Restaurant Review: Jiwan in Doha, Qatar

While on a last-minute daylong layover in Doha, Qatar, I was invited by In-Q Enterprises to write a restaurant review over breakfast at one of their premier clients, Jiwan.

Located inside the avant-garde National Museum of Qatar complex, with sweeping views of the Doha skyline and the Arabian Sea, Jiwan offers can seat more than 200 guests, both inside, and on the beautiful terrace. It opened in December 2019, and has been a popular spot on Doha’s culinary scene ever since.

National Museum of Qatar, Doha
National Museum of Qatar, Doha

Jiwan, which specializes in showcasing Qatari and other Middle Eastern dishes with a contemporary flair, comes from the Arabic word for perfect pearl. Before dry natural gas and petroleum were discovered, Qatar was a world leader in pearl diving; a “perfect pearl” is one that has a rose-tinted white color, with mirror-like radiance.

Furthermore, Jiwan is part of the Alain Ducasse family of restaurants. Hailing from France, Alain Ducasse was the first chef to have three different three Michelin star restaurants under his belt; in addition to France and Qatar, his company has restaurants and chocolateries throughout the world, including in the United States, Japan, Thailand, and Singapore.

Although those outposts generally focus on French specialties, Jiwan takes a markedly different approach. The idea behind Jiwan is to take Qatari and other Middle Eastern favorites, give them a contemporary spin, and present many of them to be shared at your table.

Jiwan’s menu and service reflect our generous hospitality – every effort is made to make you feel comfortable in our company.
Jiwan’s menu and service reflect our generous hospitality – every effort is made to make you feel comfortable in our company.

After having read that paragraph, I presume a number of us have one question mind: what is Qatari food?

The easy answer: let’s continue below.
Another answer: rice and grilled or boiled meat play a big role in Qatari cuisine.

However, if you’re more into learning about what the condiments and spices are like, then I’ve got you covered.

You see, with Qatar’s history along major seafaring trade routes between three continents, dried limes (loomi), ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom, and cloves play a big role in adding extra flavor to dishes such as:

majboos, arguably the Qatari national dish, it contains slow-cooked meat with rice and some of the above-mentioned spices. Tomatoes and onions might also be present.


harees, a rice and lentil porridge with meat.

But those are just a couple of the most popular examples of Qatari meals, albeit not typically served for breakfast. It would be fair to say that my breakfast at Jiwan turned into an early lunch, due to the affable nature of Executive Chef Morgan Perrigaud.

Executive Chef Perrigaud hails from the Brittany region of France, and possesses a distinguished background from having worked at Michelin-starred kitchens in France, Spain, and the United Kingdom. He’s a very down-to-earth person, eager to take on the challenge of trying to prepare modern takes on regional dishes for an extremely diverse clientele.

Jiwan Restaurant Entrance
Jiwan Restaurant Entrance

Soon after being seated, I was served a detox beetroot shake, Qatari coffee with dates on the side, and a bottle of still water. It’s important to note that every employee was attentive, with all exemplifying the Japanese concept of omotenashi, in other words providing good hospitality without being overbearing.

And then the first plates arrived.

Breakfast Selection
Regag, Qatari Coffee, Scrambled Eggs, Balaleet, Green Shakshuka

Starting from the left, we have eggplant regag. Regag is a baked flatbread made with wheat, salt, and water, and baked until slightly crispy. These regag were stuffed with eggplant, and were quite fun to eat. They were especially good the majboos-spiced eggs, and kale shakshuka, or soft-cooked eggs ordinarily prepared with tomato sauce. The regag and shaksuka was an especially memorable flavor combo; it was surprising to see kale make an appearance on a menu specializing in Gulf cuisines, but that’s all part of how Chef Perrigaud has been contemporizing the dishes.

The one item that seemed way out of place on an otherwise delicious breakfast menu was called balaleet. Although it’s certainly from the region — either from Iran, or one of the Arabian Gulf countries — as a postscript, I’m glad I was never offered it before. Basically, it is rice vermicelli sweetened with sugar, cardamom, and rose water, and served with strips of eggs; other recipes call for onions and potatoes, but Jiwan stopped short of adding those two things to this bizarre creation.

