While French food is made of unique ingredients as a luxurious diet, cooking materials in Japanese food are kind of folksy.
Chinese food uses valuable ingredients, too; a swallow´s nest, bear’s paw, or a shark's fin.
However, Japan also has special food. You can see a chef who tries to get good ingredients for his food, wandering everywhere, in Japanese cartoon.
But some ordinary Japanese food’s ingredients can be found easily; raw fish for sushi, noodles for Udong, or rice for a bowl of rice served with toppings. These are cheap and common materials but treated as a gourmet meal. Most people in Japanese restaurant in America are Korean.
Also Vietnamese Pho noodles in western part of America can be famous thanks to Korean. There are many restaurants which sell Korean style Vietnamese noodles. This is because Korean are good at understanding food.
Authentic Japanese food is very simple. One day, I had an opportunity to have a meal in Japanese restaurant in Central America. But the side dish before serving main dish was only jujube-sized boiled spinach.
Anyway, I ate Udong in Ma-Cheu-Ya on 9th floor of Shinsegae Dept. Store in Yeongdeungpo. It was a fancy and Korean style restaurant rather than real Japanese style one. I ordered hot noodles with fried tofu and regular Woodong meal because they were out of ingredients for Oyster Udong.
I once watched a TV program called GTV which showed lots of world food. They explained the process of making Tempura for an hour. I was really surprised because that food was being sold nearby my place. At that moment, I found that identity of Japanese food is very different from ours. Americans still can't understand why we Koreans eat squid. But after Nam June Paik, famous video artist, suggested squid to a host and guests on one famous TV program, they all said that it was really delicious.
The service at Ma-Cheu-Ya was really good. Given that they have a cushion in a spare chair for baby, I think they know how to treat customers. You can enjoy quiet and neat atmosphere in Ma-Cheu-Ya.
Location: Shinsegae Dept. Store, Yeongdeungpo-dong 4-ga, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, Korea