One soup, three dishes: Start the day (and the new year) right with a traditional Japanese breakfast at Bangkok’s Okonomi | Eat/Drink


A traditional 'ichiju sansai' breakfast, which translated from Japanese means “one soup, three dishes.” – Pictures by CK Lim
A standard 'ichiju sansai' breakfast, which translated from Japanese means “one soup, three dishes.” – Photos by CK Lim

BANGKOK, Jan 4 — We're however a couple of days into the brand new 12 months but, for a few of us, it doesn’t really feel as if the 12 months has fairly began but.

Maybe it’s the post countdown blues (or, extra seemingly, a sequence of hangovers from a misspent — or effectively spent, relying in your viewpoint — New 12 months’s weekend). Maybe we merely want the suitable gas to shift our physique and soul into high gear.

That is the place a conventional ichiju sansai breakfast could present some inspiration. Translated from Japanese, ichiju sansai means “one soup, three dishes” or a whole meal to interrupt one’s quick and to begin one’s day.

At Okonomi, a Japanese influenced restaurant and café situated in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit 38 neighbourhood, ichiju sansai is their very philosophy – a nutritious technique to begin the day, day by day, whereas showcasing the finer particulars and craft that go into every dish that make up the meal.

Right here, the sum is the purpose of the elements.

Chef David del Pilar Potes assembling trays of 'ichiju sansai.'
Chef David del Pilar Potes assembling trays of 'ichiju sansai.'

Regardless of the identify, Okonomi is definitely a Thai transplant of the unique Brooklyn-based eatery. The Bangkok outpost is headed by Chef David del Pilar Potes, whose résumé additionally consists of skilled pictures, which could clarify the artfulness of each dish all the way down to plating and ingredient composition.

The star of every ichiju sansai set is often the grilled fish, be it misozuke hamachi (miso-marinated amberjack), shiokoji sawara (Spanish mackerel cured with fermented rice) or konbujime madai (purple seabream flavoured with kelp).

Accompaniments embody tamagoyaki (rolled omelette); tsukemono (pickled greens); aemono or contemporary seasonal greens, wearing a lightweight sauce; multi-grain rice; an onsen egg, slowly poached and dressed with candy soy; and a bowl of miso soup.

What a luxurious breakfast! What a easy but comforting meal — and the way satisfying too!

The 'ichiju sansai' accompaniments include multi-grain rice, onsen egg and miso soup (left). Snow Crab & Avocado Benedict (right).
The 'ichiju sansai' accompaniments embody multi-grain rice, onsen egg and miso soup (left). Snow Crab & Avocado Benedict (proper).

We’re not prone to go hungry for a lot of the day, but we wouldn’t undergo from the retributions of gluttony both; that is simply good. We're sated, not stuffed.

It happens to us that we will recreate our personal ichiju sansai at house too. In spite of everything, an indispensable a part of each Cantonese meal is a bowl of clear soup. Clear however stuffed with flavour, resembling double boiled pork rib soup with watercress. The very reminiscence whets my urge for food, deeply.

There shall be rice or a correct Cantonese congee — clean, with correct physique; none of that watery gruel — and there shall be steamed egg custard. Some coi pou (pickled diced radish) and stir fried choy sum in oyster sauce. A steamed fish, what my father thought of the epitome of Cantonese delicacies and the check of any prepare dinner’s true mettle.

It might be yat tong, sam choi. One soup, three dishes.

Barista brewing pour over coffee at the slow bar.
Barista brewing pour over espresso on the sluggish bar.

Properly, wasn’t this the way in which we used to eat, at all times and at all times till, as instances handed, much less and fewer so? Maybe the true worth in eating in several cities, savouring the flavours of different cuisines and cultures, is to remind ourselves of what we maintain expensive.

A name to return house. To return to how we used to eat, to how each member of our household used to satisfy on the eating desk with out fail, twice, thrice a day.

It’s a cycle, we inform ourselves. That's the reason we now have reunion meals each Lunar New 12 months. When our household is full as soon as extra, after we are complete.

Wholeness is what I consider when our impulsive order of Snow Crab & Avocado Benedict arrives. Fairly than order one other set of ichiju sansai, this extra Western brunch staple gives us a special tackle tips on how to begin our day.

Okonomi House drip coffee is made from a blend of Thai and Ethiopian beans (left). Freshly whisked Matcha Uji (right).
Okonomi Home drip espresso is constituted of a mix of Thai and Ethiopian beans (left). Freshly whisked Matcha Uji (proper).

The Japanese affect continues to be current, in fact. The hollandaise is lightened with yuzu; as a substitute of dry muffins, shokupan or Japanese milk bread is used; and to spice issues up, shichi-mi togarashi is used, too.

All that's left to do is to pierce the poached eggs and permit the golden yolk to ooze out. It’s each café-hopping Instagrammer’s cash shot: All that's gold should circulate.

However life isn’t all golden. There’s no assure we are going to really feel complete day by day. That’s the character of issues.

No day is full and not using a little style of what's bitter, slightly style of one thing that may shock us again to our senses to actuality. Whether or not that comes within the type of espresso or tea, the barista behind the sluggish bar has acquired us lined.

Maybe a cup of Okonomi Home drip espresso, constituted of a mix of Thai and Ethiopian beans. Or freshly whisked Matcha Uji, deep grassy inexperienced each in color and aroma. You'll count on nothing however bitterness right here.

Sweet Soy Doughnut Twist (left). Sweet Potato Tart (right).
Candy Soy Doughnut Twist (left). Candy Potato Tart (proper).

Take a couple of extra sips. What tasted initially wholly acrid and strong now reveals layers of acidity and brightness. A extra light flavour, maybe even umami from the inexperienced tea. We study that even in harsh instances, we strengthen and thrive.

After that bout of bitterness (if certainly bitterness is the suitable time period after these sluggish revelations), we want one thing candy to finish our meal and our day.

As an alternative of the standard rings, Okonomi serves their doughnuts in braided kind. These doughnut twists could be loved with a wide range of glazes, together with candy soy, black sesame, yuzu and hojicha. For one thing subtler and fewer cloying, a slice of candy potato tart will do the trick.

As we are saying our goodbyes — one of many employees has such a cheerful smile, she’d brighten even the gloomiest of tempests and temperaments — and depart, we see the house with contemporary eyes. Even exterior, Okonomi seems to be a special place from the one we entered a few hours earlier.

The relaxing, minimalist exterior of Okonomi brings nature into the heart of Bangkok’s urban sprawl.
The stress-free, minimalist exterior of Okonomi brings nature into the center of Bangkok’s city sprawl.

The stress-free, minimalist exterior of the home brings Nature into the center of Bangkok’s city sprawl. As with the ichiju sansai breakfast (which we now have already promised ourselves to duplicate in our kitchen, after our personal vogue and incorporating our favorite components), such serenity can be found closer to home too.

We are able to deliver pleasure and wellness with us each we go. Because the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh stated, peace is each step. Peace is each step we take and should our first steps this new 12 months be blessed ones.

For extra slice-of-life tales, go to lifeforbeginners.com.



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