Tokyo Attractions

Akihabara - The otaku freak capital of Japan!
Harajuku - Tokyo Extreme Street Style
Hon Komagome - Old Tokyo Temple Town
Morishita in Tokyo, home of metropolitan museums, and plenty of temples and old homes
Charming old Edo Period district of Nezu, in Tokyo
Roppongi and Roppongi Hills
Shibuya Streets
Ueno -- Homeless Heart of Tokyo

Rest of Japan

Jomon Japan
Jomon Japan
Kyoto, the most beautiful city in Japan
Matsumoto Castle, one of the highlights of central Japan
Yokohama City -- The City By The Bay

Best of the World

Australia Guide

Egypt in the 1990s
Iceland, North Atlantic

Mumbai City Guide



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Heijouen Grilled Meat (Asakusa)

I HAVE DINED AT HEIJOUEN (平城) A COUPLE OF TIMES OVER THE YEARS. Once with Jeremy and my mate Kenichi, around the time I helped Jeremy score his job at World Family. A few years later when I myself scored a job at World Family, I lunched with Kenichi to celebrate my new work regime. About two and a half years after that, entertaining my parents during their first trip to Japan, I found myself near Kaminarimon ("Thunder Gate") in Asakusa, almost as if by chance, looking for a place for lunch. My Mum had been wanting to meet Kenichi for a long time, ever since he helped me out when I was locked up by the Tokyo police for 16 days, back in 2007. When I am in Shibuya and I want to meet someone, Hachiko (the "faithful dog" statue) is the obvious place to meet. In Shinjuku, out the front of the Alta department store is the popular meet and greet location. In Asakusa, Kaminarimon is one logical landmark, but in the spur of the moment, as I talked to Kenichi on the cellphone, an idea sprung into my mind: why not meet up together next to those golden bulls just down the street? And if my folks were accommodating, why not eat lunch inside the restaurant those streetside livestock represented? Old Japanese folk in tour buses waved to us as we waited. We must have looked a sight, standing amidst those golden bulls. I suppose not many foreign families come to this kind of place for lunch. That said, this is precisely the kind of Japanese food experience that many foreigners would feel most comfortable with. For starters, it is DIY, and barbeque centred, with meat being the most important dish. Not just any meat, but beef. Kobe beef, if you can afford it. You can order a sirloin steak, if you can afford it (I can't.) We just got the standard lunch set.

Kim'chi and meat, rice and shoots, and the central fireplace awaiting for all the action!

Fried beef and rice, kim'chi and meat, kim'chi and shoots... this is the typical yakiniku experience. You cook your meat over the fire in the center of the table. Dunk it into some sauce to add some flavor. Follow it down with a liberal quantity of rice. Mind you, there were more complicated concoctions on the menu, more ambitious concoctions, more expensive items. For example the wagyu Japanese Kobe beef options. I heard a disturbing rumour regarding Kobe beef, from my student up in Minowa: tethered to their stalls to prevent them from moving and thus toughening up the meat, the cows are force fed beer and massaged. To see the masseurs at work tenderizing the beef, click here. For a review of Wagyu beef served at the Chinya Restaurant near Sensouji Temple (just off the aforementioned Kaminarimon), click here. I could have done with a beer at Heijouen, but I refrained because it was only midday. My bottle of green tea would have to suffice.. I could eat this stuff all day long!

Not only golden bulls here of course, but white and blue ones, and gold dogs too

As Wikipedia records: "Yakiniku (Ă or ē), meaning "grilled meat", is a Japanese term which, in its broadest sense, refers to grilled meat dishes. Today, it commonly refers to a Japanese style of cooking bite-sized meat (usually beef and offal) and vegetables on gridirons or griddles over flame of wood charcoals carbonized by dry distillation (sumibi, Y) or gas/electric grill. In North America, China and Taiwan, Yakiniku is also referred to as either "Japanese barbecue" or "Korean barbecue" [1][2] due to its Korean origins." It is thought to have originated from horumonyaki, a dish of grilled offal, invented by Korean immigrants in the Kansai area after the Second World War." Testifying to the Korean origins of the genre, there was plenty of kim'chi on the table. However, there was plenty of Japanese miso soup too...

It was a gray day in the heart of Spring, in the sometimes grey old downtown district of Tokyo. We tried to enjoy ourselves in spite of our grief, Mrs Sasaki and I (and her daughter.) There were plenty of goodies there to distract us. Everyone laughed and had a good time.

Mum and Dad and me at Heijouen

Heijouen is at 2-1-12 West Asakusa, Taito Ward, Tokyo -- the phone number is 03 (3847) 8853.



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  • Between 2000 and 2011 I blogged the food on the streets and alleys and high end towers and 5 star restaurants of Tokyo, Japan. Search the archives below...


Japanese Food and Cooking Blogs

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Copyright Delicious Coma
Delicious Coma Wierd Japan
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Pig Out Diary
Torihei Yakitori Restaurant
Torihei -- Grilled Chicken in Asakusa