Lion in Tokyo

Ethan Gorges Himself on: Fried EVERYTHING

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If you ask me where I go most often in Japan, I would tell you Gourmet City, a supermarket about a 10 minute bike ride away that sells really good Bento-boxes for only 4 bux. What’s more, their sushi boxes go 30-50% off after 7pm (because Sushi go bad easily), so if I go late enough I can usually get like 20 pieces of sushi for just 5 bux. So for a poor college student like me with no kitchen in my dorm, Gourmet City is pretty much the best place ever and a straight up blessing from the gods. The gods of affordable college living that is.

The place has a huge section dedicated just for various kinds of takeout food. Right next that section is an impressive display of the various fried things. You know how you go to Japanese restaurants and they have stuff like shrimp and broccoli tempura? Yea, that, but with a much more creative selection of things being fried. And by creative I mean just different kinds of seafood, because you know, Japan.

Exhibit A. Truly one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

Exhibit A. Truly one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

Now I usually don’t eat these fried things much, cause well, they are not too good for you especially when most of the other Japanese cuisine is so healthy. But then I see this.

“Fried foods will be 50% off at the cashier!”

Before I know it I was somehow holding tongs in my hand. Guess I’ll be making a few changes to my dinner plan tonight.

Just gunna pick out a few things that look good...

Just gunna pick out a few things that look good…

Daddy's home.

Daddy’s home.

Just kidding I bought  one of everything that was offered.

Just kidding I bought one of everything that was offered.

Don’t act like you’re surprised. You’ve all read this blog, you knew exactly where this was going.

Also I apologize before about the bad quality of photos this time around. I was so overcome with excitement (at first) and self-disgust (after eating like the 8th one) that I couldn’t hold the camera properly.

The Challenge

Eating 16 pieces of various Japanese fried things plus a Chinese vegetable salad, in one sitting. That’s right, 17 servings of food in total. The most things I’ve had in one setting yet.

Enough to feed a family of  5 in some countries.

Enough to feed a family of 5 in some countries.

1. 牛肉コロッケ- Beef Croquette

2. ごちそうメンチカツ- “Feasting” Minced Meat Cutlet

3. マナガツオフライ- Pomfret Fry

4. 栗かぼちゃコロッケ- Chestnut Croquette

5. たに天串- Fried Octopus Kebab

6. 味フライ- Fried Mackerel

7. いかフライ- Fried Squid

8. 骨なしフライドチキン- Boneless Fried Chicken Breast

9. 唐揚串- Fried Chicken on a Stick

10. 野菜天串- Fried Vegetables on a Stick

11. 白身魚フライ- White-Bodied Fish Fry?

12. かぼちゃ天- Fried Pumpkin

13. えび天- Fried Shrimp aka Tempura

14. あじ天- More Fried Mackerel

15. なす天- Fried Eggplant

16. 黒ごま香るきのこかき揚- Fried Oyster and Mushroom Bundle

17. たくさん中華春雨サラダ- Chinese Styled Vegetable Salad

Put on some Game of Thrones as I eat cause I’m a classy guy like that. Also I still haven’t finished season 4 yet.

The Gorging

1. 牛肉コロッケ- Beef Croquette

Now I don’t know about you but I don’t really relate croquettes with Japanese food , but it is a huge part of the cuisine here. But then again, truth be told, I had no idea what a croquette was until I came here. This one had about 99.9% potatoes stuffing and very, very tiny bits of beef. No wonder it was only 100 yen.

2. ごちそうメンチカツ- “Feasting” Minced Meat Cutlet

Not sure why this is called a cutlet, but it’s basically a huge fried ball of…well, minced meat. Which is a good thing, because unlike the beef croquette, this one is FULL OF MEAT, pork to be exact. Taste really good and juicy. It is pretty much swimming in oil, which, little did I know, was only a preview of what’s to come. Later. like 14 more times.

3. マナガツオフライ- Pomfret Fry

Not surprising for someone who doesn’t know what a croquette is, I also had to look up what exactly I just had. The pomfret looks really good and tastes mad crisp too, almost like eating fish chips (chips of fish, not those British things). The bones insides though was still normal fish bones, not crispy enough to chew through and not small enough to just swallow. Nothing’s perfect I guess.

4. 栗かぼちゃコロッケ- Chestnut Croquette

Where as the beef croquette didn’t have too much beef, the Chestnut croquette had a ton of chestnut! …Or at least, with enough chestnut mixed in the stuffing that the whole thing is yellow. Taste better than the beef I’d say, cause the beef was bits of bland potato with the occasional beef while this is all chestnut taste. ALL CHESTNUT!

5. たこ天串- Fried Octopus Kebab

You must have noticed by now that that’s not an octopus on a stick but a…cylinder on a stick? In truth this is more like some sort of generic seafood-tasting dough/crab cake thing that occasionally has a piece of octopus in it and you’re suddenly like OMG THERES ACTUALLY OCTOPUS IN THIS and then you take the next bite excitedly and then it’s just that disappointing generic seafood taste again.
So basically it wasn’t too good.

6. 味フライ- Fried Mackerel

Another piece of fried straight up fish, except I’ve actually heard of this one this time (yay). This one taste much better though; each bite actually taste like fish! Maybe that’s why it’s called “aji fry”, because aji not only means “mackerel”, but also “taste,” which makes this not just a “mackerel fry” but also “taste(ful) fry.”
Honestly I’m just happy my Japanese is good enough to understand this pun.

