Friday, May 27, 2011

On a Silk Road Sojourn

Bleh, another unproductive month in blogging - you must be tired of hearing me say sorry as much as I am sick of doing so. But this time I am going to blame the iPad for my dismal blogging. I use it so much that I don't even bother to open my laptop these days unless I am streaming some online dramas (which used flash). Unfortunately, in addition to NOT being able to stream my favourite K- and J-dramas, it also sucks when I try to blog. I can only blog on the HTML platform (yucks) and I cannot post any photos. So? Blame it all on Steve Jobs, or even Blogger - make it more iPad friendly, damn it!

Anyway, tonight I am going on a 10-day journey with the Samurai to China, who is leading a bunch of students there for some cultural discovery. Yeah I know, not too happening going with students, but short of crying myself to sleep from loneliness when he is away, I decided to tag along for the ride. Besides, the Silk Road part of China is somewhere I haven't been too, and sounds totally exotic, although I have butterflies in my stomach thinking whether I can adjust to the food there.

Will be back on 8 June, and after I recover from what is surely going to be an immensely tiring trip, I PROMISE I will get my blogging groove back.

Have fun in the meantime, my dears.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

We Can't Go to Sendai, Sendai Comes to Us: Gyutan at Sandaime Bunji

So bloody hot nowadays. If people realize that Hell is going to be MUCH hotter, everyone will turn saintly in no time. 

It appears that I am not going to be prolific in blogging this month either, or even the next, because I am going with the Samurai on a school trip to Northern China in a week's time, for 10 days. Trust me, I wished we were going to Japan instead, like, why don't they include Japanese history in the school syllabus, right?! All the Samurais, Ninjas and Shoguns make for many interesting stories.

I still don't have sufficient inspiration to blog about the Uniform Party, so I will be posting about my recent yummy experience at this new Japanese restaurant in Singapore: The Sandaime Bunji (which means the "3rd Generation of Mr Bunji").

My secret admirers will know about my tragic botched holiday trip to Sendai in March, my dreams of a wonderful time gorging on local food and sightseeing foiled by a furious Mother Nature. (I refuse to say it is an Act of God, cos my God is not vindictive.) Anyway, one of our glorious plans was to try the famous (or infamous) local dish of gyutan, which is grilled beef TONGUE.

History of Gyutan (from Wikipedia):
Gyūtan was created when Sano Keishirō, the owner of a yakitori restaurant in Sendai, opened a new restaurant that served cow tongue dishes in 1948. This restaurant was called Tasuke (太助), and is still considered one of the best places to eat gyūtan in Sendai. Sano decided to open this restaurant to use cow tongues and tails left over by occupation forces, which were stationed in Sendai after Japan was defeated in World War II. Gyūtan was initially considered a rather unusual dish, but gradually gained popularity throughout Japan, partially because white collar workers who were transferred from Sendai spread its reputation to other cities.

Both the Samurai and I saw the dish being introduced and sampled in an episode of Japan Hour, which left us salivating for more. We were both beef lovers you see (which sort of explains our weight) and although I was feeling a bit squeamish about eating a TONGUE, I was feeling adventurous too. Cut a long story short, after we got over the shock of the massive earthquake and tsunami, and our narrow escape, we felt disappointed that we would not be able to visit Sendai and eat the delicacy anytime in the near future.

BUTTTTTT, God has other plans. Soon, we heard about Sandaime Bunji opening a restaurant at Millenia Walk in Singapore, and its specialty was.....Gyutan!!! As soon as we had free time, we rushed down to get a taste. Alas! The first visit was a non-event as we did not make reservations and it was FULL HOUSE. (Many expat Japanese were eating there - a good sign.) So before our second visit, we made sure we had a reservation and appeared right on time.

A small cosy restaurant, totally Japanese in decor with a central open cooking area where all the action took place, we were given seats at the counter where we could see the chefs prepare our meals, including grilling those famous tongues in fiery situations (beware the smoke drifting your way though). We took the easy way out and ordered set meals: a Kaki-fried cum gyutan set for me and stewed beef and gyutan set for the Samurai.

See the chef grilling our gyutan! HOT!

The gyutan was totally aromatic. It was flavourful and the grilling brought all the myraid flavours to the forefront. It tasted like beef, but the texture was springy, similar to abalone but not too rubbery. My fried oysters were perfect and the batter excellent. The mugimeshi rice (rice mixed with barley bits) was superb, and it felt very healthy eating it (as the Samurai noted, we were not just eating empty carbo). The clear ox-tail soup was one of my favourites - it was fantastic!!! (And I don't even like ox-tail!) The only strange thing for us was the tororo (grated yam paste - the beige thing in the middle in the picture below) - it did not taste like yam to me, and the texture was strange. Samurai chose not to eat it at all, thinking it was like Natto. I ate half. The Samurai loved the beef stew though, the meat was so soft it literally melted in the mouth. He finished everything in a hurry.

Our final bill came up to about SGD70++, which included free flow green tea. My conclusion? If you don't dwell on the fact that you were eating beef tongue, it was actually very tasty. For the money, we had an enjoyable meal, and the ambiance was authentic enough for us to pretend we were dining somewhere in Japan. In any case, we were grateful we could finally try out gyutan, without having to go all the way to Sendai. 

The famous grilled beef tongue or gyutan.

Address: 9 Raffles Boulevard #01-14/15 Millenia Walk Singapore 039596

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Another Crazy Takuya Ad

Don't KILL ME!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry, sorry, sorry (Sumimasen, gomenasai etc.) for being away so long, but I was sooooo heated up about the the Singapore General Elections that I had no room for any non-political thoughts. I was even thinking about turning this blog into a "Memoirs of a Fat Politician", but thankfully sanity has returned, and here I am.

Thanks to the Evil One, I have something to share with you before I work on a longer post about our recent adventures at a School Uniform Party, which we organised with friends to help raise some funds for the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. It was SOME PARTY, let me tell you! But you've got to wait a little longer as I organise my thoughts and pictures.

So the Evil One posted this video out of our mutual love for Kimura-san, so that I could admire his bulging biceps (and they were REALLY bulging, mind you). Unlike previous ads which I have shared here, this is not from Gatsby but the hot Kimura was plugging for Nissin cup noodles. But like his Gatsby ads, this one was equally hilarious and nonsensical, bulging biceps not withstanding. I am AMAZED how he can do all these crazy things with such a straight face, but I am thinking, from the way he worked his tanned and glorious biceps, it would have been far more appropriate if he was advertising chicken drumsticks, because he looks simply DELICIOUS. Imagine having those arms wrapped around you and you can take a bite off....!!!

Well, the video is here. Have fun fantasizing.