You need a vacation to recover from a vacation. Tell me I’m not the only one to agree! Touring Japan for 5 days coming back tired, rounder and unfazed. I literally need another 5 days to recoup. Each morning, I’ve coax myself out of bed early with multiple alarms set at 15 minutes interval on my phone; just to make sure I don’t miss the flight or train. Each day’s itinerary was to travel to different cites (with my ever bulging samsonite) exploring picturesque cities and visiting distilleries. Besides the waking-up-at-sunrise part. Everything else was fabulous. Our host from Nikka, Asahi and Maybev Singapore made sure that all of us were well fed and well drank – very very generously.
I’ll share with you the city experiences over the next few posts. But here is Tokyo first – our last day where we had half a day to explore this magnificent metropolis city. Tokyo is a love affair. Who wouldn’t be hooked once you been there? The food was amazing and we had a game plan for it. Meal after meals, we cramp as much food we can consume on our last day. Until our waist expanded 2 inches thicker just before the real dinner. Yes, we still have a big farewell dinner from our host.
Language was a barrier but not a huge problem. We either point to the plastic display of food outside the shop. Or we played by faith; either watching what our neighbors ate or pointing at the characters on the menu and say “itchi” (one). We sure did have plenty of wrong ones – like my extra large ramen came with a side of fried rice. Thewrong by which I meant is not giving the food I’ve ordered the glory it deserves. I am never able to finish a bowl of noodles and rice while I’ve got a few other meals on the agenda after this. Nevermind that, we figured, because we might not ever find this little gem again and because the odds are always good – like my big oyster soba and my rice cracker snack from the old man who took so much pride to roast them.
We visited temples. Drank the water from the blessed fountain for good health. We walked the streets, the alley ways down to glitzy Ginza. And continue to graze our way through the glorious Mitsukoshi supermarkets. We acted like kids again or maybe more so like irritating tourists, we all have food in our hands, either stick form, a plastic plate or some taster on toothpick we randomly picked and pop in our mouths. Lauderee’s macaroons, ice-cream, matcha tea scone, some yakitori, my fermented seafood parts (sorry, I didn’t know what is it). We just wanted to have it all.
On our last dinner in Japan, we were hosted with amazing eel dinner. A restaurant that specialized in eel from nose-to-tail kind of way. We tasted tasty eel inerts, toasted eel skin and crunchy eel spine bone deep fried till tawny golden. All these washed down with more Asahi beers, whiskies and giant bottles of sake. Late into the night, with too many rounds of drinks, on our way back to the hotel, we remembered to stopped by at our last stop – Ramen shop. A row of stools are lined up along a wood-laminate counter. We dig out some jingles, toss a coin to the vending machine and randomly press a button. Passing the slip to the ramen chef when we got our sits. From then on, there were only slurping sounds and warm tummies.
We did discussed the possibilities to bring home a few kilos of the primed Wagyu beef too. They say they keep the best within the country. But didn’t want to risk the disappointment of customs confiscated them. That will break my heart for a long long time. So, instead, on the last minute, I dashed to the supermarket and brought a box of Kyoho grapes, plus a few boxes of persimmons, plus lots of strawberries and a box of figs.
Oh man, I now regret the big juicy Japanese tomatoes!
Tokyo Fried Chicken is an inspiration from Rick Poon’s Instagram. I’ve hadn’t tried the real Tokyo Fried Chicken in CA, but after eating my way through Tokyo, I imagined how they will taste like.
Place all the shredded vegetable in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Combine the dressing together and toss gently to combine. Serve on a platter.
Note: The coleslaw can be made in advance, tossing the dressing just before serving. It will also hold up for a good few hours and even for lunch the next day.
TOKYO FRIED CHICKEN
Serves 4 person, 2 drumstick per person
8 Chicken drumstick
1/4 cup sake
2 tablespoon mirin
1 head garlic, peel the skin
2 tablespoon ginger, peel the skin
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon white miso
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon potato starch
1 tablespoon bonito flakes
1 egg white
2 cups flour
1 cup potato starch
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Enough Oil for frying
In a blender, Blend all the ingredients together for the marinade. Place the chicken drumsticks in a large ziplock bag and pour the marinate over and mix a bit. Let the chicken marinate overnight in the fridge or for at least 4 hours.
When ready for frying, In a heavy bottomed pot or wok, add enough oil to cover the chicken (about 2 inch). Heat until oil reaches 180 degrees C or 360 degrees F.
Add the egg white to the marinated chicken and mix it up. Mix the flour, potato starch, baking powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper on a baking sheet. Line another a baking sheet with 2 sheets of paper towels.
Drench the chicken drumstick, one by one in the seasoned flour.Fry the chicken in batches until it’s golden brown and the chicken is cooked through, turning occasionally.Transfer the fried chicken to the paper towel lined baking sheet. If you want the chicken to stay crispy longer, you can fry the chicken a second time, until it’s slightly darker. Serve with lemon wedges.
For perfect golden brown drumsticks
For bigger drumstick, you might want to turn down the heat midway so that the exterior will not burn by the time the inside is cooked through.
Why I use potato starch and baking powder?
Potato starch gives a crispier lighter skin with mix for frying with flour. And baking powder creates tiny, air pockets that bubble up as the batter hits the hot oil, making it crisper and crunchier, but they also break up the thick layer of batter, reducing its toughness.
-till next post, ss.
Disclosure: This experience was sponsored by Nikka Whisky, Asahi and Maybev Singapore. Though for a different purpose but as always, all opinions written are purely my own. I am incredibly grateful for opportunities like these that allow Foodmanna to continue sharing delicious stories with you.