Phaedra's Love, Old Vic, Bristol

JAPANESE FAST FOOD: East meets West at speed

THE JAPANESE are masters at the art of convenience living. This is, after all, a country in which practically every street corner is furnished with a vending machine selling anything from the energising if unfortunately named soft drink, Pocari Sweat, to chilled green tea and hot coffee. And, quite apart from the ubiquitous noodle restaurants, several fast food chains have for years served indigenous eat-and-go meals. Among these, Tenya operates principally in the environs of Tokyo. It offers tendon, an inexpensive version of tempura delivered on a bed of rice and accompanied by bowls of miso soup. Yoshinoya, (pictured above), is a rather larger company with more than 1,000 outlets across Japan and around 250 overseas (in New York, Taiwan, China and more). It does brisk business in gyudon, bowls of rice topped with slightly sweetened beef stew.

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