April 13, 2021

Cheating with comfort food

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Hong Kong is a pretty tough market in terms of F and B, what with painfully high rents and fickle customers who seem to always be looking out for the next new thing. That's why it's amazing that Kichi (吉 田舎料理) is still around after some 27 years in this town. I remember first visiting this place at their old location more than 20 years ago, and the simple, comfort food has always been delicious. I have returned intermittently over the years, although it has been some time since my last visit. I used to come with a group of friends from my high school in Tokyo, and tonight this served as the venue of our gathering once again.

It's been over a year since my last trip to Japan, and incidentally that was a visit to Fukuoka - where Mama Yamaguchi-san hails from.  There would be a couple of dishes tonight that reminded me of my trip.

Otsumami (おつまみ)

Calcium senbei (カルせんべい) - I always order this when I'm here.  These deep-fried wafers made of tiny little fish fry are just so, soooo delicious that I'd actually love to have an order all by myself.  But that wasn't such a good idea tonight... despite this being a cheat meal from my current diet.

Homemade fried fish cake (自家製さつま揚げ) - lots of people make fried fish cakes, but this version was pretty fluffy and was approaching the texture of sponge cake.  Nice.

Marinated firefly squid (ほたるいか沖漬) 

Konjac (こんにゃく) - seasoned with a little soy sauce.

Stewed beef tendons (牛スジ煮込み) 

Pan-fried wieners (赤いウィンナー炒め) - MAN!  This was soooo nostalgic!  I can't remember the last time I had little wieners sliced up and pan-fried so that they resembled little octopi.  Such a staple of izakaya (居酒屋) fare, and no doubt a childhood memory for many.

Stir-fried liver and chives (ニラレバー炒め) - very, very good.

Deep-fried oysters (牡蠣フライ) - these were from Hiroshima.  

Creamy crab croquettes (カニクリームコロッケ) - what's not to like about deep-fried croquettes with creamy filling?!

Stewed yellowtail with radish (ブリ大根) - the yellowtail was very, very tender... almost melt-in-your-mouth.

Potato salad (ポテトサラダ) - if one were looking for comfort food, it doesn't get better than the classic Japanese potato salad.

Stir-fried beef offal with vegetables (牛ホルモン野菜炒め) - this was so, soooo good.  We asked for medium spicy, and the sauce was so delicious that we saved it for use in other dishes.  Of course, fatty cow intestines are always tasty.

Homemade minced pork cutlet (自家製メンチカツ) - I had no idea why we ordered up one of these for each of us, but damned if I didn't love every single bite of this.  One of us even asked for a bowl of rice to specifically accompany the dish.

Spicy chicken wings (ピリ辛手羽先揚げ) - not bad, but not exactly spicy.

Hakata-style wagyu motsunabe (博多和牛もつ鍋) - now THIS is something I miss from Fukuoka.  I went looking for it on a couple of nights when it was cold outside, and eating this as late-night supper was just sooo satisfying.

Mentaiko spaghetti (明太子スパゲティー) - another dish that just had to be ordered up, since spicy cod roe is a Fukuoka specialty. The flavors of this version seemed particularly strong compared to others in town.

I had brought along two bottles of sake to share, but since two of us were on meds and weren't drinking much, we ended up just opening one of the bottles.

Dewazakura Yukimegami 35% (出羽桜  雪女神  三割五分) - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 35%. Smooth. Sweet on the palate but nicely balanced with the dryness mid-palate. Good depth, a little bitter, with a long finish.

A pretty happy evening. Glad to see that little has changed, although Mama has certainly slimmed down - apparently as a result of yoga and other exercises. Looking forward to my next dinner here.

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