December 2017


It was a sad, sad day when the Beard Papa in the Pacific Mall (which was the only Beard Papa in Canada outside of Vancouver) shut down.

Tragically, I discovered this by actually going to the Pacific Mall to pick up some Beard Papa, only to find that the spot where it used to be was completely ripped apart (I think they were turning it another Chinese restaurant).  There was nothing left but a hollowed-out husk filled with unused equipment and shattered dreams.  It was heartbreaking.

Well, Japan is the home of Beard Papa, and it is just as glorious as I remembered.

You know what one of the (many) great things about Tokyo is?  It seems to be one of the few places left on the planet where arcades are still a big deal.  Having spent an untold number of hours and quarters in various arcades as a kid, this is something I can get behind.

I had a hell of a time getting from Narita airport to my Airbnb in Tokyo.  I’m not sure exactly where I went wrong — I had the stops for each of my transfers written down, and it all seemed straightforward enough.  But somehow it went horribly awry, and I found myself staring at the almost comically complex criss-crossing lines of the Tokyo metro, wondering where I even was, or where I needed to go.

I was at the Gukje Market in Busan, a huge street market that sells, among many other things, a variety of street food.  Nothing was particularly catching my eye until I saw a restaurant on the outskirts of the market serving up some seriously delicious-looking fried chicken.  Korean fried chicken (or, confusingly, KFC for short.  I was on a food forum once, and someone was asking where the best KFC could be found in Toronto, and I was thinking “uh… at… KFC…?” until I realized he was talking about Korean fried chicken) is kind of a big deal.  So I figured I’d check it out.

A bowl of cold noodles that are so chewy you have to cut through them with scissors before you can eat them probably doesn’t sound all that compelling to you.  You’re just going to have to trust me: they’re super delicious.

What about dumplings?  Yeah, everyone likes dumplings.

Well, you can get both — and that’s about it — at Choryang Milmyeon, a popular restaurant in Busan.