Monday, October 17, 2011

Slaying buffets in FUK

Sometime during the three years I lived in Fukuoka prefecture, I developed a crippling addiction to 食べ放題/バイキング ("tabehoudai/Viking," aka all you can eat) restaurants and deals. In true "vampire the buffet slayer" form we would descend upon these establishments, populated mostly by slim Japanese women, and put them out of business. Unlike CiCi's Pizza and the Golden Corral, there is little shame in slaying Japanese buffets because even though you're eating the same amount of calories, they're coming from tasty gourmet food made on premises, often from locally grown and fresh ingredients. It also helps that the places tend to be decorated impeccably and the clients do not appear to have compulsive overeating disorders. I gotta say, one of the toughest culture shocks I've faced upon coming home was acceptance of the fact that I will only get to slay nice buffets at weddings and hotels.

During my time in Fukuoka I submitted "Top Five" articles every month to "The Refill," a newsletter put out by some other English teachers in the area. "The Refill" itself is of food-centric origin. From its website:

"As you may know, Fukuoka is famous for a soup noodle dish called ramen (this might be an understatement). There are many ways to make a bowl of ramen your own: a dash of this, a splash of that, or a side of those. But ramen stores in Fukuoka offer another option: a second helping of delicious noodles, called kaedama. This lets happy patrons refill their bowls with noodles, extending the life of the broth. This parallels the purpose of The Refill: Filling you in about the Fukuoka community and providing insight into life in Japan."

By far my best (and most heartfelt!) Refill article was "All You Can Eat Buffets," which was published in the spring edition. Screencap and link are below.

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