Thursday, October 22, 2009

Breakfast of Champions or Not

Champion? Definitely not. What do you do for breakfast in Tokyo? A bowl of cereal? A slice of toast? A muffin? It might go a long way to demostrating why I haven't seen any overweight people in this city, but the abundance of noodle houses open from the crack of dawn more than willing to supply a hungry city with servings of hot dishes quickly seem to be the staple for many busy Japanese folk. There are a few Starbucks and golden arches around, however small noodle houses just about every 10 metres are the equivalent of those corporate giants in Tokyo. Often buried away in a basement or in a "blink and you'll miss" alleyway keen chefs await orders from the bleery eyed public.

My first venture into one of these was a bit of a shamble. Walking up the counter where there was no list of items to order, and flumixed as to what to do, I was embarrassingly on my way back out the establishment, when a timely customer walked directly to the corner to make an order. Yes, like a lot of things throughout Tokyo, the ordering is handled by a vending machine. Sometimes pictures accompany the selection and other times not. On this occaision, I was lucky enough to randomly select one that catered for ignorant folk like myself.

Upon selecting your dish a receipt is printed which you take up to the front of the counter. There, the chef greets you, and in a matter of seconds (no joke) you meal is served. Large vats of boiling soup and a quick heating of noodles and simple additions make it a no-fuss affair. No waiting for bread to toast or cheese to melt, your hot meal is ready and away to go. A hot, healthy, quick way to start the day. At less than $5aud I could eat this all day long.

On this occasion, it was noodles with seaweed a few spring onions and I was set until lunch. (I still haven't got the slurping going!)
Before you know it, lunchtime rolls around and the difficult decision needs to be made again of a place to choose. This time it was at the basement of a large office building. Again like everything else in Tokyo service is immpecable. Regardless of whether its a $5 dish or $25 dish, everyone is friendly and more than willing to help. I don't think they possess a bad bone in their bodies. Spicy pork with a side dish of rice, chicken soup, chilled vegies and an egg mixture. With all this eating its a wonder that I'm able to see any of the city...


  1. Mmmm, is that ramen? Have you found any good izakaya yet? Or interesting food in the supermarkets?

    Have fun eating your way around Tokyo!

  2. yeah i was wondering whether this was ramen too...

    From my perspective you are seeing the most important part of the city - the eating establishments and i reckon tokyo would be stacks of fun to be exploring in this regard :D

    Keep 'em coming!!!

  3. thanks for the comments jfox/Serenity!

    Yeah I think it's Ramen. There's a Ramen museum, but I think a bit too far out of Tokyo to go to. I had to google izakaya! I don't think I've been to one of these yet. With the supermarkets, there aren't too many around and there isn't anything too weird in them that I've seen so far. I'll keep an eye out though...

    Serenity, the hard thing is finding the good eating places. I decided to try a busy Thai place buried away in a alley yesterday, but it was sadly not as good as Melb. But that's the only one that's been a let down so far.


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