Martin didn’t admit Jo Minjoon’s guess. However, it was already a pointless thing. Jo Minjoon and the others were already half certain of it. Martin’s dispirited attitude was also one of those reasons. Anderson opened his mouth as if it was obvious.
“Tokyo Harmony……Just listening to the name gives me a feeling that it’s a fusion restaurant. Has someone gone there?”
The only one that replied was Emily. Emily, that saw Anderson and Jeremy glancing at Sera, smirked and said.
“You all shouldn’t have gone. As I know, it hasn’t been a while since this place got Michelin restaurants. It didn’t have any stars at all and got all three at once. That was why I went there.”
“……..Mm, I have heard once. But I just looked pictures because I didn’t have the chance to go.”
Anderson mumbled with a weird voice. Jo Minjoon opened his mouth.
“Should I show you a picture?”
“No. I’m not looking. You shouldn’t see a picture of somewhere you go for the first time.”
Anderson denied with a blunt voice. Jo Minjoon asked with a confused voice.
“I think I know the answer for that. Can I answer it for you?”
Emily raised her arm and asked like a student in a class. Anderson made a gesture for Emily to do as she pleased. Emily put on a serious expression and said. It felt like she was treating this like a quiz.
“Because you want to enjoy the first flavor, right?”
“………The first flavor?”
Jo Minjoon looked at Emily with a weird expression and then at Anderson. Anderson nodded as if those words were right. Emily said with a triumphant face.
“You also know well. Appearances also take a role on deciding the flavor of food. But of course, for normal stores….so I mean for places that sell hamburgers or ramen, you can expect what kind of shape it will have, so it’s a bit different. But the cases of these restaurants are different.”
“Well, even the appearances are different. But of course, normal restaurants also work on the plating and decorations…..but normally, the more expensive a store is, they even hire a food artist to focus on the looks. But…..”
Jo Minjoon tilted his head as if it was a bit vague.
“Isn’t it also fun to spend a long time after looking a picture of a dish? You don’t know the flavor, and only the look. You are curious as to how it will taste, and the moment it’s served in front of you….I think that the emotions you would feel then would also be good.”
“Well, that differs from people to people. There are people that have those things last a long time, and people that disappear after a short time. It looks like for Anderson, it’s short.”
“Hm….Anyways, I heard that japanese people liked to talk while hitting around the bush, but it didn’t seem to be the case for restaurant names. Rather, it feels like they want do that to hold the theme of the store.”
Harmony. Combination. It was obvious what those words meant. People would have made contact or found it between japanese dishes and dishes from all around the world. Perhaps, that may be the strongest point Japan has. Localizing abroad dishes, and the globalizing of japanese dishes.
‘I think that Korea also has some personality for localized food.’
For example, the thing that was most talked about was pizza and pasta. Several toppings were placed and they put cheese, sweet potato, cream,etc. In the dough……On top of that there were even cases that they made the dough itself to have the shape of a pie or a coffee bun.
It was the same for pasta. Different from the west, that put sauces that stick to the pasta, in Korea when they raised the pasta with cream sauce, the sauce would fall down.
Thinking about it, it was an amazing thing. It was the same dish, but some people may feel that to be delicious and not for some. And the standard for that ‘something’ was that it could get different depending on the environment.
‘If your tasting standard changes depending on the environment you grew up…..Where will my standard be set at?’
Honestly speaking, he only thought that it was where he wished it to be. Because there was no rule in his mother’s dishes. At times, it was insipid to the point he couldn’t taste anything, and at times it was hard for it to take it close to his mouth.
Perhaps, that hard to eat cooking method was the thing that made Jo Minjoon establish his own tastes. And while thinking like that, Jo Minjoon unconsciously laughed. Rachel opened her eyes roundly and looked at Jo Minjoon.
“Why are you laughing like that?”
“Well, I got that sudden thought. That my mom not being able to cook well rather served as teaching my talent.”
“People normally get used to flavors their moms make since small. But for me to get used to it, the food my mom cooked…..mm……was a bit weak.”
“……I think that your mother will get sad when she hears that.”
Rachel said with an awkward face. You wouldn’t know if it was the past, but now she was the mother of his disciple. She couldn’t cooperate because of Jo Minjoon. And Jo Minjoon smirked as if there was no need to.
“If she was going to get sad at these words she would have studied cooking before. But it’s fine anyways. Thanks to that, I obtain my own tastes.”
“Cases like that aren’t nonexistent. Normal people become interested in cooking because of two reasons. Their parents cook too well or to poorly. But, why did you think of this so suddenly?”
“Thinking about it, it was kind of a mazing. That depending on your country, the place you grew up, your tastes changed. And I wonder how my tastes were established and on what bases…….Why are you looking at me like that?”
Jo Minjoon paused and then asked towards Rachel. She was looking at him with trembling eyes as if she was really shocked. Rachel shook her head like she was surprised.
“N, no. It’s nothing. I just remembered of someone……That thought, is a good one. Keep thinking like that. You will certainly gain something.”
“Yes. I will.”