7. いかフライ- Fried Squid

Okay this looks less like a generic cylinder on a stick, but it tastes every bit like generic seafood. It did have more squid in it though; the whole thing might even be an actual piece of squid! And the whole thing did taste pretty good.

8. 骨なしフライドチキン- Boneless Fried Chicken Breast

Okay I know the name is redundant cause last time I checked chicken breasts don’t come with bones, but I’m just translating here. The thing was basically McDonald’s McSelects or any generic Chicken tender/finger thing, but tastes much better because, well, it’s Japanese! (Japanese everything taste better right?) The best part is that, true to its name, the thing had no bones in it, on top of actually tasting good, of course.

9. 唐揚串- Fried Chicken (Karaage) on a Stick

The karaage is probably one of the most famous chicken-food-things (somehow can’t think of a better way to call this right now) in Japanese cuisine. Well, it can be other things too, but it’s usually Chicken, marinated, spiced and deep-fried to perfection; basically like my favorite thing about Japanese food. This particular batch managed to taste good even after sitting in the supermarket for more than half the day (why else would it be half off); that’s how good these things are.

10. 野菜天串- Fried Vegetables on a Stick

Eating fried vegetables is pretty much like lying to yourself because you’re eating probably the only healthy thing in your diet the most unhealthy way possible. So I just ate this like it was a fried piece of meat or something, and it…actually tasted pretty good. Like the octopus, this was just some generic-vegetable tasting cylinder thing on a stick but I enjoyed tasting something not fish or meat for once. Except for the bits with carrots in it though; I hate carrots.

Taking a short break here to access how much I’ve eaten and briefly estimate how much closer am I to dying from diabetes. Seriously it took me like an hour to eat this much and I didn’t feel too good at that point. Everything is also slowly starting to taste the same, like that time I had escargot and it tasted just like a melted ball of butter. Sigh, you do what you gotta do for your blog I guess.

11. 白身魚フライ- White-Bodied Fish Fry?

Okay my culinary/cultural ignorance finally caught up to me again because I had no idea what kind of fish this is. I fed the name into google but couldn’t find anything, so for now we’re just going to say I had some “white-body fish.” The good part was that this is actually REALLY good. The fish tasted juicy and fresh (somehow) and had absolutely 0 bones, so it was almost like eating a piece of really good fish fillet.

12. かぼちゃ天- Fried Pumpkin

Okay I take it back; the vegetable on a stick thing back there had nothing on fried pumpkins. This was the change in taste I was looking for, and it’s an actual piece of pumpkin instead of some random mixture of mystery vegetables. Was a bit on the dry side in general but that’s just how pumpkin is. 10/10 would eat again.

13. えび天- Fried Shrimp aka Tempura

And finally we arrive at tempura, a favorite among Japanese food lovers anywhere. Having those at legit restaurants usually cost you at least 200 yen, so this half-off version obviously didn’t taste too good. That’s not to say it’s bad; it was just generic shrimp fried with a crispy layer on the outside. It could also be the fact that I had just eaten 12 pieces of fried things beforehand though.

14. あじ天- More Fried Mackerel

So you know how in novels you sometimes have unreliable narrators that tell you the story from their point of view which isn’t necessarily true? Well I’m kind of like that right now because I’m so sick of fried things at this point I don’t trust myself to fairly judge what I’m eating. This piece of fried mackerel was a lot like the last piece though save for looking a bit lighter in color, so the taste was also very similar.

15. なす天- Fried Eggplant

Not a big fan of eggplants; frying them doesn’t make them any better. The already oily taste of eggplants is just worsened tenfold by frying it. Yuck.

16. 黒ごま香るきのこかき揚- Fried Oyster and Mushroom Bundle
Probably wasn’t a good idea to leave this for last, because the oily taste problem in the eggplant is twice as worse here and made especially bad by the fact that I just had 15 other pieces of already pretty oily things. Taste was fairly bland too. 😦

17. たくさん中華春雨サラダ- Chinese Styled Vegetable Salad
Not sure why there had to be “Chinese” in the name cause the vegetables are all fairly common in Asian cuisine in general, but I guess since apparently Japanese people love Chinese food no less than Americans do, this is just a marketing strategy. The salad just taste sour in general, with bits of rice noodles and cut up omelette pieces mixed in with the vegetables. Was very useful in helping me balance out the taste of all the fried stuff. No pictures here though…sorry.

The Aftermath

Two Game of Thrones episodes later, I am finally done. It wasn’t easy; I had to rethink my life choices several times throughout this whole affair. But I was finally done. I would like to thank my parents, my roommate, Chairman Mao and the Hound for their encouragement and continuous support. Special thanks goes to the hound, whose chicken-eating prowess really inspired me.

Smile for the camera, unintentional plate-Micky.

Smile for the camera, unintentional plate-Micky.

Rough Estimate of calories per item: 150 kcal. Some of the vegetables are probably less, but the chicken and fish are definitely more than 150.
Total Calories: 150 * 16 = 2400 kcal. Not including the salad. That’s going to take running 20 miles to burn off.

And this concludes that time I decided to eat 16 fried things in one sitting. I hope you enjoyed reading it because I certainly enjoyed eating…like the first 4 things. After that everything went downhill faster than a quarter can fall off the empire state building. The Japanese are pretty good at frying things though, and I hope I’ve at least educated you in all the different things they could put in a deep fryer. Order something different the next time you go to a Japanese restaurant! Just not 16 servings of them.

Tune in next time where I’ll eat the smash bro characters to see if little mac taste anything like the big mac.

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