Story & photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling GourmetTM
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All food photos are of real food with no photoshop
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! 🙂