Last week, I took another trip to 246 Common in Omotesando, where I had a gorgeous bowl of Okinawan stewed pork belly (rafute) served over rice. There were two pieces of pork — the meat on one piece was well-marbled with fat, while the other looked like a tea sandwich featuring a couple of layers of meat sandwiched between fat. A lot of folks will probably be turned off by the fattiness, but if you don’t have a problem with it, you’ll be richly rewarded with some amazing tasting pork. Two thumbs up!
Omotesando is widely known as being a very posh and fashionable neighborhood, a place to shop at high-end luxury stores. That is why 246 Common, essentially an outdoor food court/farmer’s market made up of a collection of food carts and specialty shops, is so completely — and wonderfully — out of place. I’ll use an analogy from Los Angeles: If Omotesando is Beverly Hills or Rodeo Drive, then 246 Common is like a piece of the Venice neighborhood, with its laid back bohemian vibe, plopped down right next to it.
This past Sunday, I checked out the Tokyo Food Festival which was held a short walk away from Tokyo Station, in the Maranouchi district. The festival was hosted by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries to “proclaim the merits of Japanese food,” according to the official English language literature. And what better way to proclaim the glory of your national cuisine than a multi-block street fair with various booths showcasing food products from across Japan, a national contest of local dishes, and sake tasting.
I was at the Tokyo International Forum near Ginza recently where I came upon a group of food trucks standing outside, ready to serve the lunch crowd. Food trucks have been a growing phenomenon in major cities in the United States over the last several years, and Tokyo has its share as well. However, the trucks are a lot smaller in Japan. Some of them are basically converted micro-vans that are ubiquitous in this country. Others are converted 1960s-area Volkswagen microbuses, which lend a cool retro/counterculture vibe. Continue reading