Thursday, June 3, 2010

Just the sight of food...

Yesterday, I went to a place called Namjatown which is essentially a food theme park.
It’s operated by Namco, the makers of Pac-Man. It is divided into three food-based sections, each with about 10 specialty restaurants and stores. There’s Ice Cream City, Gyoza Stadium (contains the best-of-the-best pork dumplings in Japan) and the Tokyo Dessert Republic. Right now, there is a theme which allows the stores to have cat-shaped foods, which are created specifically for the event.

Japan places a lot of importance on how food looks. Many restaurants display realistic-looking food replicas, which actually look as though you could eat them, which simplifies the process of finding a place to eat. Many menus also have pictures for each item. The sight of food is used to draw customers. This type of advertising directly targets one’s stomach and taste buds. However, Namjatown was a visual overload.

Exploring the two floors of unique food kept me in awe for my entire stay. The size of the place was almost too much to handle, because there was no way I could try everything. I had to pick and choose. I decided to start with a mixed grape & white peach soft serve ice cream. Then I entered Gyoza Stadium.

The picture below is just the entrance to Gyoza Stadium. There is a whole square hallway of stores with equally impressive menus. I kept mouthing the words “Oh my God” as I walked down the first hallway until I reached its corner.

I couldn’t really resist any longer, so I ate at this corner restaurant which served me the best gyoza I will ever consume in this lifetime. I exited after this otherworldly meal and, within one minute, sat down at another gyoza restaurant, taken in by the visual effects of its iron skillets in which the gyoza was cooked and served. I then ate some gelato shaped like a cat then went back for more gyoza.

My stomach was overloaded as much as my other senses. I hadn’t eaten anything from the Tokyo Dessert Republic.

I also hadn’t eaten from the Cup Ice Cream Museum, which has nearly any flavor you can think of, and many that you wouldn’t. (Cactus, anyone?)

And that’s only a single store within Ice Cream City. I’m a person that is constantly tempted to buy foods if I’ve never had them before, especially sweet things. Never have I seen so many foods in one place that I may never get to eat. Even though I couldn’t eat everything in sight, the constant bombardment of visuals made it so that, as long as I was in Namjatown, I wanted to.

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