Although this was only “round 1,” I needed get up and move around a bit. At this point, one of the managers approached me to describe how much detail went into the design of Jiwan. For example, the carpet is colored different hues of blue, to reflect the Arabian Sea. Also, given that the name of the restaurant means “perfect pearl,” there are countless Swarovski glass “pearls” suspended from the ceiling.

Jiwan’s unique design appeals to the curious explorer
Jiwan’s unique design appeals to the curious explorer

And the terrace wasn’t too shabby either.

Pod Seats #2
Pod seats on Jiwan’s terrace
Pod Seats
Pod seats overlooking the Doha skyline and Arabian Sea

Too hot! I retreated back to my table for the next tasty round.

Fatteh (Chickpeas and Garlicky Tahini Yogurt) & Foamy Minty Labneh with Tamarind
Fatteh (Chickpeas and Garlicky Tahini Yogurt) & Foamy Minty Labneh with Tamarind

Two simple sounding plates with two exceedingly divergent flavors. And both were excellent.

On the left, a garlicky mash of tahini, yogurt, and chickpeas, something I would absolutely eat everyday, either with a toasted carb of some sort, or with crudités. Its companion to the right is labneh, strained yogurt, a Middle Eastern classic, but in this case made with mint and tamarind, and whipped to the point of being foamy. Coincidentally, there were some tamarind trees right outside of the National Museum of Qatar, which makes me wonder where in the country Jiwan sources many of its ingredients.

Housemade Baharat
Housemade Baharat

I asked for olive oil and flatbread to enjoy with the yogurt, and got a bonus of the chef’s blend of baharat, or spices.

Now, at this point, there was another short break between courses. I had sampled the breakfast menu, and was now being offered other dishes to try.

Ginger Saffron Rice
Ginger Saffron Rice

Ginger saffron rice. I was already quite satisfied with the carbs by this point, but I have to admit, the strong ginger and subtle saffron flavors made this unexpected dish a hit.

As I was enjoying rice, Chef Perrigaud mentioned something about charred octopus. Being a huge fan of seafood, I was curious to know if I could get in on the Cephalopod action.

Indeed I could.

Charred Octopus with a Chile Sauce
Charred Octopus with a Chile Sauce

What a flavor and texture trip.Grilled just enough for the right crisp, while still retaining both the flavor of octopus, and a slight chewiness.

Upon my request, the nice Sri Lankan chefs whipped up a chili pepper sauce to accompany the expertly grilled octopus.

If we didn’t have to worry about cholesterol, I’d eat this everyday, too.

Following a brief third respite from eating, it was time for dessert. Now, whereas I was quite satisfied with most of the courses up until this point, dessert was something of a letdown.

Pineapple with Mint and Saffron, Pistachio and Labneh Crepe, Hazelnut Cake
Pineapple with Mint and Saffron, Pistachio and Labneh Crepe, Hazelnut Cake

Clockwise from the top left, hazelnut cake, pistachio and labneh crepe, and pineapple with mint in a saffron and pomegranate juice.

In this case, I’d have to give the top spot to the dessert least affected by the hands of a chef, that is the pineapple. I’ve tended to consider saffron as a very strong flavor, but again, just like with the ginger rice, it took a backseat to the freshness of the tropical pineapple, and the earthy mint.

As for other two plates, the hazelnut cake was sorely lacking in flavor, and the crepe was barely sweet. That weird balaleet served at breakfast was much more befitting of a typical dessert than these two things.

I was hoping for something more local, perhaps luqaimat, fried dough balls topped with date syrup and sesame seeds, but you can’t win ’em all.

In spite of the subpar dessert, I had a quality time at Jiwan. The service was on point, Chef Perrigaud seemed like a genuine fellow having a good time creating the restaurant’s menu, and the rest of the food was a nice blend of local and international flavors. The clean appearance of the interior and terrace, unique location at the National Museum of Qatar, and welcoming atmosphere further sealed the deal.

If you happen to be in Doha, I’d recommend a breakfast or lunch at Jiwan.


My Favorite Dish in Hanoi?: Chả cá Lã Vọng

The title contains a question mark because I have liked most of the dishes I’ve tried in Vietnam’s crowded capital.

But I’ve made an exception for chả cá lã vọng because it’s a more unusual flavor profile than a number of the other meals in Hanoi … and there’s even a street named for it.

Chả cá Lã Vọng, Hanoi, Vietnam
Chả cá Lã Vọng, Hanoi, Vietnam

Created sometime in the mid-1860s by a Hanoi family called Doan, they opened up a restaurant in 1871, egged on by their relatives and friends who had tried the dish.

