Food’s aplenty in Tokyo, and even as a poor student, I can get my fill of good Japanese food nearly at every block. I’m pretty sure I could find some cheap (good!) Ramen joint, even in Ginza. Why? Because salary-men (サラリマン) don’t have that much money either! Back in 2000, my dad brought us to a back alley in Shinjuku which had the most amazing chaa-shuu ramen I have had up til now. It’s my mission to find that place again.
I remember reading a report years ago, that said that the average amount working Japanese men and women paid for lunch was a maximum of 1000yen. So really kids, it’s not that hard to find a good lunch out there. I utterly refuse to eat cheap and subpar food if there is cheap and delicious food around.
Onigiri is, other than your various mutations of instant noodles (cup ramen カップラーメンhere), one of the cheap stables you can get for around 100yen. Of course, if you’ve got a rice cooker and a kitchen, it’s far more cheaper to make your own, but for convenience sake (and also the fact that my shared kitchen is more smelly than not) I buy mine from the store across the street or from the convenience stores nearby. It’s pretty much my choice of breakfast. That or a soyjoy (120yen) and a glass of milk makes me ready to go.
Ramen (ラーメン）is, in my humble opinion, one of the quintessential Japanese foods. There are so many variations — the above here is Jangara Ramen, a local concoction from Kyuushuu — from each district or prefecture in Japan that you could make your whole life’s mission to just eat as many different ramen as possible! For me, I’m content with just trying to eat as many different kinds in Tokyo before I leave. Today, I’ll be trying to find Merci, a famous ramen-ya by the Waseda Campus, which has been patronized by students for years!
Of course there is is conbini (convenience store) food. I’ve traveled to many places in the world, but I’ve yet to find a country that sells convenience store meals as tasty and as varied as Japan! This was one of my dinners. 373yen for a hamburger set. I wouldn’t say that it’s delicious, but it was tasty enough for a hungry girl. Pretty awesome! I want to find the prawn gratin that my friend ate all the time in Keio.
The campus itself is chock-full of reasonable eats. While the Cafe at Okuma Garden serves slightly pricier meals as compared to the cafeterias, the grub’s pretty good too. The red curry here was flavourful — mix of beans and red curry, and huge chunks of pork. Cafeterias serve even cheaper meals and I remember getting a gyuudon (牛丼 beef bowl) meal for less than 400yen. It’s similar to the prices in Yoshinoya, but hey, it’s on campus. Prices are generally standard and don’t stray too far from each other.
Oh and there is MisDo, short for Mister Donut, my absolute most favourite donut joint. Coming here is like paying homage to the Donut Gods in the world. MisDo in Japan has had nifty additions to the menu. In Winter, they serve soup! I’m having melon soda (I’ve yet to find a place that sells bottles of melon soda!), a ham-egg sandwich, and a apple-custard crueller.
CoCoIchibanya serves decent curry (カレー) at decent prices. Mine cost 1000yen because it was a special keema curry, and I added two levels of spiciness . And lassi. So actually, the whole meal was under 1000yen. Man, Japan. I love you. I had my stomach crying out in pain the day after I scarfed down this flaming monster.
Of course there are things like okonomiyaki I haven’t blogged about yet, or tried in this trip to Japan — so I’m definitely looking forward to eating my fill.
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