A sequel to my dearly departed 8-year-old blog, Ä Canuck in Emperor Akihito's Court"(http://haruhiko.blogspot.com). Back home in Canada but still have those ties to Japan after 17 years' residency there.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Ah, yes, it was a gorgeous day last Thursday, the last of the freaky Summer days we had in Toronto before normality came back. The high got up to about 26 degrees downtown...didn't even need a jacket. I met up with Shard at Christie Station for a bit of lunch and to touch base. We decided to make it a monthly thing.
Shard lives not too far away from Christie Pits, the main park in the area, so he is very well acquainted with Korea Town. I hadn't been there since I got back from Japan. I used to hit the neighbourhood from time to time to indulge in Korean BBQ with friends. I always had a good time there with the only casualties being my clothes and anyone who had the bad luck to sit beside me on the subway home.
As I said, it was a gorgeous day in the city. Shard told me that there was some urban drift happening there as it had been for Chinatown. Apparently, a number of the Koreans who had first settled in the area have moved outwards to suburban homes. Now, a lot of them just work in Koreatown.
Shard took me to one of his haunts called The Thumbs Up Eatery...perfect for Henry "The Fonz"Winkler (if you don't understand the joke, you must be under 30 years of age). We got there about 11:45, and it was fairly busy but there were no problems about getting a table.
For just $6.19, I could order a pretty heaping plate of Pork Kimchi, a sloppy mix of the famed fiery pickled cabbage with juicy slices of pork, next to a small hill of boiled rice. It was quite good although the kimchi was a bit sweeter than I'm used to. I kinda like my kimchi to have a bit more kick in the umami department. I used to make the dish myself occasionally on the weekends. Believe me, for you neophyte cooks, Pork Kimchi is one of the easiest things to fry up: just get 300 grams of any kind of pork, slice it all up into bite-sized pieces and then saute in oil for a few minutes. Then throw in a small package of kimchi. Nowadays, you can just buy the stuff at any Asian supermarket.
The condiments were purely complementary, and our very kind waitress even offered to get us one more round of them, but we begged off since our main dishes were more than enough to fill us up. There were the kimchi, the Korean slaw and some potatoes.
Shard's choice was a bowl of kimchi ramen. Not sure what that white stuff was in the centre. I think it was probably the Korean version of kamaboko, Japanese fish cake...a de rigueur addition to an Asian bowl of noodle soup.
I would definitely go to the place again since the food was filling and the service was very nice. The waitress was even willing to break my $100 bill...not an easy thing to do in this town.