat some meat, or pasta or desserts, but this week, not so much. It seems like a good opportunity to reflect and eat less, despite miraculously not gaining weight on vacation (healthy Mediterannean diet? You be the judge.). This is why I brought a bowl of brown rice with pickled burdock roots to work for lunch on Monday (really).

Today I wanted something vegetal and healthy, and was a bit down since I thought I wouldn't be able to find it. I also thought it could be a nice day for some Korean food, but I couldn't much think of that either. Well, a random wander was rewarded - the Kanda South Exit produced this Korean place (which I remember looking very festive at night, in a grilled pork sort of way). The inside is suitably spartan, with metal tables (Koreans do love metal around their food, don't they) and just stools.

For lunch you can get a bunch of different noodles (cold buckwheat noodles, hot ramen-style things) or rice bowls (with or without the devilishly hot stone bowl; various grilled pork options, raw beef options, etc.). It all looks good, but there's something funny - it's expensive! I had the cold noodles with spring onions; just a (metal) bowl of those thin, stretchy, grey noodles, in soup, topped with copious negi, some cucumber, and some sesame. And it was Y1155. There are a lot of items over Y1300, which seems excessive for a Korean lunch set. The menu also draws my wrath by offering 4 different levels of additional spiciness - like Scientologist auditing, these cost more per level. The menu helpfully lays out how 1X spicy is Y50, 2X is Y100, 3X is Y150 and 4X is Y200. Again, Japan doesn't do quantity discounts.

Still, a good bowl of noodles. There was really a LOT of onion, which makes you feel healthy, especially when you're eating low-GI, heart-healthy miracle buckwheat noodles. And good broth, and decent kimchi. Winning back into my good graces, they offer the Y200 ice cream addition as a serivce after 1 PM, and they're open for lunch very late (4, I think). I would go back to this place pretty readily, just saving a few pennies in advance.

There are a few of these in downmarket locations - Shinbashi, Yurakucho, Hamamatsucho, Ginza...This one you'll recognize by the huge, 3D, cartoonish pig head above the door.


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