The downside to trips like this is that I end up spending a lot of time alone. With the language difference, I can walk around for hours with out understanding anything that anyone around me is saying, none of the ambient noise of familiarity, until I feel like I exist in a bubble. Mealtime is when it really hits.
Eating is a pleasure that is doubled in the sharing. That moment of “Ah” when the day is over and you relax with someone over a meal is one of my favorite times in life. Last night, I was beginning to feel the loneliness and knew that I needed a supper that would not only be comforting and delicious, but would also give me something to intrigue my mind in lieu of conversation. I did a little research and found a ramen restaurant in the Miramar Building nearby that was well reviewed and took off looking for solace in a bowl.
I was eventually seated at a single table on a little red stool. The table had been pulled apart from another table so it was sans condiments, but all of the food going by looked great and the waitress was friendly. I ordered an Asahi and a bowl of tonkotsu or pork bone ramen. The broth was incredible- milky white, rich and buttery with intriguing flavors lurking under the surface. There was cabbage, scallion, thin slices of what looked like wood ear mushrooms and some gorgeous chunks of braised pork belly all atop a tangle of chewy ramen noodles.
There are worse places to be than alone with a warm delicious bowl of soup that is as rich and comforting as the best chicken noodle but is also exotic and unfamiliar enough to leave me wanting to know more. I sat silently and drank my Asahi and the smoky oolong tea from the tiny glass and mug, thinking about this opportunity that I have to be challenged and have my horizons expanded. I don’t want to miss out on moments like this just because I’d rather not eat alone.