Lunch was in the modest setting of Japanese fast food restaurant, Yoshino ya. Its walls were barely adorned save for an ad or two and our sole luxury was the air-conditioner. After much contemplation, I eventually procured a very satisfying set meal for merely $3. There it was: a generous portion of rice tastefully adorned with delicately sliced strips of beef.

The rice scintillated slightly even under the lights while the tempting aroma pervaded my immediate surroundings. I gingerly cut off a bite-size piece of the tender beef and plopped it down my throat. Delectable... I could feel a surge of energy generate across my upper palette. The rice was an even greater treat.

It was mildly glutinous yet I could still savour every grain of it-a blissful starch delight! Instantly, the phrase "something from the ocean and something from the hills" from 'Totto-chan' fleeted past my mind. This was something exquisite; not the ordinary local cuisine I would get from the hawker centers. Not to forget, a bowl of piquant Miso soup with its ingredients congregating at the base. It was one murky liquid, yet its hot contents, when poured down my oesophagus, were more refreshing than vanilla coke. One gratifying meal for one famished student! Instantly, the phrase "something from the ocean and something from the hills" from 'Totto-chan' fleeted past my mind. This was something exquisite; not the ordinary local cuisine I would get from the hawker centers.

Not to forget, a bowl of piquant Miso soup with its ingredients congregating at the base. It was one murky liquid, yet its hot contents, when poured down my oesophagus, were more refreshing than vanilla coke.