The FooDorama Challenge: I Watch It, I Try It!

✈✈YOSH━━━- d(゚∀゚)b-━━━SHA!! ✈✈

Jdorama Inspiration: Attention Please

Attention Please is an 11 episode drama shown from April to June, 2006 on FujiTV. It’s about Misaki Yoko (Ueto Aya), a tomboyish, happy-go-lucky girl who suddenly finds herself training for the job of a cabin attendant just so she could wear the uniform for the man she cares for.  She later finds out that being a flight attendant is more than just the uniform, safety demonstrations, and serving airline food. It was an experience that ultimately changes her from a flighty (pun intended) punk girl to a happier and mature young woman.

Attention Please is one of my favorite drama/comedies.  It’s funny and entertaining, and Ueto Aya is always a delight to watch.  It also had 2 SPs: one in 2006 which took place in Hawaii while the 2008 SP happened in Sydney, Australia.

It also stars Ryo Nishikido; but too bad that he wasn’t in the last SP so his supposedly love angle with Aya’s character didn’t anymore materialize.

More on Attention Please ✈ click here.

Jdorama Food: Zaru Soba

Zaru Soba is a simple noodle dish served cold on a zaru (basket) and dipped in a sauce called mentsuyu or tsuyu before eating. The noodles used for this is called soba which is made from buckwheat flour. It is topped with dried nori flakes (if not, then it is just simply called mori soba).

It is a recipe ideally served during hot days of the summer. So what better time to have this dish than now when our current weather is so mercilessly hot!

The Jdorama Connection: In Episode 2, Yoko and her co-trainees, Yayoi and Yuki eat zaru soba at the noodle shop that belongs to Yayoi’s dad.

Yoko (Ueto Aya) teaches Yuki the ‘proper’ way to eat zaru soba: “Take a lot of noodles with your chopsticks. Dip it in the sauce and then…. SSSLLLUUURRRPP!!!

The girls’ zaru soba served on a flat bamboo basket plate along with bowls of mentsuyu. This meal is called ten zaru soba if accompanied with tempura.

The FooDorama Challenge: Cooling down with Zaru Soba

Looking at pictures of this dish had me thinking to just order it in a resto. I initially thought it would be complicated with the interesting presentation and all but as I read the recipes, it wasn’t really hard at all.

The last time I checked, there were ready-made dipping sauces (mentsuyu) available in the Asian section of a regular supermarket (left pic).  However, I did not buy one because I was set on making it myself.

What to buy: I bought soba noodles (Iwate brand), mirin, and Kikkoman soy sauce which are all available in supermarkets. Ajinomoto granulated dashi is also available in SM supermarkets but it is very expensive (nevertheless, one pack can be used for many other dishes and can last a long time anyway).  Dried nori is also essential to this dish.

To make the tsuyu: make your base first which is the dashi by adding 1 tablespoon of dashi powder to 2 cups of boiling water (you don’t have to use all of the dashi; just store it in the ref for future use). When done, heat 2 tablespoons of mirin in a separate sauce pan for a few minutes, then add half a cup of the pre-made dashi and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.  Let it cool or refrigerate it before serving.

Or you can make 2 cups worth of tsuyu which you can use some other time.  You can store it in a jar and refrigerate it like I did (Right Pic).

For the noodles, cook it like any other noodle dish: boil it for 4 to 5 minutes. When it was done, I placed it in a colander and rinsed it in running water. I then place it in iced water.

Why use a basket for zaru soba? I at first thought that it was just for presentation but actually it has a function. Since the noodles come straight from the iced water, the basket is used to let the water drip away from the cold noodles when serving.

For the basket plate, any old small bilao (like the ones used for pancit malabon or palabok) can do the job.  I rummaged thru my stuff and found an old handwoven plate! Perfect! I cleaned it up and placed the wet, cold noodles on it, making sure to put a plate underneath it to catch the moisture.

Zaru Soba for FDC#7 is done: I topped the noodles with dried nori flakes. Tsuyu is served with wasabi, chopped spring onions and sesame seeds. I ate this wonderful dish with shrimp and vegetable tempura which I dipped in the tsuyu, too.

