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Showing posts from November, 2009

Curry Rice: Japan's cheapest and choosiest family meal

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What's the most eaten meal in Japan?

It's NOT sushi. It's not even ramen. Nope, it's this thing called curry rice.

Curry rice appears on practically every budget menu in Japan. You can buy it to go for around $3-4, when most simple noodle dishes or soups range from 600 yen or $US6.50. Curry rice is the staple of millions of ordinary Japanese families, and even more geeky bachelors, I bet.

It's even been immortalized by this miniature curry rice meal I found at Kid Robot in NYC.

So what is it?

It's basically made from a pre-packaged curry rice cube that comes in a packet - they call it a roux, and the competition to make the perfect roux is stiff.




Now of course, you can get this exact same kind of thing from India, China, Malaysia and so on.

But if you read Japan's S&B Foods site, they'll convince you that Japanese curry is the best, because the guy who made a fortune out of it sought to refine it, whereas other countries use it to "disgui…

ALOHA: Cheap (but not Cheesy) Cheesy Hawaii foods

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Here's an Gal golden oldie - a short clip from my Hawaii 2005 trip where I sampled a number of cheap'n'choosy Hawaii treats like musubi, super hygienic nori rolls and even a Hawaiian McFeast.

This was pre-YouTube, and before I knew how to wield a digital camera like a steadycam, but you get the idea!

Hawaii Food Movie Clip (a Quicktime movie)

$10 (plus tax): Takashimaya Pressed Salmon and Cucumber Sandwich

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This one barely scrapes in under the Cheap'n'Choosy banner, but I enjoyed it so much I'm going to include it.

Picture this: a rainy, drizzly day, I'm hobbling around having just returned from 5 weeks' customer evangelizing in Singapore (eating durian of all things) and Tokyo, having put my back out on the last day of the trip. Straight from the chiropractor, I need some neutral place to chill, neither restaurant nor bar nor noisy hard-chaired cafe to grab a bite where I won't be jostled or have to suffer loud music or a cooler-tha-thou 'tude, which has a bit of cushioning behind the lumbar region.

I know ... a department store cafe!

A hotel would be a close second, except they tend to be, well, a bit hotelish, and they don't stop pestering you with their pricey bar menu. A museum or art gallery cafe would be a close third, except you're talking hard floors, even harder chairs and uncosy cavernous dimensions. Oh yeah, and people pushing around di…