Chả cá Lã Vọng contains hemibagrus, a genus of catfish, stir-fried with turmeric and dill. (where’d the dill come from?) It is eaten alongside the Vietnamese staple of fermented rice vermicelli (stringy noodles, called bún), chilies, scallions, cilantro, nước mắm (fish sauce), and peanuts.

Just about every taste bud is satisfied when you combine all of those flavors; not to mention, things crunchy, chewy, and stringy (ordinarily not a plus) somehow harmoniously work together to create this only-in-Hanoi lunch.


Nissin Cup Noodles Museum in Osaka, Japan

Although Japan’s Ando Momofuku (born Go Pek-Hok in Japanese-controlled Taiwan) invented the cup noodle (instant ramen) in 1958, he was undoubtedly inspired by his visits to the United States in the 1960s to sharpen the concept.

After a brief stopover at the Mister Donut Museum in Osaka last year, I finally remembered that the Cup Noodles Museum was also located in the city. (any other carb-related Osaka museums that I’m forgetting?)

Whether it’s to wax nostalgic about your late-night college snacks, or it’s to see how zany the different ramen flavors have been, you might want to visit the Cup Noodles Museum to understand just how the one-time luxury food had come to be appreciated by the masses throughout the world.

Riyadh Food Review, Part 2 of 2: Local Finds

As I mentioned in the first part of my Riyadh Food Review, I was invited by Saudi Arabia’s Culinary Arts Commission to experience both iftar, or the breaking of the fast during Ramadan, as well as the growing Riyadh food scene.

Whereas yesterday’s post gave an overview of two luxurious iftar spreads in the Saudi capital, today’s post will give a brief look at a number of other places to grab a bite, Saudi food or otherwise.

Street Food

Culinary Arts Commission --Street Food Sign
Culinary Arts Commission –Street Food Sign

The first place I was invited to check out was a casual arrangement of food vendors in front of the King Fahd National Library. Since actual street food regulations are quite strict in Riyadh, roughly three months ago a laid-back place to grab snacks and drinks was set-up at this public park, conveniently next to the prominent library.

Sage Tea with Mantu (Meat Dumpling)
Sage Tea with Mantu (Meat Dumpling) @ Street Food Riyadh

The Culinary Arts Commission (CAC) was a sponsor of this project, which sees budding chefs and foodies alike preparing their special versions of balilah, a Saudi chickpea salad, mutabbaq, a filling Saudi pancake stuffed with a variety of savory or sweet ingredients at a kiosk called Al-Taif Chef, and even Neapolitan-style pizza and chocolate chip cookies.

My suggestion– buy a few samples, then picnic in the library park. The atmosphere is relaxed, and then eats, overall nice.

Café Bateel

Café Bateel, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Dates, Date Cake, and Date Coffee @ Café Bateel, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

With its main branch located on the nocturnally bustling Tahlia Street, Café Bateel is primarily known for one thing: Saudi dates. Given that dates have been consumed throughout Saudi Arabia for millennia, there are more than a few types of dates that you can try, including Ajwa (slightly less sweet), Sukary (sounds like “sugary,” right? that’s because it is), and Barhi, which is likely eaten fresh as opposed to dried.

Round out the date sampling with a slice of date and pecan cake, and wrap it all up with a date coffee, then you will be wired for an all-night feast.

Toqa Coffee

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More coffee!

As someone who only drinks one shot of espresso after a long-haul flight, I think I had more coffee over my few days in Riyadh than any one year prior. But coffee is a part of a Saudi culture … not the newfangled drinks or shakes, but coffee itself.

That’s why our next stop was Toqa Coffee. In part, it was for the marshmallow cream coffee, but also it was to admire the modern architecture intermixed with Saudi motifs.


After a short interlude at an Egyptian shisha café, my colleagues and I went to a Saudi-Italian mash-up called Bal’harm. Already quite full by this point, I was asked to try one specific dish: ravioli with camel meat.

Camel Ravioli at Bal'harm Saudi Italian Restaurant
Camel Ravioli at Bal’harm Saudi Italian Restaurant

I’ve got to say, even as a ravioli fanatic, this fusion worked quite well. After all, it’s pasta, and it’s meat– I’m sold.

The next day was slightly calmer.

