Saturday, January 21, 2012

Seirogan and Shinobu

Mycol of Flickr
Saturday January 21, 2:18 p.m.

Ahhhh....yes, just 2 hours before I head on out to meet Laura and the family for dinner at Shinobu up on Yonge. my stomach starts to do backflips and I accede to its plaintive wails with at least one trip to the washroom so far. Not sure what the problem is...I think I've been eating plenty of fruits and veg recently. This brings me to the first half of this post's title (yes, it isn't actually the Japanese equivalent of "Rizzoli & Isles".).

Seirogan is the tougher, more pungent Japanese cousin to Eno and Tums. It is an antidiarrheal (oops, guess cat's out of the bag, huh?) kampoyaku (herbal medicine) whose smell has the blast radius of a low-level nuclear dirty bomb. With its most famous ingredient being creosote, Seirogan has the malodorous mix of the worst medicine and fried bacon. But generations have relied on it to resolve any gastrointestinal issues, especially during year-end party season in Japan. Judging by some of the street monjayaki I often saw on the subway platforms, I realized that even Seirogan has limits. Still, my mother was able to bring back a box of the stuff (one of the most recognizable items in the country with its orange box and trumpet logo)...heavily wrapped, of course, so that I could take three of the little black balls. If ever you suffer from the J-version of Montezuma's Revenge while in Tokyo, you can try some of this bottled chemo.

Now, as for Shinobu, I heard from The Wild Guy that this restaurant is one of the better Japanese establishments in Toronto, and it's not too, too far away from home....up on Yonge north of Lawrence. The Toronto Star's Amy Pataki gave a good review on it, so I'm looking forward to the experience since she hints that there is actually some more authentic izakaya fare there. It also serves natto, apparently, but I'm still looking forward to it.