London W1J 9HX
Although there is a sizable Japanese community in London, I can't seem to find a Japanese enclave in London, unlike that of the Korean's in New Malden.
However, for fans of Japanese food, groceries, crockery and literature, there's always the Japan Centre, which is strategically located along Piccadilly - a stone throw away from Piccadilly Circus Tube Station.
Real estate is highly priced in Japan due to scarcity of land and the Japanese are known to be able to maximise every square foot. Likewise, the Japan Centre is packed right to the brim with merchandise imported from Japan.
Maggi, Myojo and me
There's a small section carved out just right next to the entrance, accommodating a grand total of three tables for the famished souls to feast on sushi rolls obtained from a refrigerated shelf just behind them.
There is a huge selection of Japanese instant noodles, tidbits and Japanese curries. Pork and beef slices for shabu shabu and sukiyaki (£3 - £5 per portion), and dorayaki ( £1.50) are also available.
Thinking of revamping your entire crockery and utensils? You've come to the right place. Japan Centre not only offers clay pots and pans of various sizes, there are potable gas stoves, plastic and earthen bowls with ceramic spoons and even 'training' chopsticks for the uninitiated.
That's not all. An inconspicuous staircase led to the basement, which houses a Japanese travel agency and a small Japanese honya (bookstore). Stocked with the most current editions of imported magazines featuring Japanese celebrities and shelves of Japanese novels and language textbooks, the store is packed with Japanese and non-Japanese alike during the weekends.
I'm a sucker for shabu shabu. Nothing beats tucking into thinly sliced pork lightly cooked in a small claypot of chicken soup over a portable gas stove during a wintry evening.
That with a bowl of instant noodles cooked in the same soup is just heavenly.
Friday, November 21, 2008