Friday, November 07, 2008

Day 3 Tokyo: Perfect End to a Perfect Day

Exiting from Shinjuku Station (West/Central West Exits), we turned right and walked down the main road looking for dinner. Ahhh, upon turning right after KFC, we spotted a lane on our left. It was a long, narrow alley, flanked on both sides by tiny Yakitori shops. Just what I was looking for, authentic Japanese food! And the patrons were mostly Japanese dining after work, and each shop could only take about 8-10 customers. Not really conducive for dinner with kids, but the first shop we saw was spacious and we went back there after walking the entire length of the alley, oooh, the aroma from yakitori barbecues was just so tantalising. I told Eddie we must come out on our own for supper, we never did-lah.

Oh someone took a video of this alley and posted it on Youtube.

I later found out this was known as Piss Alley (Shomben Yokocho); from here, "Nestled in a warren of filthy alleyways in the shadow of Shinjuku station can be found some of the best yakitori and beer joints Tokyo has to offer. Charmingly dubbed "Piss Alley" by the locals for the fact that it lacked plumbing until fairly recently, the place is a shrine to Showa-era grooviness. It's comforting to know that shantytowns like this exist less than a five minute walk from the Jumbotron-festooned techno-paradise that is Shinjuku's east side."

I'm very much a kampung-girl lah, the more filthy the place, the yummier I think the food would be! One of my favourite makan haunts in Malacca was the cockles stalls next to filthy drains in the town centre. Shiok only! After every meal, Brian would turn to me and ask, "So, is that authentic?" haha, cos I told them, go to Japan, eat authentic Japanese food lah, not McD or tourist-trappy places.

Boys in Piss Alley, after a yummy dinner.

One of many tiny shops here.

Part of our dinner: Sashimi specially for me (portion larger than this, whack too fast).

Fried rice specially for Sean.

Salmon teriyaki specially for Brian.

Yakitori Chicken Wings to share. We ordered more cos not enough lah. The chicken wings at the back of the plate look blurry cos Eddie couldn't wait, was attacking them before I could even click my camera.

Yakitori platter to share.

Eddie always orders Gyoza if available.

Tori kara-age (one piece already eaten when pic was taken), some kind of fried chicken nugget, delicious, ordered more too.


More about Piss Alley:

From the article, The 50 Sexiest Place to be Fed by The Guardian UK. Coming in at No37:

37. Shomben Yokocho, Tokyo

Unromantically nicknamed 'Piss Alley', this cramped warren of ramshackle huts tucked between the back of a Shinjuku department store and some train tracks is home to a series of bars and yakitori stalls, serving beer, sake and delicious skewers of grilled meat. Sitting at one of the bars, late at night, watching as tired and emotional salarymen stagger home (hence that sobriquet), the neon flickering, the atmosphere is electric; like eating on the set of Blade Runner.

From other sites, it was said that Piss Alley was the place that inspired Ridley Scott when creating the street food scenes in the movie Bladerunner -- some movie trivia there.


bACk in GERMANY said...

Wow... everything also must order more for me!!!! So yummy!!!

Looks like you had a good time eating...
what do you say if we just go Tokyo the next time together, without the kids, and feast???? Like a girls' only trip... then no more roller coaster rides... no need to scour the town for McD and you get a sashimi kaki in me all the time! ;) Take me, take me!!!

Piss Alley... it will be every night!

monlim said...

wah!! *salivates* I'm so hungry now... was it expensive? yakitori was the one thing we didn't try in Tokyo... so sad!

Lilian said...

YES YES! LET'S do it! Dump the kids and hubs and we go have a really fun time.

You like filthy makan haunts too? If so, you can definitely be my makan kaki. My tummy trained in Malaysia though, so can tahan all kinds of food...Yours how? Boleh?

bACk in GERMANY said...

Filthy makan places I can stand...
filthy toilets I cannot!

Don't know if my stomach can tahan so much or not.... long time no training in M'sia. But the thing with raw food, my dad always says warm your stomach first!

Mon, no need to drool... come and join us for yakitori!

Lilian said...

Don't think so...I think it was about Y8000, and we ate till very full, with extra drinks. So it's SGD120, pretty reasonable lah right? Most importantly, Sean ate! Went to Sushi Tei at Ngee Ann City, and me, Sean and Brian ate (Eddie excused himself and went to Republic Plaza yucks) and the bill was $80, wasn't as shiok.

