Tag Archives: pork

New York, New Pork

One recent night, I gave in and ordered a delivery pizza from Aoki’s Pizza in Toki.


This was their medium-size New York style grilled pork (and bacon) pizza (though I’ve never had pork on my pizza in New York) with a thin and crispy crust. ¥1980 (no tips, at least, and a memorable year at that) including French fried potato wedges for two, and two cans of Coke. They apparently have a discount if you pick it up there (across the street in back of the Toki McDonald’s) yourself. In fact, it’s on my way home from work, but this particular night I was already home when hit by the need to feed.

I’ve been something of a pizzaholic recently, having Jazz Inn Papa’s “C” lunch special today, a ¥1050 set including arugula & shaved parmesan pizza, salt & pepper-sprinkled salad, and a drink.

There seemed to be an endless stream of dump trucks and cement mixers going by Papa’s, which I thought might be headed toward the Amazon distribution center that’s been under construction. But maybe it was some other destination, the trucks simply avoiding the delays now experienced on the nameless/numberless road that functions as a diagonal shortcut between route 248 proper and route 19, around the Autobacks intersection (don’t blame me for the lack of road names in this country!). I think this may show up on some maps as a fork of route 248. Anyway, beware of traffic holdups in this perpetually sawhorse-strewn, flagperson-festooned area. The city’s got to keep those contractors suckled.

On the subject of pork in all its forms, someone told me today about a new style of pork originated and sold in Mizunami. Called bouno (maybe a linguistic meatball of Touno and buono?), it’s a combination of foreign pork (which apparently comes from black pigs) and Japanese pork, which I guess comes from white ones. Supposed to be very good, and possibly poised to become a big seller nationwide.

Focus on Fat

Unlike some behind-closed-doors Diet politics, translucent Japanese home cooking makes no bones about unabashed use of pork fat. Here’s just such a case from last night.

I know, that first sentence doesn’t really make sense. You know what they say about legislation, sausage and unpaid daily blogs hammered out bleary-eyed on mobile touchscreens ’round midnight.

Ramen Run

For lunch today a few of us went for ramen to RaiRaiTei in Tajimi, between Valor and Aoki Men’s Shop.  It was my first time to eat at this chain, and my chaashuu ramen was very tasty.  You have many choices as to the hardness of the noodles, the amount of soy sauce in the soup, the volume of scallions (I’ve always thought negi here was halfway in diameter between American leeks and green onions or scallions, so might better be called Japanese green onions based on how they’re used), etc..  I just chose “regular everything.”

Others had the regular ramen, which they said was good, and gyoza.  All reasonably priced.  The energetic staff was happy to let us change our order slightly when we needed to.  The restaurant is non-smoking till 2 o’clock.

Here’s a deal:  They give out seals with each purchase.  When you collect enough, you get a free month’s worth of all-you-can-eat!

Been Beefing Up

After a rare (in frequency, not cooking time) steak Saturday, a special night last night as I enjoyed a treat of yakiniku.  Convenient to Toki Station on the Chuo Line, Ozeki yakiniku has served customers for many years.  They’re open from 4 to 11 PM, last order 10:30.

The meal started with mamemoyashi (¥315), an appetizer whose original recipe has changed through different ownership.  Tender karubi (¥315) followed, seen grilling above with butabara.

Above is tontoro (¥550), which was delicious with just the salt and pepper it came with.

Below on the left is tecchan (¥315), a fatty entrail item that melted in the mouth, good enough for a double order.

Ramen Recommendation

Lunch today was with the boss at Ryuuo Ramen just off route 19 in Tajimi.  Not much to look at from the outside, but looks deceive.  It’s popular with locals for a reason.

This was my first time there in a couple of years.  I remembered the juicy butayaki (below) from before, so was sure to order that in addition to my ramen (shio).  I’m still a totally underaccomplished slurper, but managed to down the noodles in what I considered a reasonable amount of time, especially for someone who usually finishes last.

Here’s the ramen.  ¥1600 bought two of these and one shared dish of butayaki.  We got some coupons for a future trip there, too.

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Tonkatsu, a Personal Favorite

Like okonomiyaki, tonkatsu teishoku (deep-fried breaded pork cutlets in a set menu) is a dish I disproportionately seldom eat given how much I like it.  I at least temporarily fixed that particularly recent trend by going two days in a row (the second wasn’t planned, and I even turned down making it three days out of four today) to Butaya, on route 19 in Tajimi.  I’m glad I finally went there, and I think I may be making it a regular thing. For selection, value, taste and even atmosphere, this place is easily recommendable for a casual workday lunch. Even if you don’t like chains, this one may be an exception.

