Story & photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM

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The inspiring Travelling Gourmet goes to the land of the Rising Sun…

MANY airports around the world have been my temporary home on my gastronomic sojourns in an unrelenting quest for the best food and the most delicious of wines. I found myself recently in Haneda Airport, Tokyo. This was my gateway to the joys of Tokyo Disney Resort! I must confess: I was impressed! Very clean, well organised, traveller friendly! What a difference from Tokyo’s Narita Airport which is not very nice, just like Charles de Gaulle in Paris. I was also delighted with the shops and food from a myriad of unique restaurants to suit almost every taste and budget to posh shops with very helpful staff. I found a small and cosy Ramen restaurant ful of travellers and locals, and it was fun to put coins or Yen notes in a machine, and then press the button next to a picture of the Ramen you wanted. Change would come out and a small card like a bus or tram ticket. You then sat down at a communal Ramen Bar and  exchanged your card for…lo and behold, piping hot appetising Ramen with goodies like slices of lean tasty pork, batons of bamboo and soft boiled eggs would appear. There are two Nepalese Cooks and a Japanese Cook so I got to practice both my Japanese and Nepalese. A good friend of mine was once an officer in the elite 10th Gurkha Rifles, fighting the evil communist terrorists in the dense and treacherous jungles of Malaya. He taught me Nepalese which is spoken by the Gurkha soldiers. I slurped won the piping hot super-tasty soup almost burning my precious palate in the process! It was that hot! Thankfully a gulp of the complimentary ice water prevented any damage, Ha! Ha! The springy, bouncy ramen reminded me of the superb Wan Tan Mee noodles in Hong Kong. OMG! It was bloody good! I ordered Gyoza too. It is the Japanese answer to Shanghai’s Kuo Tier. Something along the lines of : did the Italians /Marco Polo copy Chinese Noodles or was it the other way around, or maybe both civilisations came up with the same idea on their own??? Lawyers always say it is irrelevant in most cases…Why argue when you can eat and enjoy it! The filling of the Gyoza was tasty but not too salty…with a nice yielding, but not too soft ‘bite’ to it. Lovely pork flavours filled my tastebuds with joy. Food is life I always say. No food you die. It is that simple.

There are also two very posh but very nice shops in the International Terminal selling Japanese specialities like Baumkuchen, Tokyo Banana, Smoked Octopus Tentacles from Hoikkaido, pickled radish and mustard, Royce chocolates, etc. Na ja! Es gibt Baumkuchen aber es ist ganz anders als die Original deutsche Baumkuchen! Translated from the Gertman, it means: They have Baumkuchen, that traditional German cake but it does not taste quite the same…obviously. Das macht nichts! As long as it is good, let’s eat it!

Souvenirs and book shops have very fascinating offerings like multi-coloured very unique & tasteful T shirts for ladies and gentlemen, jewellery and the journalist’s constant companion, small pocket sized note books…I love them. Duty Free shopping has Suntory Japanese Whisky and the usual French Cognacs and Brandy like Hennessy, etc.

Haneda is much better designed and run compared to Narita. Narita is awful just like Charles de Gaulle in Paris. Mon Dieu! Bad food, dirty, user-unfriendly and inefficient imbecilic ground staff, especially those working for Air France. Somehow, the French ladies that work work Air France are old, fat and ugly and look like male WWF Wrestlers! They are some ‘tres jolie’ Flight Stewardesses but that is another story…If you value your comfort and your tummy, NEVER fly Air France!

Itada ki mas! 🙂

About thetravellinggourmet

As a renowned Travel, Food & Wine Writer he has travelled the world in a keen & indomitable pursuit of exotic delicacies & fine wines. His articles have been published in over 20 prestigious publications, both local & international. Dr. Lim has toured and trained in Wine Evaluation & Oenology in most of the world's top wine producing areas from France to Australia. The Travelling Gourmet says, "Gastronomy has no frontier. These are the gastronomic voyages of The Travelling Gourmet. My unending mission. To explore strange new cuisines, to seek out new wines and new culinary experiences, to boldly go where no gourmet has gone before...." Have pen, will travel. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any other information storage & retrieval system, without permission from Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet and/or MSN. Material may be works of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents may be true but may also be products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance whatsoever to actual person or persons, either dead or living, events, or locales may be entirely and purely coincidental and unintentional. No part of this website may be used to villify others or for criminal purposes. Interests: Travel, Food, Wines, Cooking, Wine Appreciation, Parachuting, Languages, Music, Reading, Swimming, Hunting, Ballet, Fencing, Archery, Anthropology and more... The Travelling Gourmet is a copyrighted trademark. All rights and photos reserved. No part may be reproduced without permission.
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