Monday, January 29, 2007

Is This Legal?

Chicken SashimiThe second day...seriously.

Thrown into the gauntlet of Tokyo, following Nate around like a lost puppy dog (who doesn't understand a word that anyone else is saying) we ended up going to stand outside one of the fanciest restaurants in Tokyo where he just happens to have a friend working. As chance would have it she appeared in the doorway, having finished her shift, and led us down the street to a yakitori and sashimi joint.

The dish of the night for us was Akita chicken breast sashimi. For those of you unfamiliar this means raw, uncooked, unpasteurized, thin sliced chicken (breast in this case). Explanation of the special breed and conditions where the chickens are raised were required to ease our minds over what is normally culinary stupidity. Once we had tried a piece of this chicken all reservations were long gone. Such a flavor and texture doesn't exist elsewhere in the food world, somewhere between raw tuna and (cooked) pork in flavor and texture and yet something completely unique.

Chicken Sashimi 7[Nate Sez]: No reery (that's "really" in Japanese Engrish), it's actually seriously good, and I'll eat it again, and I'll like it again, because it's terribly delicious.

This is but the first step of attempting to eat many things which are illegal in the United States.

The other highlight of the first full day in Tokyo: stone roasted japanese sweet potatoes, or yakiimo. Available from men in trucks around the city and also produce stands, these sweet potatoes are slow roasted, tasting like honey, with an almost leathery yet delicious skin where all of the sugars have concentrated and caramelized. Break one open, watch the steam waft from it, and prepare for a heavenly breakfast/lunch/snack.