Food Lit: Haruki Murakami

We have interests other than food, one of them being Haruki Murakami and every book he has ever written. We love his books because they are both beautifully written and have winding plots with supernatural elements, plus they are laden with nostalgia, which is always appealing. One thing we have always noticed is that Murakami talks about food a lot in his novels. Like, really. A lot. So it was interesting to see this Q&A; with him on the Time Magazine website, where a couple questions are devoted to — among other things — food.

• In response to a question about Western culture in his books: “When I write that my character is cooking spaghetti for lunch, some Western readers say it’s strange: ‘Why is a Japanese guy cooking spaghetti for lunch?’”

• In response to a question about the significance of food in his stories, and his ideal meal: “My favorite meal is when you have no idea what to cook and you open the refrigerator and find celery, egg, tofu and tomato. I use everything and make my own dish. That is my perfect food. No planning.”

The nice thing about the food in Murakami’s books is that it is rarely, if ever, sushi. This makes sense: after all, we do know that the Japanese don’t exclusively eat sushi. The dishes that Murakami reels off end up sounding far more exotic than sushi, even though they might have Western elements (like spaghetti), if only because they are somewhat unexpected.

We don’t know of anywhere in the city to get dishes like the spaghetti bedecked with cod roe shown above, but somewhere like Yakitori Boy is a decent non-sushi option if you feel like taking your dining inspiration from Norwegian Wood.

10 Questions for Haruki Murakami [Time]
Yakitori Boy [MenuPages]
Yakitori Boy [Official Site]

[Photo: Japanese cod roe spaghetti via egseah/Flickr]


Food Lit: Haruki Murakami