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
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
I have over a hundred and thirty English language books on Japanese cuisine on my bookshelves, and yet I feel I’ve only begun to skim the surface. In the past few years, there have been scores of Japanese cookbooks, Asian fusion cookbooks, you name them, published around the world. It is hard to keep up!
NEW YEAR’S IS ONE OF THE BEST TIMES IN JAPAN – at least for eating. Shogatsu, the New Year’s holiday, is celebrated from midnight on December 31 until January 3 or 4, or even longer by diehards. No New Year’s banquet would be complete without a bowl of zoni, soup with toasted mochi (pounded rice
IN JAPANESE CULTURE, soba (buckwheat) noodles have always been seen as a “happiness” food, served on special occasions. It is traditional, too, when moving into a new house to greet your neighbors with hikoshi soba (moving soba). This involves a play on words, as soba also means “close” or “near” – like neighbors. Another soba
I admit it, that I am very obsessed with Matcha! And you may be wondering, what is matcha? It is finely ground powdered ultra-premium Japanese green tea. It can be drunk hot or cold. Look for my interview with Eric Gower, the owner of Breakaway Matcha from Marin County in the coming weeks for more
A little unknown fact about me is that I love sumo! It is one of the few sports I’ll watch. When I lived in Japan, you couldn’t tear me away from the television whenever sumo was on. I even went to a live Sumo tournament in Tokyo with my then father-in-law and it was sublime!