Food: Asia and japan25 Mar 2011 02:47 pm

It is nearing April and that means a new school year. Although this is a sad time of year when students and teachers alike leave the school, it is also a time of gatherings with great food.

I am a part of the ladies club at work, which as far as I can tell means we get together and eat fancy bento lunches together a few times a year. For this occasion, however, the club organizers arranged for the 20 or so of us to have a private dim sum Chinese style luncheon at a restaurant near the school called Shisa no Charou.

We got a set menu lunch which retails at about 1500 yen normally.

Shisa are an Okinawa mythical beast (ie., not real). They are lion dogs borrowed from Chinese culture, and they are meant to keep businesses and homes safe. They come in all varieties; cute, scary, ancient, new… this guy is definitely playful. Also useful, holding toothpicks like that. There were shisa all over, as the name of the restaurant would suggest.

We all started with a tower of four Okinawan amuse bouches. Braised root vegetables, bits of fish, tofu, miso… just enough to tempt your palate, not enough to fill you up.

Then a light soup with chicken as well as mushrooms and other delicate vegetables.

YES. A warm up for my upcoming trip to Hong Kong. Various dumplings featuring scallops, pork and shrimp. They were fresh and light, but a bit gummy and over steamed. I think this is because were a bit late for our 12:30 reservation.

Several shared dishes came out. As is Japanese culture, the most junior women at the table served a fair portion to each of us. This was karaage chicken in a sweet sour sauce. Karaage chicken is the bomb; dark meat, deep fried? Yes, please.

We also got a shrimp salad.

A gohan, or rice dish to help fill us up, with ham and vegetables on top. I noticed many ladies did not eat their rice though. This is pretty common, even at school lunches.

We then had some very tearful speeches from the senior teachers departing. This is a big year of change for our school. Of 40 something staff 22 people, including the principal, are leaving. It is hard to see them go.

Red eyes were dabbed and make up retouched before we moved onto dessert, which was a trio.

Almond, or annin pudding with azuki beans, mint and a strawberry.

Warm kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) tart with apple topping.

Beni-imo, or sweet potato ice cream. The desserts were all very Japanese… no, actually; Okinawan – ingredients.

A delightful lunch with some teachers I will miss.

Shisa no Charou
/  シーサーの茶樓

One Response to “shisa no charou, haebaru”

  1. on 31 Mar 2011 at 6:52 am rick herchek

    hi kelly and mike hope your not turning green. things look bad in northern japan.i see your eating dog and burger look like home cooking.but the raw fish???