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    Tokyo, Japan

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  1. And in speaking of Valentine's Day in Japan we're not just talking just plain choco here like a Hershey's kiss or a meager Mars bar. No--oh! I mean we're talking -- CHOCOLAT -- as in the most expensive, extravagant, decadent FRENCH chocolat that the women here can get their hands on. Forget the men, the women here go all out to get the best money can buy for themselves, as has been mentioned. Price is no object. This fancy stuff costs in the thousands of yen. In fact, Valentines Day has become such a gala affair extraordinaire that the most respected and celebrated chocolat chefs from France
  2. While we're on the subject of shiso, I was reminded of my first experience of eating natto without gagging. It's all thanks to the wonderful flavor of shiso. A friend made natto tempura by spreading some natto on a a whole shiso leaf and rolling it up, pinning it with a toothpick. She then dipped the leaf it into tempura batter and deep fried it. Knowing that there was natto in it, I was hasitant to try, but I gave in to pressure. You know, surprisingly it was actually quite good with the flavor combinations (shiso, batter, oil, tempura sauce). From then on I have garnered a taste for natt
  3. I also have come across some bad shiso. To me it was so strong it tasted like "soap" (not that I dine on soap, but you know what I mean.) One of my favorites with Shiso is to make a very plain garlic/olive oil pasta with shrimp, and mixing in fresh thinly sliced shiso at the very end. When I added shiso while cooking, the flavor dissipated. Also, for more added flavor, there is a shiso furikake (flavored sprinkles for rice) that I have added to the pasta to give it more shiso flavor. Although not as natural, it does bring out the flavor and tastes good, plus it is readily available. It is
  4. Thanks for the informative link by the Ministry of Information, I hadn't come accross it before. I had found the "My Oman" site and was amazed at the scenery and photos--incredible. I hope what I see in person looks even half as good as those photos. And with my level of photography skills, I won't even be able to come close, no matter how hard I will try. I'll post my culinary experiences after I get back
  5. I'll be going to Oman soon and would like to hear EG members opinions about what and where to eat in Muscat (And also what and where NOT to eat ) I keep hearing that much of what restaurants offer is Indian food (which I love and can never get enough of). While in Oman, though, I'd lke to have something typical and would like to know where and what, if you can help. I'm a novice to Mid-eastern food and look forward gaininig exposure to a whole new food-world. Thanks.
  6. For one, the blossoms are used in a tea. (Sakura Cha). Sakura Tea Other uses include the cherry-tree leaves for Sakura Mochi (rice cakes). Sakura Mochi These are really good, as the salty leaves combine so well to quell the sweet of the beans. MMMMmmmmm. These are sold in tandem with Cherry Blossom time, which is usually late March/early April in Tokyo.
  7. Oh Monica, I am so glad you are back safely and able to share all those great goodies in words and pictures. My mouth watered with every new picture as I scrolled down the page. Your story and pictures were really a joy for me and I too am getting in line with the others who are anxiously awaiting a trip to India. Now about MacDonalds and the International Menu. I would love to trade our "Teriyaki Mac Burger" we have in Japan with one of those Aloo Tikki Burgers. I never bothered to try MCD in India, as I wanted to have as much Indian food as possible since I had such limited time. I will
  8. Just to add here. A good source to learn about spices, and an EXCELLENT book for great recipes too, is Monisha Bharadwaj's The Indian Spice Kitchen. A bonus is its beautiful and artful photos. It offers real value in many aspects, one being its explanations about a myraid of spices (plus legumes, rice varieties, etc. too). It is usually mentioned as one of the top "Must Have" Indian cookbooks here on EG. You will learn more about what to do with all those newly aquired spices in your pantry.
  9. Torakris, Thanks for that interesting article. Just to add, I have heard there are efforts in Japan to feed the hungry (namely the homeless) the leftovers from banquets and also the conbini-store lunch boxes, etc. that must be tossed due to freshness expiration. Although I will hold comments about the morality of feeding homeless (or anybody) leftovers, in theory it does sound like a conscious effort to eliminate 2 problems: 1) too much waste and 2) feeding the hungry. (Off topic but: I have heard stories that most convenience stores go out of business because they take such a heavy loss on t
  10. I believe this thread is dealing with perceptions in olden times when the idea of "waste not want not" applied. Traditionally nothing went to waste whether it be in China, Europe, Japan or Mexico. The whole animal and the entire vegetable were eaten out of necessity: in former times there was a lack of availalable and affordable food. Japan too in the old days was a poor country and food was highly honored and respected. Nowadays, however, as an American living in Japan, I that see the Japanese are terribly wasteful at times. As a food person who can't stand to see things go to waste, I have
  11. Putting the taste factor aside for the moment, I end up using canned at least 95% of the time, whether it is for Indian or Italian. The reason is simply based on the mess factor and the time involved with doing it from "scratch" the right way, which takes time and leaves a mess to clean up. With cans I need to do no more than turn the can-opener and toss out can. Moreoever, as stated elsewhere, it's hard to find tomatoes good enough to use for sauce. When I have the time; when I can get a lot of good, red-ripe tomatoes; and when I want be as authentic as possible, then I will make sauce fro
  12. Pardon me for stepping in, but I have some novice questons: How long can cardamon seeds be stored in a jar before they become stale/tasteless/bad? Reason I ask is I am down to a few last ones I got in India because so many recipes call for them. I only bought a handful, but now regret it. I am wondering what quantity I should buy them? Do they last years or just a few months? And, does greener mean fresher? I always thought that the dull/faded ones must be old and lack flavor so I have tended to buy the greener ones. Finally, some pods open easily with a quick whack, and some don't want to o
  13. Sonya, Let me, please, just say it once: Perhaps your friend couldn't boil water! Seriously, do you think one basic problem is that your friend wasn't too skillful in the kitchen, and that possibly the same results would have arisen had the food been Italian, Chinese, or other?? Some people just aren't meant to be cooks. As to Amazon, I never thought about the idea that the most popular Indian Cookbooks are bad. Yes, Jaffrey's and Julie's are popular but I think they are popular for a reason: they are good cookbooks (I assume, not having any). Many here also praise them. Jaffrey and Juli
  14. Hummm, I just don't think so. Here's my 2 cents worth of observations on fast-food outlest and some casualties. There are several aspects to consider: price, variety, and conceptions. Nathan's: Nathan's may be around for a limited time. To the average Japanese I don't think they'll rush on the trains to Harajuku for just a "hotto dogu". With such a limited menu, and with the Japanese thinking that all they'll get is a "pan" (snack-bread type thing), Nathan's has a hard challenge ahead here. Hot dogs are not considered a meal. At 270 a dog, let's hope Nathan's can sell them as fast as the Hot
  15. This type of thread is always interesting. I saw similar elshere in EG, but I like the twist this time to analyze why? First of all, as a kid my: special favorites: home-grown tomatoes, corn on the cob, baked squash. I was strange as I usually ate all veggies except: Yuck: asparagus, green peppers, long-hot Italian, fried green peppers and STILL THE YUCKIEST FOOD HAS GOT TO BE LIVER IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, FORM OR CUISINE! Now I like and eat all vegetables. My taste buds started to change when I was in my 20s, and when I tasted peppers and asparagus they weren't as bad as I remembered them. Anal
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