Friday, June 1, 2018

Nosaka (野さか) - Chichibu, Japan

Piggily Heaven
Hiking, onsen and pork: the holy trinity.  If you're ever in Tokyo and want to get away from the concrete, jump on a train and head west to Chichibu for some hiking, a hot soak and a heavenly dose of "rosu-don" which is a bowl of rice, topped with fatty slices of pork grilled over charcoal.  Nosaka does it about as well as anyone, anywhere.

On a weekday, they're already lining up outside by 11am.  If you come during the weekend, be prepared to wait in a long line.  If you don't speak Japanese, it's ok, just practice writing your name in Katakana - you'll want to sign in on the small book near the front door to ensure you get a seat.  Once inside, you buy meal tickets from their typical Japanese vending machine.  Look for this: ロース丼.
While you wait, take some photos of their expertly crafted pig bush.  I figured this was a good sign for what was in store and I was right.
As is the case in most Japanese restaurants, the service was pleasant and efficient.  We've been in Tokyo for three months in an intensive Japanese language class and we eat out every day for lunch.  We haven't had one bad experience yet.  Every meal is good, every waiter and waitress is excellent.  It's going to be a shock when we leave and have to go back to the "normal" world.  I dread it.
There are three things that combine at Nosaka to make this meal supreme.  First, the pork is top notch, naturally, and fatty to boot.  Next, their miso is really wonderful.  Finally, they roast the pork over charcoal giving it a smoky, slightly burnt flavor.  After the first bite, I closed my eyes and groaned a deeply guttural noise.  I am not sure how long until I opened them again.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for another great post! I'm so jealous - I was in Japan for only a few days a couple of years ago, but I swear I had the best food I've ever eaten! I'm dying to go back!