Before iftar at the Ritz-Carlton, I had a tour of the carpet souk (market), the neighboring coffee bean souk, and a wildly popular restaurant called Alafrah serving ful medames, or fava bean stew; I didn’t eat there, as it was too early, but people were lining up to bring the ful medames home for iftar and/or suhoor.

First, here’s a cookie that I surreptitiously ate in the car. It’s called a kleja, and it contains cardamom and black lime; the inside is liquid, so put it in the oven for a couple of minutes for best results.

Kleja Saudi Cookie
Kleja Saudi Cookie

Supermarket at the Riyadh Coffee Bean Market
Black Limes, Myrrh, and Frankincense at a Supermarket in the Riyadh Coffee Bean Market

Alafrah Ful Medames Restaurant Exterior
Alafrah Ful Medames Restaurant Exterior

Alafrah Ful Medames Restaurant Interior
Alafrah Ful Medames Restaurant Interior

Tofareya Restaurant

For dinner that evening, I had a reservation with another CAC colleague at a family-friendly Saudi restaurant called Tofareya.

Not being terribly familiar with Saudi food, I was looking forward to this meal more than most. I knew that many Saudi dishes included rice and meat, but that was just the start.

Naturally, depending on the region of the country, certain spices, methods of cooking, and/or ingredients will be favored.

Saudi Dishes at Tofareya
Saudi Dishes at Tofareya

Per the Tofareya menu, the center dish topped with chicken is called saleeq; the rice is prepared like risotto, and has milk, mastic (a regional plant that made chewing gum chewy), and cardamom.

On the left is red jareesh, or cracked wheat cooked in tomato sauce with shredded meat.

At the top, qursan, shredded dough with meat and tomato sauce.

Finally, on the lower right with the pumpkin jutting out, marqouq. It’s a meat stew with vegetables, generally including pumpkin, carrots, and zucchini.

This was all accompanied by Saudi qahwa, or coffee, and a nice conversation.

I may have been somewhat full at this time, but everything tasted quite good. I’d be curious to know the history of the dishes, in particular why stews are so popular in a typically hot and dry climate.

My last full day in Riyadh was punctuated by three vastly divergent settings.

It started off in the most prominent Shami district, in other words, the area known for Syrian, Jordanian, Lebanese, and Palestinian food.

A third CAC associate was most familiar with the Shami zone, thus he volunteered to take me on a tour of the food, drink, items most commonly found during Ramadan, and everything in between.

Sham Dreams Restaurant
Iftar Take-Home Spread of Culinary Delights, Sham Dreams Restaurant

Sweet Cheese Dessert but Can't Recall the Name, Arafat Sweets
Sweet Cheese Dessert but Can’t Recall the Name, Arafat Sweets

Chicken with Sumac 'Taquito' at Just Tawooq
Chicken with Sumac ‘Taquito’ at Just Tawooq

Palestine Map
Palestine Map


Syrian Raspberry Juice Vendor, Riyadh
Tilt-Shifted Syrian Raspberry Juice Vendor, Riyadh (only during Ramadan)

It was a bona fide hit for my taste buds, as I grew up with a lot of those Lebanese flavors (not at home, but in the neighborhood). Not to mention, I’ve got a major Achilles’ heel for baklava and künefe/knafeh.

Al Sudah

Al Sudah is a cool place, as the restaurant specializes in a traditional way of cooking in ‘Asir province, in the southwestern part of Saudi Arabia. (Coincidentally, Al Soudah is the name of a city in ‘Asir province)

In essence, lamb (or camel) is thrown into an iron pot buried underground, then covered with wood, markh tree leaves, and straw. Cloth is placed on top of that, so that the heat stays in the pot. After 2-3 hours, the meal, called heneeth, is ready.

Al Sudah Saudi Restaurant, Riyadh (1)
Al Sudah Saudi Restaurant, Riyadh (1)

Eating the Traditional Saudi Way, Relaxed, and on the Floor
Eating Heneeth the Traditional Saudi Way, Relaxed, and on the Floor

Simply scoop up the rice and meat with your hands — it’s family-style, after all — add some yogurt, lemon juice, and/or hot sauce, et voilà!

The meat easily separates from the bone, so heneeth is a dish made for fussy eaters.

You can’t find too many restaurants like this in Riyadh, so visit Al Sudah for some fun desert cooking.


