February 8, 2015

Tokyo Michelin tour: Michelin star food truck

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In the middle of planning my Tokyo itinerary with friends, I came across a post on Food Sake Tokyo sharing the news that Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa, whose Michelin 2-star restaurant Narisawa is one place I recommend to a lot of friends visiting Tokyo, had just launched his food truck.

FOOD TRUCK?!  In Tokyo?!  From a chef with Michelin stars?!

This I gotta check out.

A couple of friends saw the PSA I made on Facebook, and reported back positively on their experience.  My friends who were going on this trip with me were all very excited to find a real food truck in Asia, and were eagerly waiting for the chance to check it out.  I had some free slots during the early part of my trip, and I was determined to get a taste before the rest of my friends arrived - especially since the food truck has been known to close due to poor weather.

So on day 2 of my trip, as the sun was out and the sky was blue, I suggested to Cow and Chicken that we hit the truck.  They very kindly obliged and drove me over to Tokyo Midtown.  The food truck was parked next to the Diners Club Ice Rink, and looked like it was also sponsored by Diners Club.  I was giddy with anticipation as I approached it...

Funnily enough, I ran into my colleague and his friends while at the food truck.  We happened to take the same redeye flight up, and I had told him about this... so it was a funny coincidence that we'd show up at the same time.

You can order a bowl of stew/soup or a sandwich separately, but I decided to take them as a set.  Just a regular "soup and sandwich" from a food truck...  Only he's not serving his usual creative French food here.  Chef Narisawa's decided to feature traditional dishes from different regions of Japan.

Hakata spicy "motsu" giblets stew (博多のピリ辛モツ煮) - there was never any question about which bowl of stew I would get... Once I saw the word "giblets" it was a done deal.  The bowl was full of pig intestines... and the fact that big chunks of fat/lining were still attached to the intestine walls made it even better.  This came with veggies like leeks and burdock (牛蒡), with a wonderfully spicy soup that would definitely warm you up.  So. freakin'. good.

For the sandwich, the bread was the special blessings of rice with 18 mixed grains (十八穀米の惠み), while for filling I chose special pork "Yongenton" soaked in "Kan Kouji" rice malt (四元豚の寒麹漬け) - a specialty from Akita Prefecture (秋田県).  The bread was amazing... crispy on the outside, light and airy on the inside.  The filling came with a good mix of veggies like carrots and burdock, along with a sesame dressing that is instantly recognizable as Japanese.  Delicious pork, too.

A really, really good meal for a reasonable price.  When I first finished my lunch - which we ate while standing outside in the cold by the truck - I didn't think I had enough food.  I was no longer hungry, but didn't quite get that "OMG I'm so full" feeling.  After we stepped indoors and walked around Tokyo Midtown, gradually it hit me that this was indeed enough food for me.  I was so happy that we had done this.

On day 4, it was time to take the gang from Hong Kong to the truck.  Unfortunately the weather had turned and it started to rain a little.  We were afraid that the truck would be closed, as the ice rink might not be open for business when it rains.  Thankfully the truck was still operating when we got there, and we ducked under the awning of the truck to stay dry.

This time I ate the sandwich first, and the filling I chose today was teriyaki chicken leg (鶏もも肉の照り焼き), which comes from Ibaraki Prefecture (茨城県).  Very nice.  Can't go wrong with chicken teriyaki, can ya?

Kiritanpo (きりたんぽ) - a regional specialty from Akita Prefecture, this seemed much lighter than the other choice that I hadn't tried.  The traditional tube-shaped rice cake, with some chicken, shirataki (白滝), and plenty of spring onions and coriander - all in a relatively clear soup.

Deep-fried oysters (カキフライ) - nice and thin batter.

Yet another satisfying lunch, and I was happy to have shared it with the gang.  Too bad we couldn't have sat comfortably at the many outdoor tables, as it was raining a little hard.  I'm glad I made it to the food truck twice, and glad that a chef of Narisawa's caliber has taken the initiative to do this.

I wonder if he got the idea after watching the movie Chef...

1 comment:

Derek said...

Very similar to my experience. The pork sandwich was amazing and made the detour into Tokyo worth it.


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