Thursday, December 23, 2010

Xmas in Japan! 5 Fooooooood love

How can I not have a page dedicated to Japanese food?
This here is a Udon bowl (more specifically a Kake udon) with scallop. Udon is a thick-wheat noodle with a warm soup made from dashi (fish broth), shoyu, and mirin (cooking rice wine). Udon originate from China, coming to Japan via Buddhist priests during the 8th century. It was originally only consumed by the nobility, but surpassed soba in popularity during the Edo period thanks to the production of shoyu. Thank God, it's so good, I would hate not to be able to afford such tastiness :)

Beef Curry after a Mandolin concert at Kitara concert hall (looks very much like Walt Disney concert hall! Apparently Yo-Yo Ma played here once some years ago). I've noticed Japanese people like to take other cultures' food and make it their own (Udon from China, Curry from India, Tempura from Portugal, etc). Curry supposedly came to Japan at the end of the Edo period when the ports re-opened. The first curry recipe was introduced in Japan in 1872. The Japanese were eager to adopt the Western ways including food (the West at the time was consuming curry, which they were exposed to thanks to colonies), but it was super expensive! By 1910, the common curry recipe of rice, onion, carrots, and potatoes was invented. Due to its nutritional value and easiness to make, the Japanese army adopted this recipe. It is one of the most common, popular dishes found in Japan today! You can find curry bread, curry soup, curry udon, curry nato (stinky beans) and much more! That's how much love there is for curry!

Oyako-don or "parent-and-child donburi." (because it's made with chicken and egg... kinda eerie imagery, I know.) Donburi's are sweet or savory stems simmered over a bowl of rice. This dish apparently was shortly invented before the 5th National Exposition that promoted Osaka industries. It's hard to find a delicious oyako-don in Japan, but I discovered this place when I was fourteen and I come here every time I come to Japan! It's in a small restaurant on the top floor of Daimaru. The egg is not over-cooked and neither is the chicken. It also comes with a nice bowl of traditional kake udon (plus a fish cake).
Another donburi, this is Unagi-don or broiled eel. I love the smokey flavors of broiled
(freshwater) eel! You can get cheap unagi, but it's worth cashing out on because good unagi is
simply DIVINE! There are many shops that specialize in selling unagi. This unadon also came
with a salad, a broth in which to put the eel's heart in (heart is on small dish in center).

Sushi at Hakodate! BEST. SUSHI. EVER. Hakodate is an old port that used to be a bigger city than Sapporo. Those days are gone now. But being a port means access to ocean and access to ocean means super fresh fish. Apparently, sushi can be traced back to 4th century BC Southeast Asia. It was more of a preserved fish dish: salted fisht fermented with rice (nare-zushi). This was taken out a few months later and was eaten, the rice discarded. Soon it spread through China and made it's way to Japan in the 8th century AD (Heian Period). The Japanese liked to eat the fish partly raw with the rice (seisei-zushi). During the Edo period, the Japanese started making Haya-zushi, which was a way to eat both rice and fish. Here, rice was combined with vinegar and put together not only with raw fish, but also with vegetable and other preserves. Probably one of the most distinct Japanese dishes out there.

Hamba-gu from Burger chain Bikkuri-Donki! I got the hamba-gu + curry set. No need to go over curry history :) Hamba-bu is the Japanese-take on the Salisbury steak. It is made with a combination of meat (usually a combination of pork and beef), onions, eggs, hamburger spices, and panko (instead of bread crumbs). Usually served with a side of shredded cabbage or salad. No buns with this burger!

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