Down Under: Rice again!

(Now that we are in Sydney, I’ve renamed this to Down Under instead.)

I knew that it was very likely that I would be eating more Asian food in Sydney because of other rice-bellied folks whom I would be meeting here. True enough, our first dinner stop was at a very affordable Japanese self-service eating place.

One orders from the menu, picks up the food, pays for it and sits down for dinner. At the end of the meal, one takes the tray and returns it to the counter. This is something that is quite common in Japan and self-service does keep the costs down. I ordered minced tuna on rice and a small salad. The rice, however, was not calrose rice. It was long grain. But for the price they were charging for it, I was not complaining.

One of the favourite items here was the half-cooked egg, ontama, which could be added to any meal. Other orders were beef rice, tempura and udon noodles with ontama.

There has been many rave reviews about this place and the prices are very affordable indeed. The outlet in the city tends to be very packed, especially during lunch. The noodle and rice bars are also separated, unlike the one at Bondi Junction, which is smaller and hence, combined. It tends to be a place where one eats and goes — not hang around for deep and meaningful conversations unless the place is not crowded.

Mappen Japanese Noodle and Rice Bowl Bar, Shop 5, 183-193 Oxford St, Bondi Junction NSW 2022. Tel: 02-9388-0609. The entrance is on Spring St side.

Udon with ontama

Minced tuna with rice

Sweet potato tempura, fish cake tempura, chicken karaage

Restaurant interior

Part of the decor on the inside

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