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Saturday, November 11, 2017

JAPANESE WAGYU, MATSUTAKE AND SHANGHAI SOUP DUMPLINGS IN PURGATORY

This is Part 2 of dining in Purgatory, extending my earlier post a couple of days ago, where I delved into the fanciful delicacy rarely seen even in the best of Japanese restaurants, the Matsutake Mushroom.  While not to be confused with truffles, MM nevertheless is supposed to have a particularly complex aroma, said to be a combination of fruity, spicy and stinky.  On Wednesday, I said my MM had no odor, which means even this $80/pound sample must have been of low quality.

However, my first effort was linked to beef shank, all of $4/pound, so, there was still hope that the second piece could well magically transform into something more sublime when matched with Japanese Wagyu Beef.  So off I went to J-Shop, and purchased a cut of boneless wagyu rib roll, and only for $73.50/pound, a steal, when this beef goes up to $100/pound here.


Note the marbling.  If you've never been to J-Shop, it is located on the Makai (sea) side of Young Street, just short of Kalakaua Avenue when traveling in the Diamond Head (east) direction.  It specializes in edibles from Japan, and is a dainty shop:


To begin, then:


That wagyu, Japanese rice from Hokkaido, two fresh Shiitake mushrooms (also not exactly cheap) to accompany the Matsutake, and a plate of Maguro (yellow-fin tuna or ahi in Hawaii) and Hirame (flounder) over sliced daikon (turnip) and ogo (seaweed), with shiso (Perilla frutescens var. crispa, sometimes pronounced chiso) and myoga (Ziniber mioga, a Japanese ginger).  It took me 15 minutes to write this sentence because my computer refuses to recognize many of these words, and kept changing them.  Incidentally, there is a relatively new store in Kakaako called The Rice Factory, which only sells expensive Japanese rice.

My lanai meal:


Sapporo Beer, Junmai Daiginjo sake and a Stanford red:


I also enjoyed the sunset:


The setting and meal, fabulous.  Matsutake?  If there was any smell at all, swampy comes to mind.  I guess I'll need to try this again with a higher quality mushroom.

I should have started with my lunch yesterday, which involved taking The Bus into Waikiki.  Incidentally, my $60 two-year bus pass just about equals a roundtrip cab ride to mingle with the tourists.  Anyway, that Wednesday posting also reported on my Shanghai Soup Dumpling (Xialongbao) experience in downtown Honolulu.  I thought it would be especially Purgatorial to repeat that meal, so here is a different kind of extension.

I got off at the International Market Place.  The third floor is where the best restaurants are located.  Yauatcha is a high tech and contemporary dim sum place.  The concept originated with Alan Yau in London.  There are three more in India.  He also owns Hakkasan, another up-scale Chinese restaurant, in ten countries.

I was met my an attractive greeter, a responsive kitchen crew and my server, Augustina:

I had two kinds of Shanghai Soup Dumplings, pork and vegetable:


All the above for $35, but can you believe that Kona Longboard bottle was half the cost?  If you ever go to Yauatcha, avoid the beer.  Next, back to Fook Lam, for the beer at the adjacent liquor store only goes for $1.  Otherwise, this Waikiki adventure was a wonderful experience, padding my passion for Shanghai Soup Dumplings.  

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