Booths afford a fair amount of privacy, and there are various separate rooms with dugout floor seating (of course well-suited to larger groups but normally used for multiple parties of two to four), and comfortable dugout counter seating for single customers. Service is friendly and prompt. There’s a house policy here in which, if your meal isn’t brought to you within 18 minutes of ordering, it’s on the house. Apparently they even deliver, by the looks of the scooters outside.

Among the teishoku items (all ¥680 before tax) are rohsukatsu (pork roast), rohsumisokatsu (a Nagoya tradition using miso paste), pork ginger, hirekatsu (pork filet), and deep-fried shrimp. Also at ¥680 is katsukarei, cutlets with rice and curry sauce. Currently there’s a seasonal bifutekidon, grilled steak over rice, at that price also.

Getting to the bread and butter as it were, you can choose the thickness of the pork, the number of slices, and the amount of rice without changing the price. The cuts are lean, and the coating nice and crunchy with pronounced crags and crannies without being overly greasy. With a mortar and pestle, you can grind your own sesame seeds fresh at the table to sprinkle over the cutlets (the aroma really whets the appetite), with worcestershire-based or hotter tonkatsu sauce and Japanese mustard to taste. Of course the set menu includes cabbage with vinegar or soy-based dressing, miso soup (with small shijimi clams) and pickles. Besides obligatory tea, a nice touch is free bottomless coffee that, for brew that may have been sitting in a pot indefinitely, is actually decent.

Unless you don’t eat pork, if you’re not hungry by now, maybe you should go grind some sesame.

What’s in Your Bowl?

Lately I’ve been having lunch more often at the always reasonable Matsuya on route 19 in Tajimi. Filling and cheap, and non-smoking to boot, eating at beef bowl beaneries is even becoming more popular among women eating alone. The day I took this picture I had the oomori pork a la carte at ¥380. Regular size of this or beef comes in at ¥280, while extra large is ¥480, and it still includes a regular-size bowl of miso soup.

There’s a pretty wide-ranging menu with sets and seasonal specials, and your meal is in front of you within a minute of passing your ticket (from the machine at the entrance) to the staff when you sit down. Matsuya features that full-size miso and better values than Yoshinoya, whose taste and texture many prefer. Those who like benishoga seem to think Matsuya’s jar you can load up as much as you want from is a winner.

The Medium is the MSG

Over this and the boss’s beef bowl we discussed, at his implicit request, the extent to which the media (in China, and then in the world at large) are influenced by government or commercial interests. I mean, what else would you discuss at a beef bowlery? I said as a matter of my own getting of information, it ultimately doesn’t matter.  Like people in the former Soviet Union used to read between the lines of Pravda to suss out the truth, I can take reports from any outlet with the appropriate (for that outlet) grain and type of Ajinomoto salt.  It also helps you be on the same page as most folks.  Helps you to speak their language.  And I can trust my own eyes and ears unsalted.  Trust me, I’ve gone my share of long stretches eschewing mainstream media and incurring serious marginalization in the process.  I can stop worrying and love the blather if I want.  A disappointment to conspiracy theorists, big business apologists and anyone peddling controversy. Now pass the shichimi, pick up your chopsticks, chill out and chow down.


Today the boss and I had lunch at Kouyou, a great little Chinese restaurant in Sakauecho, Tajimi, near Fukuryuu (see map). I called to invite the friend who originally told us about this place, as it’s one of his favorites, only to catch him on the other end of the line sunning on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa. Needless to say, he couldn’t quite make it for lunch.

We usually have the very filling and reasonably priced ramen chaahan/karaage (¥650), always on the weekday menu, but today opted for the ¥500 higawari daily special, which happened to be butaniku shogayaki (ginger pork). Includes pickles, egg drop soup and, as always, free refills on rice. And a slice of melon to top it off.

The atmosphere is always welcoming and casual. They’ll even teach you a little Chinese if you want. Once they find this place, businesspeople, blue-collar workers and couples or groups of twenty- and thirty-somethings all keep coming back for more. Customers tend to be pretty much regulars. One older gentleman sang an old song to everyone as he left. Not sure if that’s how he was paying for his lunch or what.