The last meal of my food visit to Riyadh was at a restaurant called Takya. Takya is located in an upmarket dining and shopping area called Bujairi Terrace, in a larger historical and governmental district called Diriyah.

Al Fresco Dining at Takya, Riyadh
Al Fresco Dining at Takya, Riyadh

The restaurant showcases contemporary versions of Saudi meals — to the point that some are recognizable only by taste — and with an artistic tinge.

Five Types of Bread with a Dill Yoghurt Sauce, and Orange Marmalade Olives
Five Types of Bread with a Dill Yogurt Sauce, and Orange Marmalade Olives

Mantu (Meat Dumplings) and Mathlotha (Rice and Durum Wheat Balls Stuffed with Black Lime and Red Chili)
Mantu (Meat Dumplings), and Mathlotha (Rice and Durum Wheat Balls Stuffed with Black Lime and Red Chili)

(Left) Girsan, or Bread Rolls with Vegetables and Black Lime Syrup, and (Right) a Tasty Meat and Rice Dish
(Left) Girsan, or Bread Rolls with Vegetables and Black Lime Syrup, and (Right) a Tasty Meat and Rice Dish

Takya Desserts
Takya Desserts

I may not know the name of all of the desserts, but that one on the left, the dates covered in a crispy sugar shell, was something else. Apparently, it was Takya’s take on areekah, made with mashed dates, crumbled bread, and cream. What an oeuvre on a plate.

I was going to write I’d go back to Takya in a heartbeat, but really, I’d go back to every single one of the places I tried while in Riyadh.

It was a delicious time, albeit brief, in which I learned a bit about Saudi food, the burgeoning Riyadh gastronomic scene, and most importantly, about what the Culinary Arts Commission represents.

It would be great to explore more hyperlocal Saudi cooking methods and raw materials, especially to see the process of how olive oil, dates, and coffee start from farms and hit the stores. But why try to shove all of these experiences into one trip? Saudi Arabia is absolutely worth repeat visits.

Riyadh Food Review, Part 1 of 2: Breaking the Fast (Iftar)

This past March, I was invited by Saudi Arabia’s Culinary Arts Commission, a division of their Ministry of Culture, to discuss and experience the rapidly evolving food scene in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Led by Mrs. Mayada Badr, who has an extensive background in the culinary arts, the Culinary Arts Commission (CAC) was introduced in February 2020 with the following vision:

  • To research and document historical Saudi cuisine
  • To promote Saudi cuisine on the world stage
  • To help make Saudi Arabia a culinary destination

I found that everyone on the CAC team was quite dedicated to those three main goals, and that all had brought their unique backgrounds and talents for the benefit of Saudi Arabia.

My visit happened to coincide with the start of Ramadan (رمضان), the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, when the new crescent moon can be seen. Ramadan is particularly notable because it is believed that the first words of the Qu’ran were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) during this time.

Crescent Moon over Riyadh's Kingdom Centre
Crescent Moon over Riyadh’s Kingdom Centre

Consequently, Ramadan became the time to brush up on reading the Qu’ran, to show mercy, and to offer forgiveness.

However, to most non-Muslims, it is best known as the month of fasting between sunrise and sunset.

That also means, from dusk to dawn, there’s a lot of food to be enjoyed.

For a short primer–

  • suhoor (سحور) is the meal eaten pre-dawn, before one begins to fast
  • sawm (صوم‎) means fasting
  • iftar (افطار) is the meal that breaks the fast at dusk; given the hunger pangs by that time, it’s generally buffet-style

For part one (of two total parts), let’s visit a pair of delectable iftar spots in Riyadh.

The Ministry of Culture’s Ramadan Tent

On the first night of Ramadan, I was presented with a VIP ticket to the Ministry of Culture’s Ramadan Tent, located close to the burgeoning economic district of the metropolis.

Forming part of the greater Ramadan Season series of events, the Ramadan Tent is open from 17:00 – 03:00. For iftar, you can feast on the culinary delicacies of not only the Middle East, but also Italy and South Asia. Then, just outside of the tent, there’s shopping, entertainment, and snacks/drinks to enjoy. Once you’ve gotten your fill of everything else, you can go back inside of the tent for suhoor offerings.

I had some nice conversation with locals and tent staff; people were in especially good spirits because this was the first “Covid-19 is in our rear window” Ramadan season.