It was my first time to eat cold noodles. And, oh my! It was a revelation! It was a minimalistic dish yet refreshingly delightful! I was really amazed at how simple it was and at the same time so satisfying. Eat it the way Yoko would slurp it or just quietly savor each noodle, it doesn’t matter. It was a superb meal indeed.

Tips to enjoy zaru soba: ✈It’s best to use those commercially-made, rough bamboo chopsticks for a better grip on those slippery noodles. ✈ And to fully appreciate this meal, it would be ideal to eat it on a really hot day (lunchtime or afternoon snack). ✈ It must be a quiet day (with birds chirping or wind chimes tinkling in the background) so turn the radio or TV off.  ✈ If you have a low table or a coffee table, use it and sit on the floor while eating. ✈ And also, take a refreshing bath first before eating.  …I’m telling you, for me, eating it this way was like a peaceful, Zen-like experience.  I kid you not.

Try it and happy ssslllluuurrrping to you, too! b (゚∀゚) d

My Other FooDorama Challenge Links
Next: FDC#7 – Kareh Raisu or Curry Rice (Jdorama Inspiration: Kaibutsu-kun)
FDC#6: Samgyeopsal (Movie Inspiration: Sikgaek or Le Grande Chef)
FDC#5: Natto (Jdorama Inspiration: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge)
FDC#4: Okonomiyaki (Jdorama Inspiration: Hana Kimi)

—————————————– fodocha

Jdorama info source: dramawiki
Recipe sources: japanesefood.about, closetcooking

One of the best jdoramas I enjoyed watching was Attention Please (2006, FujiTV).  It stars the talented Ueto Aya, as Misaki Yoko, a tomboyish happy go lucky girl who at first did not know what to really do with her life.  Out on a whim, she decided to become a cabin attendant.  And much to her (and everyone else’s) surprise, she was accepted.  Yoko later finds out that being a cabin attendant is more than just traveling, serving food, and pointing for passengers where the emergency doors are; she learns valuable life lessons along the way that ultimately changes her flighty ways (pun intended), giving her a new and better outlook on life.

From turbulence to stable skies: Ueto Aya as Yoko whose training as a flight attendant changes her from a flighty, head-in-the-clouds punk girl to a happier and level-headed young woman

Working for the service and comfort of other people can be fulfilling and taxing at the same time. Somehow, it can feel like a thankless job, and so we lose passion for it and get burned out. Shows like Attention Please can help remind you the value of hard work, of what you’re supposed to do, and get you back on track. Here are some of my favorite “work quotes” from the show:

On guaranteeing quality for the service you offer: “Sending someone who is not fully qualified in the sky is the cruelest thing one can do to a person.”

On doing your part for the sake of the team: “Please don’t take flying lightly. If you can’t control the cabin, we can’t sit in the cockpit and be at ease.  We all help to fly the plane.”

On learning from your mistakes: “There are a lot of different problems waiting for us which the textbook doesn’t address.  The key to solving these problems is always in front of us.”

And on this note, I would like to say that I chose Attention Please as my next jdorama inspiration for my FooDorama Challenge #7… click here.

Btw, Attention Please is also close to my heart because my niece Pch is also a Flight Attendant.

She had worked for the same airline company as Yoko’s (so i do have confirmation that all those sempai-sempai stuff in the drama? They’re all true!).  I talked about her days as an FA trainee in an earlier post.  She has learned a lot since then, and enjoyed the times she had spent as an FA for one year. That chapter of her life has somewhat prematurely closed but now… another new chapter is about to begin.

My pretty Flight Attendant niece, Pch: the working girl at work (Left)

This post is dedicated to Pch, who will be soaring the skies again soon.  Since she doesn’t have a blog, I will just post pix from some of her memorable Asian trips and travels made possible by her adventures as a glamorous FA, proving that just like what Yoko had experienced, hard work and dedication do pay off…:

Wherever you are, Pch, always soar high, live life to the fullest and keep your feet on the ground… Ganbare and Godspeed. ~~Love from Tita S.