At Jo Minjoon’s smile, Rachel was smiling back with unnaturally. She could only be like that. Because her heart right now was just like storm.
‘He says the same things…….as Daniel.’
Perhaps it may only be connecting things. It was something anyone could thing, and there may be more people that said the same things to her than she thought. However, was it because it was Jo Minjoon that said those words, she felt the meaning behind it to be deeper.
Anderson hesitated but ended up speaking. He glanced at Rachel and Jo Minjoon and then looked down at his fingers acting coldly and said.
“I also got the same thought. Just like the product of japanese people show up on the name of the store…….Cooking has more ideals behind it than what you can think of. Based on what you think while cooking, the restaurant itself can change.”
“That’s a good thought.”
Rachel smiled softly and looked at Anderson. Was it that he didn’t want to lose to Jo Minjoon. To express his thoughts right before a compliment was said, he felt really childish and mature at the same time. Because he opened his mouth even while knowing that he would get that feeling.
While looking at the three of them, Sera looked at Emily with vague eyes.
“This relationship of rivals, isn’t it really funny and cool?”
“Yeah. It’s always like that. It’s regrettable that epicureans can’t get rivals.”
“……You think so?”
“It is like that. We just eat and write our opinions, so do you think we are able to get rivals like that?”
Sera’s mouth shut down stiffly. You couldn’t know what she was thinking through those lips. While Emily started to get her doubts, Sera turned her head and opened her mouth. It was a kind of dispirited voice.
“Right. There’s no way there can be something like that.”
Michelin three star. The meaning that had was simple. A place worth traveling to go to that restaurant. It is simple but at the same time really magnanimous.
Although there was a saying that Michelin evaluators were rather lenient with Japan, it didn’t mean that the meaning of a 3 star declined.
Tokyo harmony was located on the beach of Tokyo port. It was a 2 story building, but just looking at the height looked like it was a 5 story one. The walls that had a round shape like a dome was made with glass, and because of that you were able to look at the sea while inside of the building.
“Wow……Certainly, after coming to Tokyo and coming to this restaurant, I think that I may only remember this scenery”
Jo Minjoon got amazed and said. The sea was being reflected in his eyes while taking some fresh air. It was when those eyes of him were looking at the western table, clean marble floor, and the rafters on the roof that Martin opened his mouth.
“We are soon going to start the live broadcast. We have quite a lot of viewers on standby today. 140 thousand. We have 10 thousand more viewers than the last start. You all remember the introductory words right?”
“Good. Then, before starting the broadcast, say all of the difficult or cheesy words you want to say now. Be it like I love you friend, etc. I will delete it from the scenes.”
“I know you won’t.”
At Anderson’s blunt voice, Martin scratched his head with an awkward voice. And soon raised his hand. Three fingers. Two fingers. One. The six people smiled towards the camera at the same time.
“Hello. It’s hunger trip.”
It was a clear voice, but it wasn’t noisy. Words started to pour down the screen.
[Oh, the camera opened. But where is this.]
[I heard it was Japan, but it looks really luxurious. Is it a Michelin restaurant?]
[Ah, I think I know where that is. It’s a three star restaurant located in Tokyo. Was it Tokyo Harmony. It was really delicious.]
The six of them just watched the chat window go up. Only after Martin sticked his face next to the window did they get a hold of themselves and turned to look at them. Jo Minjoon opened his mouth.
“This is a restaurant located in Japan called Tokyo Harmony. It’s a place Michelin gave three stars. We are all quite looking forwards to it.”
“We are, but how is it that you are even more so?”
“It’s the first time i’m eating asian food that’s ranked with three stars.”
Actually, just looking at the cooking levels, Higashino’s store didn’t fall down by that much. But of course, there were no 10 point dishes, but the average score was similar to a three star restaurant.
However, cooking wasn’t something you could judge with just the flavor. The surroundings was this open and beautiful, so how could that not influence in the flavor at all. In addition, there may be a lot more expensive ingredients than what Higashino used, so honestly speaking, there was a good possibility that the flavor may be better than Higashino’s restaurant. That was what Jo Minjoon thought. Even if you were an outstanding chef, you couldn’t do anything about the abundant flavor of expensive ingredients.
Soon, one of the chefs approached them. Jo Minjoon just looked at him. His cooking uniform was quite peculiar. It seemed like it was a combination of Japanese yukata and a western uniform. It was black in overall, and had several white bands on it. But there was something more peculiar than that.
[The chef came. But he’s white?]
It was just like the comment. Was he about in his forties. The chef that approached them was a white man with sand gold hair.
“Welcome to our restaurant. I am the head chef of Tokyo Harmony, Samuel King.”
It was an english with strong britannic dialect. Emily smiled brightly and opened her mouth.
“It’s been a while, Samuel. You are still looking cool.”
“Thank you. You are also beautiful Emily.”
“Uh…..I’m a bit confused. As it was a Japanese restaurant and a fusion one at that, I obviously thought that a japanese person was going to be the head chef.”
