Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The SSEAYP Diaries: Of shrines and my twitching dinner. (Day 2, Part 2)

With Akihabara exploration done and dusted for me and V, we went off to meet her old friend, Yumi and her dad who were excitedly waiting to take us out for dinner. The rest went off to get some much needed food experience somewhere else.

We walked down to Kanda and they wanted to take us to the Kanda Shrine, located not very far away from where we met them initially. It was seemingly cold still, so the walk warmed us up. On top of that, I managed to get a few pictures that weren’t of people in suits, or people in general. The moon was up and cast a haunting glow over the entire area near the shrine. It was completely silent, especially seeing that it was around a little past 7, and the shrine was located somewhere in between all the tall modern buildings.

(The smells emitting from this little noodle house was mad. I was so hungry by then.)

The interior of the shrine, which is huge. It’s just a doorway which you walk through and you’re surrounded by other small buildings each posing a specific purpose.

There was a corner where any shrine-goer would have to go to to “cleanse” themselves before actually being able to pray or make offerings. So they would use the scoop and the “holy water” to wash their hands and arms before going over to one of the shrines to pray.

Yumi and her dad taught us the right method to pray. We couldn’t take any pictures there though. If I recall correctly, this is what you should do.
1) You take a coin each, and then you go to the praying section.
2) Clap twice, bow twice and then you make your wish.
3) Throw your coin into the fenced “well”.

Apparently you’ll be blessed with good health and so on if you do so. Hopefully that’s the case for me, seeing as I always never fail to fall sick.

After the short visit to Kanda Shrine, we took a cab down to Kanda Station where we went on a food expedition! In short, we went to grab some dinner.

(I was vlogging, hence the awkward light coming from my phone)

We were walking all around looking for beef, when we stumbled upon this chef making some sort of dessert. Taiyaki is the best thing I have ever eaten there, I swear. It was so good I even kept the wrapper in my scrapbook. Please, no hygiene judging. The taiyaki was so nice and hot, and the filling of red bean was so smooth and sweet. Even the chef was like a ninja making them non-stop. Regardless, he stopped his work to take a group picture with us~

Our mission to find beef failed miserably, so we let Yumi lead us to some good food. She literally brought me to what I used to think were the cutest fish. I take it back.

Yup, that is puffer fish. Or as they call it, poison fish i.e. fugu.

There are not many places in Singapore that really sell fugu because specialized chefs are needed to remove the poisonous sac from the fish without the sac bursting and the poison spreading to other parts of the fish. Hence it’s really a rare delicacy, and we were lucky enough to be able to try a whole array of dishes made from fugu.

The restaurant we went to specialized in dishes only made from fugu, so we had a whole range of fugu specialities.

(Fugu skin, accompanied by spring onions and vinegar. A refreshing start to the whole meal)

(Fugu sashimi. There's a technique to eating this. By rolling it into the leaves using your chopsticks. Mad hard to do)

The fresh caught, fresh cut, fresh fugu. So fresh, it was still moving when it reached our table. That sort of freaked me out for a while, and I was partially weirded out, and partially engrossed in it twitching on the plate. You have to trust me when I say this is really good in hotpot soup though. Unfortunately, it is a rather boney fish, so whenever consuming it, be sure to keep an eye out for bones!

(Fugu kaarage, i.e. fried pufferfish)

This contraption is their version of a hotpot. It’s made out of a rattan or wood weaved basket, and lined with parchment paper. Despite all the flamable elements, it still functions like a regular hotpot. Everything in Japan surprises me. I feel like anything is possible now.

So at the end of eating all the side dishes, you cook your live fugu in this hotpot together with vegetables. So the originally plain soup ends up with a whole bunch of flavours from the vegetables, maybe some tofu, the fish and the seasoning that the waiter added in for us.

After which, rice is put in the soup concoction and left to boil. Eggs are then added, and it becomes sort of a rice porridge consistency. 

I think i put on so much weight in that span of a few hours.

But the Japanese do know how to take simple fresh ingredients and turn them into something flavoursome. 

We took a cab back to the hotel, since we did have a curfew time. After a short meeting, all of us headed back to our rooms to crash for the night. I, on the other hand, made full use of the free wifi and Skype-ed my bestfriend to show him the surroundings, and to tell him about my day's happenings. 

Short, yet fruitful day well spent. Still have no idea how people eat moving food. At least I dumped mine into a hotpot. People eat moving octopus without cooking it.


Watch my vlog here:

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