On those night when my evening is free of any activities, I would occasionally make a trip to the Wasabi in Regent’s Square next to the headquarters of Santander London. I would, of course, have to be in the mood for the curry and sushi that it sells — my diet these days is composed of very few carbs — but my mood often does not stop me from capitalizing on its 50 percent discount on its food a half an hour before closing.
It is for this reason I have been to Wasabi three times this past week.
I suppose I am particularly lucky. The Wasabi next to Euston station, which I walk past every day on my way home, closes at 9 PM, which means that their food does not go on sale until 8:30 PM. Because the Wasabi near my flat closes at 8 PM, I have the opportunity to make a trip to Wasabi at a reasonable dinner time of 7:30 PM. Usually, there would be a line that pours out of the restaurant, as many people seek to cash in on the discount. But, for some reason, the Wasabi near my flat never seems to the same queue that has plagued the other Wasabi chains.
At first, I would only get the sushi because it seemed that the sushi was always the item than ran out first. For around £3.50 to £4.00, I can get a solid variety of sushi in a box. Then, after I did the conversion rate, I realized that the sushi was not actually that cheap. The food poisoning I got after eating 10 pieces of sashimi did not help. So, I turned to the slightly cheaper curry alternatives. I started first with the chicken katsu curry, which is comprised of an oily curry sauce over a thick carton of rice with a couple pieces of breaded chicken on top. It was the option that everyone else seemed to choose.
Because I lived nearby, I would never eat in the restaurant; I had no interest in paying the additional fees for dining in. So, I would walk about a quarter mile back to my house and set my curry down on my petite dining table. By then, a collection of water droplets had coagulated on the plastic lid of the paper container. I took an oily bite. Then another. After my first couple bites of my chicken katsu curry, I realized that the curry had absolutely no vegetables in it, which is horrifying for me at this point in my life.
Luckily for me, I made a trip to Sainsbury every other day on my way home from classes, and my fridge had been well stocked with vegetables.
I opened my fridge and surveyed my options. I took out a zucchini, a cucumber, and two tomatoes. I cut the zucchini into thin semicircles and sauteed them with some salt and pepper. Then, I separated the breaded chicken and sliced them into strips. When the zucchini became tender, I put in the rice and curry sauce in and stirred. After I thoroughly pressed the zucchini into the stirred rice, I turned the heat off. Then, I diced the tomatoes and cucumbers and added them in along with the breaded chicken. I mixed them for a bit and then observed my creation.
With the vegetables I added, the portion size doubled. Seeing as I no longer have the capacity to eat an entire lasagna from Costco as I once could in middle school, I separated my meal into two portions and left one in the original container in the fridge. Then, I ate my chicken katsu curry that I had purchased a half an hour before in a white bowl I had purchased my first day in London, now with vegetables.
I repeated the same process with more curries over the next couple of weeks.
Today, I made the the Thai green curry I had bought yesterday. After finishing yet another chicken katsu curry yesterday, I could not bring myself to eat another Wasabi meal for another dinner. Yet, I did not want my opportunity to capitalize on the discount to go to waste, so I bought a curry and left it in my fridge overnight. Being indoctrinated in consumerism tends to do that to me. By the time I removed my Wasabi from my fridge, the curry had coagulated into a solid. I suppose being in a fridge for an entire night does that to a substance that is otherwise viscous.
I ran out of tomatoes, so I substituted it with mushrooms and broccoli. It was, evidently, not an exact substitution, but I was satisfied nonetheless. And so, I repeated the same process, now in the early afternoon instead of the evening. I listened to my Release Radar playlist on Spotify as I cooked, starting with the new single by Flux Pavilion, “Saviour”. Since I have already engineered an efficiency from this process over the past few weeks, it only took me around four songs to finish. I scooped the curry out of the wok as “Here With me” by Marshmello entered its pre-chorus.
Then, I ate it, as I have around a dozen times before.
My meals are not that much, and certainly not a quintessential part of the London food scene. If anything, Roti King, which is around a mile from house, is significantly more integral to the London food scene at around the same price. But, I know when I get back to Philadelphia, I will miss the access to somewhat cheap curry and sushi that I have right next to my flat in London. If food has come to at all be remembered as experiences, I am sure that my experiences this semester in London will be captured by all the curry that I have purchased from Wasabi.
Of course, with additional vegetables.