7.266 Gu Ba


27 (Tue) September 2016

Gu Ba


at National Institute of Public Health

-Wakoshi, Saitama-

with meeting participants

For lunch in the NIPH cafeteria today, one of the offered items was billed as a Korean soup.  Turned out that “gu ba” was “guk bap (국밥),” the spelling a reflection of the Japanese linguistic tendency of dropping the final consonant of any syllable.

The dish was excellent.  Somewhere between kimchi guk and galbi tang : hearty with a bit of spice, well balanced, well seasoned.  I could eat this every day of the week, twice on Sundays.  Perpetually amazed at how the Japanese, even at a public cafeteria of a government agency in a sleepy suburb, are always so good at getting food so right.

Any of these options, I could eat daily.

Japan is now the 14th country and Wakoshi is the 25th city outside of Korea where I’ve eaten Korean food in a restaurant (cafeteria, close enough) (roughly in order of experience) :

  1. USA : 01.01 Silicon Valley (San Jose, Santa Clara, etc.) CA; 01.02 New York NY; 01.03 Boston MA; 01.04 Northern Virginia VA; 01.05 East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley, etc.) CA; 01.06 Los Angeles CA; 01.07 San Francisco CA; 01.08 San Diego CA; 01.12 Chicago IL; 01.13 Washington DC; 01.23 Guam (6.283 The Boss’s Beefy Birthday Bash)
  2. THA : 02.09 Bangkok; 02.10 Pattaya
  3. CHE : 03.11 Geneva
  4. GBR : 04.14 London
  5. CHN : 05.15 Beijing
  6. KHM : 06.16 Phnom Penh (3.269 Fried Beef with Red Ants)
  7. LAO : 07.17 Vientiane (3.272 Pho Ga)
  8. PHL : 08.18 Metro Manila (5.005 Ki for Ki)
  9. FJI : 09.19 Suva (5.178 Bibimbab)
  10. PNG : 10.20 Port Moresby (5.276 Spicy Chicken Muchim)
  11. RUS : 11.20 Moscow (5.286 Chili Mango Prawns…)
  12. AUS : 12.21 Melbourne (5.342 Crocodile Meat…)
  13. MYS : 13.24 Kuala Lumpur (6.333 Jacked — Three Ways)
  14. JPN : 14.25 Wakoshi
Later that evening at the welcome reception.
As befitting a public health agency, especially in the context of a meeting on obesity (see for contrast 6.224 NCD Risk Factors) …
… the spread consisted of dishes that were appropriately low in calories, sugar, fat, and salt, high in nutritive value …
… while being (kinda) tasty.
Good intentions, poorly executed : even if the chicken were halal, any hint of alcohol (presumably sake added to sauce) would prohibit muslims (e.g., delegates from Malaysia) from partaking of the dish.
Another example of what amazes me about Japanese food sensibilities …
… the udon station included bowls containing slightly underpoached eggs that attain perfect cookedness upon the addition of hot broth.

Mission to Japan, Day 3 (see previously 7.265 Negibasashi Maki).

In Tokyo.  Here to attend/facilitate a workshop on childhood obesity, Tuesday thru Friday.  Arrived Sunday morning.  Flying back to Manila on Saturday.


At 2130, prior to 2200 closing time, staff come around to slash prices on sushi items.
At 2140.

I would get so fat — noting that I am already well within the obese BMI range — if I were to live in Japan, surrounded by so much food that’s low in calories, sugar, fat, and salt, high in nutritive value.

325 JPY = approx $2.75
Assorted Sashimi (3.5)
Saba Maki (2.5)
Shrimp (2.5)

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