Wonderful reunion dinner

I finally met up with some of my middle school friends. It's amazing how time flies. One of them now has a 7-year old son! Of course, the meeting took place at a restaurant. Our culture just dictates food and drinks at all gatherings. Business deals are usually struck at dinner tables over cups of sake.

Asians really can drink. I just happen to belong to the sub-group that can't. The drinking culture is quite something to watch. I used to think chugging down a glass of beer or taking liqueur shots are better left to college kids. Apparently this is quite common among adults here. I also had some beer, some plum wine, and a few sips of sake, but nowhere as much as the amount my friends had. It's quite cute actually. They urged each other on, pouring drinks for each other, joking and laughing as they went. The drinking games are very different here. No props are needed, just your two hands, and the games are played one-on-one, and the loser has to down a drink. Some games actually involves a bit of math. I had a go a few time. Being still mostly sober, I won most of them to the delight of my friends. I also chugged down a glass of beer (about a wine glass worth of beer) for the first time. It wasn't too bad since I was really thirsty.

Dinner was pretty much an excuse for drinking, though the quality of food was not lacking. We started with an abalone sushi and an egg custard with crab meat made within a crab shell. Then came 4 shrimp tempura each with a length of my forearm. We also each had a crab claw the size of an avacado. Raw oysters marinated in a sweet and tangy soy sauce/mirin mixture were served in a giant martini glass. Then the owner treated us a basket of fried mashed yam -- this was really, really good. The yam was probably mashed and mixed with some honey and flavoring prior to breading and frying. Squid sashimi was cut into strands and presented like a waterfall or a piece of fabric over a bowl of ice. Table-side grilling of well-marbled beef was served with sweet onion (similar to Vadalia) slivers and kimchi. Sweet miso soup with soft tofu and clams was brought over in a "paper pot" over glowing charcoal. The last dish was fried fish egg/ovary, which had a shape of a hair scrungie and the texture of uni (sea urchin egg) -- extremely creamy and rich to some, and completely disgusting to others. I quite enjoyed it though. The meal was concluded with lychee sorbet with fresh passion fruit as topping.

We didn't have to place our order for food. These dishes just kept flowing from the kitchen as we sat there until we told the owner we were quite full. With two bottles of beer (the size of a wine bottle, about 750ml), 3 glasses of plum wine, and perhaps 5-6 little vases of iced sake, the tab came to about $270 for 4 adults and a kid. Quite a good deal considering the food quality. What I take from the night is how adorable my friends were, toasting our careers, families, and friendship. We actually continued the drinking at a karaoke place till 2:30am with more friends, but that's another story.


John said…
How come you never drank like that with us!?
Albertitto said…
hmm well, first of all this beer tasted a little better. Second of all, if I had done that all the time I would be dead now :P
John said…
No you wouldn't- I'm not dead yet ;-)

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