“Well, I may be half japanese by now. I have studied cooking in this land for more than 10 years already.”
“Samuel smiled gently and answered. Jo Minjoon looked down at the menu. There were words written in english and japanese in it. Jo Minjoon, that glanced at the whole menu said.
“There’s no differentiation with appetizer or main dish?”
It was like he had said. Although it was categorized as salad, noodle, rice, meat, sushi, sea food, etc…….There wasn’t an order to it. Samuel replied with a calm voice.
“That was the restaurant I wanted. A restaurant that doesn’t fit in the normal dining system. Ordering whatever food you want to eat whenever you want. Are you uncomfortable with it?”
“No, actually……I’m really comfortable with it. Because there is no uneasiness about what I should pick.”
Jo Minjoon laughed in a good mood. Samuel turned to look at them and said.
“I won’t be recommending a dish to you. I have done investigations after investigations to the point I could say that each and every dish is perfect. And I also don’t care about the order of it. Only one thing.”
Samuel cutted his words. And at the same time, servers appeared from behind him and placed down a total of three dishes in the center of the table. They were all pickled ginger.
“Every Time you finish a dish, cleanse your mouth with this pickled ginger. That way, whatever flavor you may try, will feel clear regardless of what you ate before.”
“It just seems like a sushi store.”
“I won’t deny that I got inspired by it.”
Samuel smirked and said. Jo Minjoon looked at the menu. Soon, his eyes stopped in one place. Steamed beef dumpling. Next to it, it was written as the origin was Kobe. Jo Minjoon opened his mouth.
“How about ordering a dumpling?”
“Uh…..ah! Steamed dumpling? If it’s a steamed one instead of a fried one, it won’t be that burdensome to eat at first. Fine. I agree.”
“I also agree.”
Like that, their first dish became steamed dumpling. After a while, the steamed dumpling that were on a steamer were placed in the middle of the table. Jo Minjoon gulped that and looked at that.
[Steamed beef dumpling]
Freshness : 98%
Origins : (Hidden, too many ingredients)
Quality : High
Cooking Score: 8/10
“It’s a dumpling we made by making the skin and fermenting it ourselves. I did my best for it not to look like it was lacking to the ones served at dumpling stores. Now. Eat it along with this soy sauce.”
Samuel mixed wasabi with soy sauce suitably himself. Jo Minjoon slowly grabbed a dumpling and sticked it on the soy sauce. And then looked at it with lovely eyes.
The dumpling that had the size of a finger was elaborate and cute. The skin that had a light colour trembled just like jelly, but it didn’t tear that easily, and you could see the ingredients inside faintly. The drop of soy sauce falling down the dumpling was quite lascivious and sexy, just like water flowing down the body of a woman.
That was why he felt some kind of guilt when he ate the dumpling. At first, it stimulated his lips as if it was kissing him, and when the stock inside the skin of the dumpling moistened his throat, his chest became numb as if he was a vampire sucking on the neck of a kid.
The soy sauce also wasn’t a normal one. Maybe it was because it was mixed with lemon juice, that a fresh and sour aroma cleaned his throat. And the juices that came out of the green bean sprout and beef was so moist he almost couldn’t differentiate if he was eating a dumpling or soup.
[Jo Minjoon is certainly the best when eating. He eats really deliciously. Is it because he’s more sensitive?]
[I couldn’t see him because I was appreciating Emily’s, face. How did he eat?]
[It looked like he was kissing a woman. I can’t express more than this.]
To the point even the chat spoke like that, the happiness, guilt, and anxiousness in Jo Minjoon’s face was just too clear. But it was when some time passed. His eyes that were closed to savour the flavor trembled a little. The window that popped in front of Jo Minjoon, the thing he was reading touched him.
[The origins of the beef…….It’s not Kobe but Matsaka?’
It was certainly written as Kobe on the menu. Of course, beef from Matsaka didn’t fall back to Kobe’s at all but rather it was claimed to be better. It wasn’t that they were playing with the ingredients.
Jo Minjoon looked at Samuel. Samuel faced Jo Minjoon and smiled softly.
“Is there something uncomfortable?”
“No. It’s not that……This…….”
Jo Minjoon smacked his lips. He wondered if he should be asking this. Because there would be no way to remark that if it was of the same quality. But if they had to use beef from Kobe and not from Matsaka, and the beef they were using now was a mistake from the kitchen. If that faint difference in flavor could make a more excellent dumpling….While thinking like that, he couldn’t keep his mouth shut anymore.
Because even the breeding of Kobe and Matsaka were different. It wasn’t simply a problem of origins, but brand. So the flavor could also be different. At least, it was like that for Jo Minjoon. Matsaka’s had more marbling, and the kobe one had a more harmonious marbling. If there was no difference on that, there would be no way people would prefer two different things.
Jo Minjoon opened his mouth.
“It was written as the origins was from Kobe on the menu…..But what I feel is softer and has a stronger flavor than the harmonious marbling I know. Is it really……..from Kobe?”
At that moment, silence fell on the table.
< Global & Local (1) > End
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Saihikawa