River eel adventure

So months and months ago, when Prime Minister Noda because Prime Minister, he made a speech that caught my eye for this specific reference:

“I am a loach. I can’t be a goldfish.” 

In case you’re wondering loach is the English word and not a translation goof (it’s dojo in Japanese.)  I and everyone else with google at their finger tips soon learned that it’s a small mini-eel-like critter that lives in river mud.  So an interesting comparison to start your term with, but the newspaper coverage didn’t stop there, it went on to detail how loach was once a local delicacy, slightly fallen from favor.  With descriptions like that, I can’t imagine why…

Anyway, since I learned all this, I have been seized by the urge to purloin loach and see what the fuss is about.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one; there has been a small loach craze since then.  This weekend, we finally took the plunge and went for loach.  I have to say, it was pretty good. We had loach at a 6th generation loach-specialty restaurant and the hundreds of years they’ve spent figuring out how to pre-boil and marinade the bony bottom feeders so they taste less like bony bottom feeders were well worth it.  We had broiled loach sandwiched deliciously between a layer of shaved burdock root and an egg.

Much more delicious in person

They recommended eating it with a spice/salt mix, which was cool and minty to the tune of my tongue didn’t stop tingling for nearly an hour.

We also had it simmered at the table with spring onions.  Tara can give you a closer look here , showcasing her chopstick skills to select the best full-bodied dojo for your viewing pleasure. 🙂

Bellies full of loach, we wandered Asakusa for a bit, stopping off at a taiko museum (where they actually let you bang all but the most formal of the drums so loud that you lure in other customers for them from off the street.)

Serious drums! (some assembly required)

We also spotted several restaurants we’ll be checking out on our next trip up there, including this one with the crazy hay chef demon out front.  Adventures in food, tbc…

What happens if you complain to the chef...


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2 Responses to River eel adventure

  1. Tara says:

    I thought the egg was much better than the simmered version. Better texture — you didn’t notice their itty bitty skeletons so much (or get them stuck in your teeth).

  2. Calley says:

    I am most impressed at your food adventuresomeness! The egg version does look tastier, but perhaps that’s just because to me it looks like cheese-smothered pasta, and anything smothered in cheese (or egg) must be edible. Tis sad to contemplate heading to a city where this will no longer be an available culinary crutch, but oh well – I’m sure there’s some other Chinese sauce I can drown things in 😉

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