Sunday, August 8, 2010

Okamoto, Asakusa (岡本)

If guts are your thing, this whole street is for you. It's a string of little izakayas with tables on the street, cheap japanese bar food with a slight Korean slant, and a different special 'beef stew' at each location. The individual recipes feature varying degrees of nasty bits (if I was writing a magazine feature I'd say something about 'nose to tail eating' and 'sumptuous textures'). There must be a story behind this, like 'the neighborhood where the Korean immigrants processed the cow offal'...

There aren't many places in Tokyo where you can sit on the street and have that "Wow, I'm in Asia" feeling. (With apologies to Japanese people, but Japanese people often feel the same way about visiting Thailand, don't they?). You probably shouldn't do it on 'days when the mercury pushes 35' (he said, momentarily channeling the travel-writer impulse again).

Here, take a look:

Does that even look like food to you? Looking at it now, the fun curls and honeycomb shapes almost make it look like a dessert. Mom, Mom, can we have cow guts on our ice cream tonight?

As at Osakaya, I ate most of it, mainly out of perversity because I had ordered it and would thus be paying for it, but also because it tasted pretty good. It's the texture that's positively revolting to Western people - alternately squishy, mealy, chewy and crunchy.

Being of Korean theme, you can also get more normal things to cut the texture. Chijimi are a sort of pancake, just a thin-ish flour batter (it's very white, so I thought it had rice flour in it, but I read something saying it might have bean flour as a thickener, which would also explain the chewiness, or the mochi-mochi-ness) mixed with colorful bits - usually garlic chives, I think. Dip in spicy sauce, eat, say to yourself "Ahhhhhhh, normal food."

And wash it all down with a cool saucer of milk.


  1. Nice movie. Reminds us of our last trip when we visited the same street, although we did not have a stew there. How did you like Korean turbid sake "Makkori"?

  2. They told me that was milk!

  3. At the end you almost lost the two guys you were stalking throughout the clip. Almost. Felt like I was there. More video on the blog please.