Every time we eat out in Singapore, it costs easily $200 these days (places like Jumbo or Tunglok), not cheap at all.

Lilian said...

Cindy, same here, I absolutely cannot tahan filthy toilets. Will retch and puke; Brian is like me.

That's why really hate going for long journeys in Malaysia, though things have improved a lot now. In Japan, no problem, all the toilets so clean.

bACk in GERMANY said...

Wow... someone high class taste, Tunglok for simple eating out ah!

Hee... I wonder if people always think that their wedding banquet was the best feast ever... I know I will always remember mine as FANTASTIC!
It was at Club Chinois and we never regretted hosting our banquet there!

Lilian said...

Chotto mate (sp?)...I didn't say it was simple eat out. We try to eat food court or hawker food more these days. But for nicer makans, our usual haunts is Jumbo, Tunglok Signatures, Hua Yu Wee, Yhingthai, Imperial Treasure; nothing more upmarket than that. And these places are getting more pricey I find.

Wahhh, what's Club Chinois, sounds very yuppie leh. Food very good ah? Can turn back time and send me an invite? I love Chinese wedding banquets. Always enjoy the food even though others will complain later that the food was bad.

bACk in GERMANY said...

Club Chinois serves fusion Chinese dishes. Feast was really good... you know, endorsed by all those older relatives - the ones who always complain alot and can never seem to find good food to satisfy their palates. Hmm... maybe they were being polite...

Can lah... turn back time and send you an invite... you also don't forget the ang-pow ok? ;)

Lilian said...

Talk about high class lagi atas banquet in fusion restaurant. Which year was this? Angpow no problemo, but will be at the rate back then lah. Actually, I don't even know the rate now, been a long time since I attended a wedding, phew :)

monlim said...

You in different league from me lah, Lilian - $200 for a meal? I can't remember when!! We are always on a budget, even in Tokyo, at most we spent $70 on dinner, I think... but maybe if I dump kids and hubby, then can splurge!!

Lilian said...

I think I'm just very greedy. And maybe because we're not in Singapore often, when we do go back, will order more than normal. But I know for sure even back in the mid 1990s, a Jumbo meal for 2 was more than $100. Now that Brian eats so much, the bill goes up lah. Plus Eddie's taste is a bit different from mine, so he must always order his porky dishes. Like I said, we do enjoy hawker food more these days the longer we are away from Sg, so don't really splurge much.

breve1970 said...

Everything looks so mouthwatering! No wonder Mon said your shots of the food make them look so delectable.

The next time you come back, we all go to Club Chinos for dim sum. Its at Orchard Parade Hotel near Ad's place. Wow... Cindy. Your wedding was held there...? Great food and ambience!

Lilian said...

Club Chinois so good ah? These days for dimsum, I go to Imperial Treasure Teochew Cuisine in Ngee Ann City. Pretty good. I used to go to Paragon's Crystal Jade but the standard dropped so much I swore never to go there again. Friends say the sifus there jumped ship to Imperial Treasure, dunno how true.

breve1970 said...

Yes Lilian... you are really clued in. Thats what I have heard about the chefs or shifus too. Think you will also like Imperial Treasure at Great World! Good dim sum and Cantonese dishes... aiya... my tummy growling now....LOL!

Lilian said...

Great World a bit out of the way for me lah...but I heard the Imperial Treasure there is really good. Cantonese cuisine some more, my husband will like. Will check it out next time then. But Club Chinois first :)

breve1970 said...

Ok, M'aam. Whatever you say. (Or is it whatever you have said:)).

Anonymous said...

Wow lilian, thanks for sharing this. I must go look for this lane!!

I'm one that is very stingy in everything except food. I dun mind paying if the food is good, and I have raised two spoil brats who will only eat in restaurant if I give them a choice.


Lilian said...

I'm just like you. Kiamsiap with everything except food, kids' books and maybe some gadgets like camera/computer (but can't be too expensive too).

Bob said...

your post is great! i had heard about this alley and would like to visit when we go to tokyo next month. i know it was 2 years ago but did you eat at the shop on left in the picture of your 2 boys (where the woman has the apron on)? the food looks great and our 2 kids would love it. thanks!

Lilian said...

Hey Bob, no we didn't patronise the shop on the left even though it looked really good. My 2nd son was and is the fidgety type, so we went to the restaurant on the right, which had proper tables. I'd have rather eaten at the authentic counter type of joints. Enjoy yourselves!