Thursday, February 27, 2014

nowhere to hide


each grain of rice intact, each piece of meat lightly cooked, the gently beaten egg barely set—oyakodon such as this is simple, yet nearly impossible to find.
Understanding evolves through three phases: simplistic, complex, and profoundly simple.
william schutz, profound simplicity.
[with thanks to dw, reliable guide to the otherwise unheralded gems of tokyo.]

Tuesday, February 25, 2014



a cold, wet day spent walking around a wind-swept island prepares you well for large quantities of starch. immediately after landfall in takamatsu—udon capital of an udon-obsessed prefecture—we made for tsurumaru, the first of three udon specialists and a tiny, fairly seedy shop near the port where the tables turned every 7 minutes. skip the oden, go for the udon: handmade before your eyes (if you're facing the right direction), briefly and precisely cooked, served in dashi with a scatter of scallions. the dashi is strongly flavoured from dried sardines and mackerel, so this is not a retiring wallflower bowl of soup. the usual add-ins are available but only the poorly executed noodle needs to hide beneath a veil of garnish.

Monday, February 24, 2014

the convention


we made a pitstop in osaka for the express purpose of attending the 8th annual international umeshu convention (there were a few representatives from china). there is more umeshu out there than you might imagine and a very small fraction of it is remarkable.

Friday, February 21, 2014

the hardware store

singapore has become a bubbling fountain of money looking for places to be spent*, so third wave cafes are now popping up like mushrooms after the rain. chye seng huat hardware is a roaster-cafe by the people behind papa palheta and loysel's toy. the buildout is marvelous to a fault: it is as if they have lifted a san francisco cafe complete with plaid-clad hipsters out of its tech money-funded cocoon and into the tropics. the signs of being in singapore are there, but they are few in number.


* while the 1% live "world-class lives," city infrastructure is at or beyond capacity and there is a palpable feeling of unease and discontent among everyone else. is it a good idea to have almost 7 million people living on this island by 2020?