Enjoying Food in Japan

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  • Japan Trip 2013 vol. 3 | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

    Continuing with vol. 1 and vol. 2 of my Japan Trip 2013, this final post is all about food!  We had this really fresh sashimi appetizer in Sapporo, Hokkaido.  Guess how much it costs and continue reading for more food stories!

    Food, Food, and More Food!

    Restaurant Food I

    1) During our 6-week stay in Japan, we ate many kinds of noodle dishes both at home and outside at the restaurants.  It was very hot and humid so my preference was light and cold noodles like my mom’s Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Ramen).

    2) Zaru soba with Shrimp Tempura and Vegetable Tempura.  Although my Soba Salad was really a popular post, it’s more of a fusion dish.  Traditional soba noodle dishes are cold zaru soba or warm noodle soup in Japan.

    3) Cold udon noodle soup with seared pork belly. It was really delicious and I will try making this at home!

    4) When you are in Japan, I hope you try MOS Burger once.  The unique thing about this burger is that the meat patty is topped with delicious meat sauce along with thick tomato slice, very finely chopped onion and mayonnaise.  So yummy!  I also love the fact that most fast food chains in Japan have the option of oolong tea for drinks (yep, to wash down all the oily food)!

    5) We rarely eat donuts but when we are in Japan, we always make a stop or two at Mister Donut to check out their new and seasonal menus.  This past summer they offered cool peach glaze on top of their signature pon-de-ring donuts.  The peach jello jiggles when biting to it – very interesting texture but delicious!

    6) Growing up in Japan, I remember I always looked forward to summer and a huge shaved ice with all kinds of toppings.  I hadn’t been back in Japan during the summer for 16 years (I sort of avoided going back being afraid of high humidity) and so being able to eat the shave ice again was my wish-come-true moment.

    Restaurant Food II

    1) Unaju (charcoal-grilled unagi/eel on top of rice in a lacquer box) was one of the dishes I wanted to eat while I was in Japan.  It’s not easy to find very good unagi imported from Japan in the U.S. so I try to enjoy it at least once when I visit.

    2) The quality of sushi is simply amazing in Japan.  SF has many good sushi places but still, can’t compete with the many varieties of sushi available in Japan.

    3) When you are in Osaka, you eat Okonomiyaki!  However I like Modern Yaki (Hiroshima-style) which includes noodles.

    4) On summer days, we don’t want to deep fry at home so we eat Tonkatsu at our favorite tokantsu restaurant.

    5) Korokke Sandwich, one of my favorite sandwich!

    Shopping for Food

    Shopping For Food

    1) While shopping at a supermarket in Japan, my daughter asked me “what’s this?”  That’s right, she only knows frozen edamame in package and didn’t recognize fresh ones!  When I was growing up in Japan, it was my duty to remove each edamame from the stalk.  Oh I wish we get fresh edamame stalks here.  Edamame tastes much better, and really delicious!

    2) Three peaches for Y780 yen!?  Yes…fruits are so expensive in Japan.  Our little fruit monsters were used to enjoying large quantity of fruits in the U.S. so it was hard for them to get used to the lesser quantity served in Japan.

    3) Vegetables, fruits, eggs, yogurt, tofu, bento, and some takeout menus… no, we were not in a supermarket.  We were inside a 7-Eleven convenience store!  Japanese convenience stores are like mini-supermarkets.  And in most cities, you’ll see one every few blocks.  Yep, that’s a real “convenience” store.

    4) When you shop in Japan, don’t forget to stop by at the basement level(s) of department stores.  It’s food heaven (high end grocery stores).  Here are well-marbled Japanese wagyu steaks.  They simply melt in your mouth!

    5) Thinly sliced well-marbled wagyu beef for Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki.

    6) Bakeries are everywhere in Japan.  This one is inside my nearest train station so we stopped by to pick up some baked goods for breakfast the next day.

    7) Before riding Shikansen (Japanese bullet train) to Osaka, we picked up bento lunch for the train ride.  There are so many kinds of bentos and I can literally spend 15 minutes checking each shop to pick my bento.

    8) And I picked this Makunouchi Bento made by a Japanese kaiseki restaurant (about $10).

    Food in Hokkaido

    Hokkaido Food

    1) Sanpeijiru (三平汁) is salmon and vegetable soup in a salt and kombu broth and it’s a Hokkaido’s local specialty dish.
    2) This soft cream we had in Shiroi Koibito Park was really delicious and it tasted just like Shiroi Koibito (the cookies I talked about in vol. 2).
    3) I wanted to eat ramen before I leave Hokkaido.  I thought Sapporo Ramen means miso base broth so I order that, but mom’s friend who lives in Sapporo said there is no particular flavor that is a feature of Sapporo.  She said if I ask different persons, each would answer different flavor.
    4) So have you guessed the price for this amazing sashimi appetizer?  It’s only $15!  I almost fell off the chair when I found that out.  Hokkaido has amazing quality seafood for great price.  I had plenty of seafood meals while I was in Hokkaido.
    5) Jingisukan (ジンギスカン鍋料理) is Japanese grilled mutton dish prepared on a grill.  Lamb is not commonly eaten meat by Japanese, but Jingisukan in Hokkaido is one of exception where lamb is served and enjoyed.  It’s a very popular dish in Hokkaido.

    Things I Brought Back to the U.S.

    Things from Japan

    1) I finally bought chiffon cake pans (17cm and 20cm).  I haven’t had a chance to try baking with them yet.  You probably know what flavor I am planning to try first.

    2) What are these black things?  These are very good quality kombu (kelp) that my mom’s friend in Hokkaido gifted me.  I’m going to make very delicious dashi (Japanese stock) soon!

    3) These are all my props that I (I mean, my husband) brought back to the U.S. for me.  There are more, but I could only fit this much in his luggage this time.  Most of plates and bowls are from my grandparents’ house.  My family kept them for me knowing that Just One Cookbook will keep using them.

    Thank you for checking my Japan Trip 2013 posts (vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3)!

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