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Time For a Nice Bowl of Intestine Soup

Forget the Clearasil and dumpster the Oil of Olay. My friend Hiro tells me that all I have to do to have beautiful skin is eat lots of motsunabe. Apparently, Japanese women have eaten pig intestines for ages, chasing the perfect creamy complexion.

On a cold winter night, the bubbling pot of motsunabe turned out to be a lot more appealing than it sounds. Garlic chives, fresh cabbage, and a sprinkling of togarashi peppers joined the wiggly bits in a truly delicious pork-based tonkotsu broth. The texture of the intestines was a bit challenging (think thin squares of rubber with a pillow of fat on top), but I actually found them much easier to eat than mozuku (a beloved Japanese dish made from seaweed that resembles slimy hair a bit too closely for my taste and is often encountered at breakfast).

If you're actually jonesing to try motsu-nabe (もつ鍋), walk through the streets of Shimo-kitazawa and looks for sidewalk signs advertising it. The pictures tend to look like this one.
If you’re actually jonesing to try motsu-nabe, walk through the streets of Shimo-kitazawa and looks for sidewalk signs advertising もつ鍋. The pictures tend to look like this one.

If you’d like to visit Shimo-kitazawa the next time you’re in Tokyo, a map is on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

In the wake of a deadly earthquake, fans erupt in a frenzy of mourning when it’s discovered that their favorite pop star is among the dead. But when Detective Kenji Nakamura is sent to investigate a death at a local shrine, he finds evidence that suggests the impossible: How could the head priest have been murdered by…read more

 

Jonelle Patrick View All

Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!

2 thoughts on “Time For a Nice Bowl of Intestine Soup Leave a comment

    • You’re right – menudo does have that key intestinal ingredient (although most of the recipes I saw call for tripe rather than actual intestines). The Mexican soup takes the flavoring in a slightly different direction, with cilantro and oregano added to the peppers, and onions instead of garlic chives. All over the world, I guess they’ve figured out how to make every bit of an animal tasty!

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