Saturday, September 18, 2010


An izakaya is normally described as a Japanese pub: a place where you go to drink, but which also serves decent food. The comparison is apt, but I think an izakaya is more like a Japanese tapas restaurant: a place where you can order a bunch of small, nice dishes for sharing, and also drink yourself silly if you so choose.

Last night, Nana and I had our first izakaya experience since coming to Fukuoka when we sat down for dinner at Enya, a dim, cozy place on the market street between Fujisaki and Nishijin. We didn't drink, but boy did we eat! And not a bite crossed our plates that wasn't delicious.

Round one was kushiyaki, or grilled stuff on skewers. (Like yakitori, but yakitori technically means chicken.)

We ordered a set of pork skewers, plus a skewer of green chillies and leeks. From left to right, we have (I think): tripe, tongue, some kind of white meat, and pork belly (think bacon, but not cured). All delicious, but that pork belly was out of this world. Took us back to our samgyeopsal days in Korea!

Round two was fried mushrooms, which we were specifically instructed to dip in a tray of salt.
Nana says this was probably her second-favorite, after the pork belly.

Third round was a plate of potatoes with parsley in butter.
Tasty, but a bit on the bland side, I think.

And finally, we have some squid dumplings.
My second-favorite, but I don't think Nana cared for them as much.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Singapore Sights

I'd hate for you to think that all we did in Singapore was eat, although that comprised a disturbingly large portion of our non-work trip. (And JJJ, I actually wrote this post in the airport without internet and saved it for a later upload). So here are some sights of Singapore.

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple front roof, Little India:

Side gate ornaments.

I love this cow's attitude. He's all like, "What? I'm a cow. On a wall. Whatcha gonna do about it?"

16th Ngee Ann City National Lion Dance Championships 2010:

This was happening in a big plaza in front of a mall complex on Orchard Road, the main shopping street and the street nearest our hotel. This is the same trip in which we got lost trying to find an underpass and ended up in the mooncake mall. I gotta say, I know how to get lost.

The lion dance involves two guys wearing shiny fringy pants making up a lion body a la the more famous dragon dance. The lions are adorable:

And did I mention that the dance is done on posts? Like, six-feet-off-the-ground posts? And they leap around while carrying a giant lion head? See footage here. No wonder this dance has a championship.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Singapore suffering!

The Singapore airport has security checkpoints at each individual gate. On this side of the gate, there is a drinking fountain, but not a toilet. This is a serious engineering flaw. I can even SEE the toilet through the glass walls, yet it is forever out of my reach.

Curse you, distant toilet! So near, yet so far!

Nana Drinks Weird Stuff For Your Entertainment: F&N Seasons Soya Bean Drink

I am so glad I chose this, because the guy at the register was speaking Chinese to the lady beside me, and so I busted out some rusty Mandarin to ask how much things cost, thereby leading to the lady telling me I had a Beijing accent. I had to ask why, because what I mostly associate with the Beijing accent is the tendency to put a really nasally "r" sound on the end of words ending in vowels, wherein, for instance, "chu-kou," or exit, becomes "chu-KAAAARRRRR." Justin finds this accent hilarious and has actually trained his ear to identify Beijingers in airport lounges without understanding a single word of their conversation.

To the best of my knowledge, I have never produced such a sound, except in deliberate imitation. So I had to know why she thought I sounded Beijing-y. She said it was my pitch more than anything else. Apparently Singaporean Chinese speakers speak very low in their vocal register, whereas mainland Chinese use a higher-pitched voice.

But back to the drink. Soya Bean Drink. What does it taste like?

It tastes like you took mochi (the Japanese rice cake), threw it in a blender, and cut it with some soy milk. Creamy and smooth, sweet but not sugary. A very thick and hearty beverage, almost more snack than drink. Not at all offensive, but not at all something I felt the need to add to my evening's tally after wreaking caloric havoc across Little India. Didn't finish, but might buy if I lived here and was hungry between meals.