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Kodoku no Gourmet

Some time ago, I had the opportunity to get acquainted with a Japanese man who runs his own trading business specialising in household goods. He introduced himself as Inogashira Gorou, businessman and gourmet. Indeed, the street where we had met was bursting with culinary delights, although that doesn't quite connect with Inogashira-san's self-proclamation. Anyway, he was on his way to lunch, though not with anybody else he added. I asked him what was good around the area, and he suggested that I could try the Sliced Pork Stir-Fry with White Rice. With a quick bow, Inogashira-san then disappeared into the little lunch crowd. I looked at the brown package which he had given me earlier, and inside contained a manga detailing his culinary adventures illustrated by Taniguchi Jiro.

The Sliced Pork Stir-Fry which Inogashira-san mentioned was unbelievably generous serving-wise. Even the bowl of rice that came with it was filled to the brim! The slices of pork sizzled invitingly alongside a small bed of shredded raw cabbage, unlike many which the meat was tossed together with the vegetables. Inogashira-san had forewarned that unless I had the appetite of a lion, I should probably refrain from ordering the meat soup which could easily become another person's main course. True enough, the soup itself was a paradise - diced tofu and sliced pork swam generously inside the thick broth. The side dishes complemented the pork perfectly - Inogashira-san loved the pickled eggplant. I prefer cucumber though. According to Inogashira-san, his meal only costed 800 yen.

One night, I was on my way home after a midnight movie when the stomach had decided to orchestrate the supper song. There was a convenience store just some walking distance from my homestay. I was surprised to see Inogashira-san, who had worked late into the night and was also feeling the hunger pangs. His basket was filled with quite a number of items, all food. Just when I assumed that some of those would be reserved for his breakfast or something, he shocked me by saying that the entire basket would be his supper. I was overwhelmed by what I saw. There was Oshinko, a type of preserved vegetables; Tamagoyaki, a Japanese-style omelette; Kinpira-style burdock; Hiyayakko, a cold tofu dish; Corned beef; Sausage roll; Simmered mixed vegetables; Nameko (a type of mushroom) soup; a type of rice known as Akitakomachi; Chinese-style quail and beef; Creme brulee. Honestly, I was already salivating shamelessly at midway!

I'm quite the fan of Sanuki udon. Inogashira-san recommended a rooftop dining area of a department store in Ikebukuro where he had some delicious Tsukimi Oroshi udon. Tsukimi literally means 'looking at the moon', and it is represented by the raw egg yolk in the udon. As for Oroshi, it is basically grated radish, which is one of the popular condiments in udon. Inogashira-san loved the light, salty flavour of the broth. There were also generous servings of tempura crumbs and scallion. For a little heat, he had sprinkled quite a lot of chilli flakes. Gosh, that reminded me of the udon I had at Tamoya!

In all, there are twenty-three of Inogashira-san's culinary adventures in this mouth-watering manga. There is only one volume, so any hint of prolonged agony (?) should be pretty much nondescript. A four-season television drama series based on the book premiered in 2012. Hmm, I wonder if it is even remotely possible to gain weight just from staring at those dishes...there are so many things that I'm craving for right now! Curry rice, conveyor belt sushi, takoyaki, gyoza, yakisoba...gosh, I just can't stop thinking.

Eccentrically Yours.

Written by J.Fluffysheep ♪

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