Do you ever crave the mouthwatering flavors of authentic Japanese cuisine but find yourself reluctant to leave the comfort of your home? Introducing Yoko Street, a new revolutionary food delivery service that brings genuine Japanese dishes right to your doorstep in the USA. This is a new venture created by Oisix ra daichi’s; they are the largest online supermarket and home delivery company in Japan. They recently launched a new Japanese meal delivery company, inspired by Japan’s enchanting 横丁 (yokocho) side streets – Yoko Street!
Yoko Street: Review
Their mission is to celebrate hidden culinary gems and bring authentic Japanese flavors to the U.S. with fresh, healthy meals. Yoko Street, launched in July, specializes in local and regional cuisine, emphasizing seasonal dishes to foster cultural experiences through their Yokocho concept. They reached out to me to try one of their boxes for free and here is my review. It’s important to note that most of Yoko Streets dishes are done in the style of sous vide – which I love!
Why sous vide cooking is so tasty
Sous vide cooking is a culinary technique that involves cooking food at a precise temperature in a vacuum-sealed bag, resulting in tender and flavorful dishes.
By cooking food in a sealed bag, the natural juices and flavors are not able to escape, resulting in a more intense and concentrated taste. This is especially important when it comes to meat, as sous vide cooking can transform even the toughest cuts into melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
Another reason why sous vide cooking is so tasty is its ability to evenly cook food from edge to edge. With sous vide, the precise temperature control ensures that every part of the food is cooked to perfection, resulting in a consistent texture and flavor throughout.
Additionally, sous vide cooking allows for precise control over the doneness of the food. Whether you prefer your steak rare, medium, or well-done, sous vide cooking can deliver the exact level of doneness you desire. This level of precision is difficult to achieve with other cooking methods, making sous vide a game-changer for those who appreciate a perfectly cooked piece of meat or fish.
What we tasted from Yoko Street
As I mentioned above, most of Yoko Street’s dishes use this sous-vide technique. It was the first time outside of a restaurant that I have tasted dishes prepared using this technique, which as I learned have both pluses and minuses. I found the directions, while precise, were not sufficient to serve hot dishes at least if I did the technique of placing the pouches into boiling water for 8 minutes. If I did the microwave technique, it was more exact.
I invited my neighbor, Nancy, to join in and be a fellow taster and judge. Portions were quite generous, so we split the dishes into two meals.
Miso ramen with pork, corn and scallions
We tried Miso Ramen from Hokkaido. While the pork was very tender and flavorful, we found the corn, the other main ingredient, not. It tasted old and or from a can. Not sure why the fresh scallions, used as a garnish, were not very fresh. The noodles and broth were fine, but not extraordinary. We gave it a B-.
Stir fried yakisoba noodles with teriyaki chicken, edamame and pickled ginger
Next we tasted the classic Japanese street food favorite: stir-fried yakisoba with teriyaki chicken. This dish combines noodles, vegetables, and tender chicken in a harmonious blend of flavors that will leave you craving for more. Just like sous vide cooking, yakisoba preparation requires attention to detail and a commitment to achieving perfection.
The key to a delicious yakisoba lies in the balance of ingredients and the cooking technique. Thick, wheat-based yakisoba noodles are first boiled until they reach the ideal al dente texture. Then, they are stir-fried in a sizzling hot pan along with a medley of sliced vegetables. These vegetables not only add a refreshing crunch but also bring a vibrant range of colors to the dish. I am not sure why no vegetables were included.
Now, let’s talk about the star of the show: the chicken. Tender, juicy chicken pieces are marinated in a savory blend of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and a hint of sweetness before being added to the yakisoba stir-fry.
To elevate the flavor profile even further, traditional yakisoba is often garnished with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a drizzle of tangy yakisoba sauce. This special sauce is a mix of Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and mirin, creating a perfect balance of sweet, salty, and umami flavors.
This was very tasty and the yakisoba were accompanied by edamame as a side, and pickled ginger, a traditional garnish. I wondered why aonori (a type of green seaweed) another traditional garnish wasn’t. To me it is an essential ingredient to this dish. We gave it an A.
Teriyaki Buri with five-grain rice, and pickled vegetables
Teriyaki buri (yellowtail) is a true delight for seafood lovers. The fish is marinated in a blend of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar, allowing the flavors to infuse and enhance its natural taste. Once marinated, the yellowtail is cooked to perfection, ensuring it remains tender and juicy.
When you take your first bite of teriyaki buri, you’ll be greeted with a burst of flavors. The tender yellowtail, infused with the marinade, melts in your mouth, offering a rich and satisfying experience.
We loved the teriyaki yellowtail (buri) which was flavorful and very tender and moist and the fresh pickled vegetables as a side. The five-grain rice was not very interesting. We gave it an B+.
Miso soup with root vegetables
Miso soup, a simple yet iconic dish, is a mainstay in Japanese households and restaurants alike. Made from the combination of miso paste and dashi, a stock made from bonito flakes and kelp, miso soup serves as the perfect appetizer to any Japanese meal.
The beauty of miso soup lies in its versatility. While the traditional version typically features tofu, seaweed, and scallions, you’ll find countless variations across Japan, each with its own unique twist. From the addition of clams or mushrooms to the use of different types of miso paste, each region and even each household adds their own individual touch to this beloved soup.
While I liked the root vegetables in the miso soup such as daikon radish, lotus root and burdock, Nancy did not. It needed more color and a better balance of the miso flavor. We both found it bitter.
What is Ma Go Wa Ya Sa Shi i?
Ma Ga Wa Ya Sa Shi I is a basic tenet of every Yoko Street dish.
At its core, Ma Go Wa Ya Sa Shi i represents the delicate balance between five essential flavors in Japanese cuisine: sweetness (ma), sourness (go), bitterness (wa), saltiness (ya), and umami (sa shi i). These five tastes dance together to create a symphony of flavors that tickle the palate and leave a lasting impression. Each element of Ma Go Wa Ya Sa Shi i serves a purpose in a dish, contributing to its overall balance and complexity.
In conclusion, I think Yoko Street has a clever concept that with some tweaking could be a welcome addition for newbies and lovers of Japanese cooking in the States. Add in some more fresh dishes, and make sure the photo and description match the actual dish. Add in suggestions on plating the dish as well.