Thursday, May 30, 2019

麺屋鶏冠 (Tosaka in Oita Prefecture)


Standing bars. Who doesn't love these pillars of Japanese drinking culture? Narrow drinking holes without a chair in sight. They are easy to enter, cheap, and always an adventure.

This one in Oita was full of local Kyushu shochu, as well as the standard beers, highballs, and Japanese sake. The locals were drunk, and my foreignness was to their amusement.

This is the norm. I walk into a countryside bar, people turn, I speak one or two words of mega-basic Japanese. Instant friendship. It is still strange to me that ordering sweet potato shochu with water (芋焼酎水割りください) is seen as a sign of Japanese fluency, but it is. I then spend the next half hour trying to steer the conversation from a boring interview (Where are you from? Why do you live in Japan?) into a normal conversation.

Those conversations somehow turn to ramen.

I do this all over Japan.

About 30 seconds from the standing bar was this regular's favorite ramen shop. He wanted to treat me, and who am I to say no.

Creamy chicken tori paitan. Apart from the normal and spicy versions, they have a Taiwan mazesoba on the menu, which means I will be back. Taiwan mazesoba is a gift from Nagoya to the world.

The shop uses local specialty chicken with an original shoyu blend tare. Kind of the perfect thing after all those drinks at the standing bar.

Gochisosama! (Thank you for treating me!)