After a couple of days break (during which I avoided even speaking about spicy food) I was ready to go again.
There were a few Chinese places that I had my eye on for the spicy food festival and over a couple of days I managed to get to 2 different ones. First was not a Chinese restaurant, but a bar / restaurant called Banana Moon that was doing a Dandan noodles dish.
Dandan noodles are a little like ramen, or sometimes like a mazesoba which is a soupless ramen. The Dandan noodles at Banana Moon were of the second variety and used a sesame paste and a soft boiled egg as the main source of binding paste. I ordered and sat back and enjoyed some Olympic wrestling as I was waiting. You see a lot of wrestling on Japanese Olympics coverage as the Japanese always do well and tonight was no different. Each Japanese wrestler came in and then left the ring a winner. Suddenly the noodles appeared.
There was also some meat and scallions in the dish. What you do then is mix everything thoroughly so that the egg and sesame coats the noodle and the other ingredients then bind to it all together. The dish tasted great and there was a hint of numbing Szechuan pepper to enhance the flavour too. A really nice dish that went down a treat!
The next dish was from a restaurant called Mu Kokuseki Dining Isshin.
This was a place that has a lot of Chinese dishes. The one that was specifically for the spicy food festival was another Szechuan dish, and the picture on the website was enough to strike fear into the heart of any mere mortal. But that I am not, and being joined by good friend Tetsuya, into the restaurant we ventured. The staff welcomed us with big smiles, and even bigger smiles when we told them we were here for their spicy food. After a short wait, the food arrived.......
and it struck fear into my heart!
What the hell? Were we crazy?? Yes we were. The oil in my dish was still bubbling as it arrived! What was in this?
Well, it was time to find out. Reaching in with my chopsticks (not metal ones, luckily...) I pulled out piece after piece of pork. Further reaching in found cabbage and beansprouts. How was it? Well I have never had anything like this before, but I loved it! The pork tasted like it was pork belly and the spicy oil impacted the flavour and texture of everything. The pork was super soft, almost to the point of being soggy it was infused with the oil so much! The cabbage and bean sprouts were still kind of crunchy so they had obviously been put in toward the end of the cooking process. The coriander (cilantro) on top provided an interesting flavour contrast to the rest of the dish. Was it spicy? You bet it was! Deliciously spicy! As he was when eating the spicy lamb a few nights before, not a word was coming from Tetsuya's mouth as he worked his way through the dish. A good sign!
That's it for this post. Thanks for reading. One more to come in the Shimokitazawa spicy food festival series. Check back again soon to catch that one.
See you then!