Happy New Year to anyone who is Chinese, or I guess also to any non-Chinese who for some reason celebrates it.
You know those infomercials where they talk about starving children in Africa? I think over the course of the day, I ate enough to feed an entire village of starving children for a week, or at least a few days. The day started with some nice yakiniku (Korean BBQ) lunch with Yori, Matt, and Brian. This is the kind of awesome restaurant where you cook the meat on the table yourself. We went to the Chiba-Chuo branch of a chain called Anrakutei (安楽亭), which is apparently cheaper than Gyukaku but really good. They have cheap lunch sets until 5, so we each ate 2 sets. That’s right; 2 entire meals of yakiniku goodness. Each set came with rice, soup, kimchee, tofu, and of course a pretty big plate of raw meat. Absolutely amazing. It was relatively cheap, and we were all completely stuffed by the end of it. Also the restaurant’s sound system played exclusively American 50’s or 60’s songs, so we got to listen to stuff like Let’s Go to the Hop as we ate.
After playing some Resistance on PS3 for the afternoon, I headed into Tokyo to get some Chinese food for a new year celebration of sorts. Also because I love Chinese food. Now, to be quite honest, I was still absolutely stuffed from lunch, and wasn’t sure that I was even going to be able to eat dinner. However, after the hour-long train ride from Chiba to Yotsuya, where I was meeting Sunny for dinner, I was almost in some form of eating condition We went to this one place first, which apparently specialized in Shanghai crab dishes. While it looked good, I can’t really be spending 5000 yen on a single meal, so we decided to pass and went a few blocks down the road to a more local/less fancy Cantonese restaurant. This ended up being a good choice, because the food was really good. I’m pretty sure the place was run and staffed by real Chinese people; at the very least they weren’t Japanese. Their J-go wasn’t exactly perfect, and they were less polite with customers and stuff than Japanese people tend to be, at least in service situations. For example, when we showed up, the only table open in the place was in the corner blocked by two other tables. The lady went nuts, asking people to move and even really abruptly asking (more like ordering) one guy to move to the other side of his table. It was pretty funny, and made me feel like I was a VIP or something getting the waitress to rearrange the dining room so I could sit down.
Not only was the food cheap, but it was way good. We had like 4 dishes; a beef and vegetable, chili shrimp, chicken, and another vegetable dish that we didn’t really order but the pushy waitress I think assumed we wanted it after she kept recommending it. Either that or she just ordered it for us. Ah well; it was cheap and was good anyway. I don’t think I’ve actually had “proper” Chinese food for a long time, probably in St. Louis last summer. The most Chinese food I eat in Japan is ramen or fried rice, but it’s always more Japanese style so it’s not the same thing. I think I’m going to try and make a conscious effort to find some decent/more authentic Chinese restaurants or greasy spoon places here in Chiba. There’s apparently a dim-sum place here in Goi too, that I should try and find.
Anyway, I ate way too much today and spent a good chunk of yen. It was worth it though.