Cycle 13 – Item 352
23 (Fri) December 2022
“Rice Bowl with Grilled Chicken & Very Soft Scrambled Eggs”
at Shinsaibashi Imaiya
-Shinsaibashi, Chuo, Osaka, Japan-
with the Family
Family Holiday in Japan – Winter 2022 (Day 1)
- Day 1 (13.352 “Rice Bowl with Grilled Chicken & Very Soft Scrambled Eggs”)
- Day 2 (13.353 Crab Bun)
- Day 3 (13.354 Mapo Doufu)
- Day 4 (13.355 Tamago)
In Osaka. Our first overseas vacation together in nearly 3 years, previously UAE in 2019 (see 10.301 Fish Harra). The decision to go and the selection of Osaka, based on the criteria of food and shopping, was made 2 days prior to departure. Staying for 3 nights in Shinsaibashi, with memories of my past trip to Osaka in 2014 (after my very first duty travel for WHO) (see 5.146 Shime Saba Hakozushi).
To maximize our time, we took the earliest available flight from ICN, landing at KIX at 09:00.
While waiting for the train into the city, we had a quick morning snack from the convenience store in the train station – sushi of course.
Upon arrival in the city, my plan had been to check in to the hotel (Hotel Nikko Osaka), go down to the supermarket at the adjacent department store (Daimaru Shinsaibashi) and purchase a wide range of goodies to go, and take them back to the hotel for an in-room feast.
Alas, the hotel was very strict on a 15:00 check-in time, so we had to leave our bags with the concierge and go out for lunch.
Daiki Suisan Kaiten Sushi is a Japanese restaurant chain. Specializes in sushi served via conveyor belt (kaiten). Currently 29 locations across the country.
Cheap sushi was just the thing to get us started. Still early, around 11:00, the food wasn’t yet on the conveyor belt but made to order – even better.
The food was okay, yet way better than anything we can get in Korea. In just 30 minutes, we were stuffed silly.
We had 3 hours to kill before we could check in.
Fortunately, the Shinsaibashi neighborhood of Osaka is quite possibly the most densely clustered and well-stocked shopping destination in the world – seriously. From high-end boutiques to street-level shops, the best of everything.
By the end of the trip, I will have purchased 3 pairs of sneakers, including a pair of “new old stock” 2006 Air Jordan 4s for JPY 45,000. I was grateful just for the opportunity to try shoes in my size (300mm) (Korean stores only carry up to 285mm).
By the end of the trip, W will have purchased a handbag from Christian Dior, the price of which I will not state here except to say that it cost more than everything else on this trip combined, including air tickets + accommodations + meals + vintage Jordans
Getting back to the hotel at 14:45, I was very disappointed to find that a long line had already formed in anticipation of the 15:00 check-in. Seriously, I don’t understand why they don’t allow for early arrivals to check in once rooms are ready. This would seem to be a case where 2 highly prized virtues in Japanese culture – precision vs expediency – clash.
I never got around to taking a photo of the room, but it was tiny, barely enough for 2 guests, much less a family of 4, even though it nearly JPY 50,000 per night.
For dinner, we wandered through the alleys behind Daimaru until we came upon a place that looked good. – i.e., traditional Japanese but not sushi, more restaurant than pub, menu in English with photos.
Shinsaibashi Imaiya is a Japanese restaurant. Specializes in chicken dishes.
Though chicken is not what I would’ve planned as the central theme at our first dinner in town, the food was awesome. Whereas the essence of Japanese cuisine is simplicity and harmony, every dish was about applying expert technique to achieve optimal textures and bare touches of sauce or salt or spice to enhance flavors. We were thoroughly amazed by the experience, even if or especially because it was “mere” chicken.
The oyakodon – or “Rice Bowl with Grilled Chicken & Very Soft Scrambled Eggs,” according to the English menu – was the best rendition of the dish that any us had experienced. The chicken had initially been grilled over coals to add hints of char. The eggs were perfectly runny, covered in a perfectly balanced sauce of sweet and salty. We ordered a second bowl even before finishing the first.
In struggling to determine which dish to feature for this post, I was spoiled for choice. My favorite was probably the mentaiko. But the cabbage brought memories of the camping crew and our trip to Dokdo – I’m just now realizing the irony of featuring a Japanese dish on the day that we had touched down on what they would prefer to call “Takeshima.” Ultimately, I went with the oyakodon given the nature of the restaurant.
By no means hungry, I couldn’t resist my favorite culinary pastime in Japan: getting booze and snacks from a convenience store and enjoying them in my hotel room.
A nice, quiet ending to a long, busy day.
(See also BOOZE)
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN JAPAN)