Edinburgh is a great place. This was my fourth time in this cosmopolitain Scottish city. The people are friendly, the history is rich, the buildings are beautiful. There's an array of good food, with cuisines from around the world. I love eating American Macaroni at Hamburger Heaven, or Sausage Sandwich at Pani Solinska.
This time I was here on business. So no husband, a swanky hotel room, and a conference to attend during the day, instead of unlimited kilt shopping and tower climbing. I made the most of my free time, visiting my favourite spots and cafes.
But during the second afternoon, my dear Japanophile American colleague friend casually mentioned one word that drove my stomach wild: Miso.
Miso! Had I seen a single Japanese restaurant since we arrived? Where were the chains of Yo Sushi, Wagamama and Wasabi? For a city that loves its chains, Edinburgh was seriously lacking in any of these run-of-the-mill Japanese standards.
No independent Japanese restaurants either! Where were they? We had a quick look in the phonebook to find that the Scottish like to combine Japanese and Chinese restaurants into one category in the Yellow Pages.
A quick conversation with our concierge revealed that an excellent Japanese restaurant was conveniently located just around the corner! We made the trek down to road only to be shocked and disappointed to learn that the restaurant he had recommended was actually Thai. Those wacky Asians all eat the same food, don't they?!
By this time, all we could think about was fresh tofu, sashimi, noodles and seaweed. Our cravings were equivalent to those of pregnant women, and we toyed with the idea of catching a train back to London to fulfil our desires.
Then, like a shining light… a saviour from above…. angels had answered our prayers. There before us stood a church, which showed us the path to our holy salvation. A Japanese community group was cooking homemade food in the church hall to raise money for charity. Hallelujah! Praise be!
50p for tea, £1 for a dish of tempura, okonomiyaki, and all the free carrot cake we could handle. The Japanese food gods smiled upon us that day.