And I gobbled up just about everything that I put on my plate.

(I’ve got a number of photos for your viewing pleasure; there were purple lights everywhere, so please forgive the purplish hues spotlighting everything.)


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Iftar at the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh

How could an event like the Ramadan Tent be topped? Well, it wouldn’t need to be topped, but it did find match at the opulent Ritz-Carlton Riyadh.

Originally designed as a guest house for visiting dignitaries, it … definitely shows.

Ritz-Carlton Riyadh Lobby
Ritz-Carlton Riyadh Lobby


Once I got over the fact that the hotel wasn’t built with me in mind, I made my way over to the Saudi coffee display in the lobby.

Saudi Coffee Ceremony Display @ the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh
Saudi Coffee Ceremony Display @ the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh

During Ramadan, it wasn’t in use, but typically someone would be there to show guests the elaborate ceremony involved in preparing coffee, Saudi-style. There’s even a type of coffee found only in Saudi Arabia/Yemen, called Khawlani (and here I thought there was just Arabica and Robusta).

n.b coffee in Arabic is قهوة (qahwa). Depending on where you are in Saudi Arabia, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, or saffron might be added. Not to mention, 2022 was the Year of Saudi Coffee!

On with the food, right?

I was intrigued to find the buffet not outside, nor in a standard issue restaurant setting, but wrapped around the Ritz-Carlton’s swimming pool.

Ritz-Carlton Riyadh Swimming Pool
Ritz-Carlton Riyadh Swimming Pool (with the iftar buffet in the background)

Seating however, was entirely outside … quite nice when you’ve got wonderful March temperatures like that (summertime might be another story).

Outdoor Seating
Outdoor Seating

As for the food, there was a good mix of Saudi, Levantine, random (e.g. sushi), Indian, salads, and dessert.

In particular, I had a long chat with the pastry chef, who then prepared a giant plate of regional and Western desserts for me. One of the more memorable dishes was umm ali, a bread pudding-like dessert originally hailing from Egypt, and consisting of puff pastry, milk, cream, and a bunch of other goodies such as a coconut, various nuts, and sometimes raisins.

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I had a blast at both the Ramadan Tent, and the Ritz-Carlton Riyadh iftar, but there’s something I haven’t shared with you yet.

Iftar represented only one piece of a day’s meals. There were heaps more things to eat — and to drink — but after all of that buffet fun, was I up for the task?

Stayed tuned for Part 2 of this Riyadh Food Review!

Butter Juice

Ah, the weirdness that you can find in a Japanese food store.

I suppose it’s subjective — something weird to us isn’t necessarily unusual in its home market.

But in this case, R&D (research & development) might have gone a little overboard in the drinks category.

Late last summer, I was investigating new snacks to try at a convenience store, called konbini (コンビニ) in Japanese, when my peripheral vision caught a glimpse of this trio: a sweet potato shake, a zunda shake, and some type of buttery drink.

Let’s go with butter juice; it has a catchy but misleading ring to it.

How did it taste? Hmm ….

Japanese B-Grade Food: Hanton Rice (ハントンライス)

In a country where food packaging and displays are meticulously presented, regardless of whether you’re in a wealthy neighborhood food market or standard issue convenience store, the same idea also applies to meals.

If you go to a high-end omakase (おまかせ・お任せ) — that is, one where the chef chooses your menu — sushi restaurant, each piece will be placed onto your geta (下駄), or wooden tray, as if it were a work of art.

On the other hand, if you’re in a casual place to eat, those chefs generally don’t slouch either. It could be a beef bowl, ramen, or omuraisu, but when presented to you, it still looks like an exhibit … in a food museum anyway.

This transitions us to the Japanese genre of food called B-kyu gurume (B級 グルメ). In English, it would be translated to something like B-grade food, and refers to cheap ingredients that “appeal to the masses.” Think carnival fare, fried stuff, and things that you might have dreamed of us once, but never dared to try in the kitchen.

Hanton rice (ハントンライス) is one of those things. Hailing from the city of Kanazawa, what started off as fried fish with paprika atop an egg and pasta has become something equally carb-heavy.

Curious? The more recent version has fried shrimp, fried pork, a fried croquette, and omuraisu, basically an omelette filled with rice mixed with ketchup. For toppings, ketchup and tartar sauce were thrown into the nuttiness.

Sounds too good to be true? Perhaps ….

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