Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Random Picture #145

One of my biggest whining points in Japan was that the delis always sort of, well, both sucked and blew. There were two kinds of delis available, in general. There were supermarket ones which tended to focus mainly on deep-fried and breaded items (pork, chicken, tempura, croquettes) that could encourage plaque to form on your arteries with a mere glance in their direction and items heavily bathed in mayonnaise (potato, corn, and pasta salads). They tended to be the sort of things people used for bento lunches. Rice was made at home, a few ornamental flourishes like a half a strawberry or a random carrot slice were used as garnishes, and one of those fried monstrosities took center stage. These delis served a certain purpose, but they never did a thing for me as an avowed hater of fried food. That's right. I even dislike French fries.

The other sort of deli was the kind that were in department stores. They often featured a much classier and interesting mix of items. The picture above is a display case at one particular section. You can see that there are bits of grilled corn, bacon-wrapped asparagus, yakitori, and, of course, some deep-fried and breaded crap on a stick. The main problem with department store delis was not the quality or even the nutrition, but the prices. One skewer of asparagus with bacon is 178 yen ($1.99) That's pretty pricey for less than one spear with about half a slice of bacon cuddling it. The corn is even more dearly priced at 221 yen ($2.47) for about half an ear of corn on a stick. Of course, the other smaller issue was that this food was cold. That works fine for sandwiches, but if you're looking for food on the run from a deli with no microwave handy (and there was not at department stores), you were out of luck. 

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