Thursday, April 03, 2008

Eki-ben and other eats.

For spring break I took a Seshun18kippu trip making a loop from Sanda->Osaka->Nara->Kameyama->Nagoya->Gifu->Takayama->Toyama->Kanazawa->Osaka->Sanda. I'm going to feature some of the photos and things I did over that trip over the next week.


At Minoota station I changed trains and bought this ekiben (train station lunch box) from a man on the platform for ¥950. I'm not the biggest mushroom fan but this bento was great. I love bamboo shoots and the pickle was made from persimmion I believe. The grandpa I bought it from kept asking me "Rice, OK?" using the Japanese/English word "raisu" instead of gohan. I was trying to ask him what was in the bowl when he questioned me about my stomachs ability to handle foreign starches, but I gave up told him, "Of course, I can eat rice." Every once and a while where you get the can you eat rice question. Some people get mad at this stuff. I feel he was looking out for me. What if I really couldn't eat the bento? Now of course the reason for his concern was completely wrong, but I didn't have the time or the need to correct him. In the end I got a good bento and a wonderful seat on the train for the trip up the mountain to Takayama.

Best Ekiben. Ever. Miso. Takenoko (bamboo shoots). Mushrooms. Beef. Sweet Plum. Tofu. All in a self heating box. Oh, and micro-brew beer to go with it. Could anything be better. Yes! As I ate it I had a whole booth for me. Four seats. Could it get better than that? Yes! The view as I ate this bento was absurdly beautiful. Deep blue water. Snow still on the ground. Amazing. I found this one at Takayama station.

Toyama is famous for this type of pushed, compressed, sushi. It is thought to be the predecessor to the sushi we commonly think of. I've had a different version in Nara where they have thumb sized pieces wrapped in the leaves of a persimmon tree. This was also quite good and the package was made from real wood and bamboo! I got the salmon version but they had others. This wasn't the best ekiben I've ever had, but quite good none-the-less. I got this one at Toyama station, but I saw it at Kanazawa station also.

The last ekiben of my trip was this duck sushi. This one was pretty good. I wish I didn't put all of the sweet sauce on the top, it turned out to be too strong.

Ekiben is one of the best reasons to travel by train. It's not hard to find them, but if you can't find them it doesn't hurt to ask. Ekiben ga arimasuka? Some stations don't have them. Gifu station for example doesn't have an ekiben. They are sold in the station on both sides of the turnstiles normally. Prices range from ¥500 to ¥1,500.

Other food.

I had misokatsu in Nagoya Station. Very good
I had kaisendonburi (seafood rice bowl) in Kanazawa.
Maccha green tea with manjyu in Kenrokuen, Kanazawa.


Molly said...

what's the idea behind foreigner's not being able to eat rice? our stomachs can't digest it correctly?

the eki-ben look so good!! :D i've been really craving some good japanese food and haven't got it yet :P

sleepytako said...

I don't know. I would guess that because he was quite old and most likely never had much experience with foreigners so he might have thought that we don't like rice and only eat.

That stomach line was me being funny. He didn't say that.