Portuguese and Spanish missionaries started trickling into Japan to spread the teachings of Christianity near the end of the Muromachi era (1392-1567), and their first foothold in Japan was Nagasaki. The Japanese took to referring to all Europeans as Nanbanjin or “Southern barbarians,” and gradually the term “nanban” came to mean anything related to European
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Once tasted, the delicate flavor of eel (unagi), prepared according to the special ways of Japanese cuisine, will linger in your memory forever. Since the Edo period (1603-1867), eel has traditionally been eaten in the height of midsummer on the Day of the Ox (July 23); popular custom has it that anyone who eats eel
Miso (fermented soybean paste) is not only considered a condiment, spice, and seasoning in Japan but a way of life as well. I can think of no equivalent food in Western cuisine that has had such a powerful impact on culinary culture, not to mention societal relations. Miso is believed to have been created in
Walk out of almost any train station in Japan in the evening, look for a restaurant with an akachochin (red lantern) outside, and inside you’ll find groups of salaried workers talking, drinking, and consuming countless skewers of yakitori, this country’s version of shish kebab. There is something very seductive about the smell of meat grilling
A move to Aichi Prefecture when I lived in Japan prompted a visit to Kikuso, one of the area’s most famous regional-food restaurants. Kikuso’s specialty is dengaku nameshi, a savory combination that has been served since the place opened sometime around 1820. Dengaku is a seductively simple, even primitive, dish, made of small squares of
When I was a college student in Tokyo, I would often pass mobile food stalls, called yatai, late on blustery winter nights and be completely overwhelmed by the powerful aroma of oden, or Japanese hodgepodge stew. Oden’s pungent smell and taste have made it a perennial favorite with drinkers, no matter the season. It is
Whether you’re ready to master Japanese cooking or just want to add something new to your weekly menu, this isn’t just a top 10 list of Japanese utensils you should use, but a list of cooking tools you’ll love to use. I sure do! When you look around my kitchen, a lot of my utensils
Last year, my daughter’s Japanese teacher at the local high school asked me to teach about 40 kids how to make yakisoba. So one early morning, we crammed into the very small ‘parent’s’ kitchen, set up a number of different stations with electric frying pans, and cooked away. There wasn’t a leftover in sight, and
A number of months ago I was reading an article online at mindbodygreen.com and it mentioned Eric Gower of Breakaway Matcha, located in Marin County and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of it considering my total obsession with Matcha (high quality finely ground powdered green tea from Japan, primarily from the area surrounding Kyoto);
With a light, crispy, oil-free coating enveloping a perfectly cooked and succulent piece of seafood or vegetable, tenpura (also written tempura) is considered a quintessentially Japanese food. Both the word and the dish, however, are almost certainly of foreign origin. The source: Spanish and Portuguese missionaries called nanbanjin (southern barbarians) who came to Japan to