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    Tokyo, Japan
  1. If I recall correctly, one critical ingredient for making a kewpie-like mayonnaise is ajinomoto (msg). Other than that, I play with things like adding shiso or wasabi or (sweeter flavoured) miso. My own basic recipe includes lemon; you could substitute with or add yudzu to add another Japan specific flavour into your mayonnaise.
  2. Was a bit startled when I noticed the name of this forum topic! I'm more used to hearing "oshiko!" when my daughter announces she is ready to visit the bathroom. I briefly had visions of some avant garde restaurant really trying to push the limits with their menu but a typo does seem the more likely explanation :-)
  3. Darn! I was busy doing sentaku this morning and didn't get to email until just now. Will they also send you a tape/DVD of the segment, Chris? I'm certain the grandparents will want to see it. When my daughter was on Inai! Inai! Baa! last year, we recorded all the episodes and sent an edited "Best of..." DVD to my folks. They don't understand a word of Japanese but I'm fairly certain they memorized the theme song from having watched the DVD so many times!
  4. I saw these at a convenience store the other day and was going to try them but ended up going for a Dr. Pepper instead. It was a really muggy day and I had been riding my bike around and the pop just hit the spot better... How are they? ← (I love Dr. Pepper. Got hooked on it during summer visits to New Mexico when I was a kid.) I didn't always like shichimi but that changed when I discovered how nicely it goes with udon. On these chips, it definitely works for me -- the light taste of the Yuzu contrasts nicely with the shichimi. It seems at least a few other people agree -- the part of the shelf allocated to this kind was stripped clean bar the one I bought. Say, have you ever run across any local brands with a salt-and-vinegar flavour? It's always surprised me no one has tried marketing tsu-jyoyu chips.
  5. Found this treat at the 7 & IHoldings today: Yuzu-shichimi flavoured potato chips! Yum! [edit corrected URL]
  6. Our daughter Manami started with okayu. Udon was her favorite. Almost from the beginning though, she ate nato, deboned white fish, niiboshi, various light niimono, fruit (banana, strawberry, blueberry, grapes, mikan), and strangely, umeboshi -- both real umeboshi and the umeboshi paste we picked up at costco. For veggies, daikon, nasu, carrots, potato, corn, all the other standard. From early on the main issue was not what to feed her but rather how soft to make it so she would eat it; certainly anything we cooked to a similar texture/shape as udon, she inhaled! As her teeth came in, harder textures She loves raw seafood, best of all ikura but also eats uni/hotate,maguro/toro and others. We started her on most of those after her 1st birthday though I recall ikura came a bit before that. At this point (1y10m), we haven't found any one food she can't or won't eat bar spicey/hot food but she is sometimes a little picky about mixed or rough textures, eg: she loves raisin bread but insists the raisins should be picked and eaten separately from the bread; she carefully peels the skin off grapes; likes nuts and salad but not nuts on salad, etc. That said, her range keeps expanding -- she eats my cornbread and recently decided she likes my homemade falafel (yay!)
  7. Makes me wonder if my local Seijo Ishii doesn't get the full range of imports. I've always had to stock with bottles hauled back from visits to my folks in the states because I couldn't find a local source (bar the occasional bottle via folks with PX privileges at US bases in the area). Btw, if anyone ever locates a Tokyo-area source for Hawaiian alaea rock salt, please shout out. Laulau just doesn't taste quite right with the available substitutes .
  8. Most of the bbq's we throw or attend seem have a lot of seafood. Then again my wife's brother is a fish trader and the whole family is pretty fish crazy even by Japanese standards so ours may not be a representative sample! Sazae (turban shell), hotate (scallops), salmon and various sorts of grilled silver-skinned fish make regular appearances at our bbq's. Also a few kinds of shrimp (sorry, don't know which kind...I usually just refer to them as the "red kind" and the "big grey kind" )
  9. That shrimp marinade sounds pretty good. Just curious, was did you use negi or tamanegi for the onion? Real garlic or garlic powder?
  10. We've been on a bit of a sate kick since going to a friends wedding in Bali. For the marinade, I use: Marinade 1 tbs palm/brown/cane sugar 1-2 tbs ginger or to taste 1 tsp coriander 1-2 chili peppers 1 tbs sweet shoyu (we use an Indonesian brand "ABC Kecap Manis" but its easy to make your own) 1 tbs salty shoyu 1/2-1 cup coconut milk 1 tsp tamarind paste 1/4 cup of warm water 1 tsp lemon (or more...to taste) Mix it all up in a bowl Chicken Buy 1 to 2 packages of sasami or chicken breast - standard packages at our local Marufuji have 5-6 strips / "fingers" of chicken. Slice each finger in half in the long direction, stripping out the thread of cartilage if using sasami -- then cutting the resulting strips so you have thin pieces, longer in one direction. We generally aim for small as possible but big enough to fit onto the skewer. It's more work but the result seems worth it. Others may prefer, fewer and larger pieces. Place the chicken into the marinade, let it soak for a while, say an hour. Grab a skewer, add chicken on the skewer until half the skewer is covered with chicken and each piece tight against adjacent pieces. This can take some time, longer if you make your pieces small so its worth getting some extra hands (guests even!) to help out. Save the leftover marinade. Peanut sauce Essentially this is the leftover marinade, grounds peanuts or peanut butter, and a bit of coconut milk and/or sweet shoyu to adjust the taste. Recently I've been playing around and using something like: 1/2 cup peanuts 1/4 cup cashews 1/4 cup ground goma (sesame) or goma paste (tahini) 1/4 cup pine nuts Grind it all up in a blender or food processor -- we have one of the Magic bullets which works quite nicely. Dump the leftover marinade, ground nut mix into a small pan. Add coconut milk, possibly sweet shoyu, heat at low-medium, stir and simmer for about 5 minutes. You may also wish to add salt if you prefer a strong salt/sweet contrast. I usually make the sauce after loading the skewers with chicken, then reheat it just before serving. To grill the sate, we usually use a small shichirin but any bbq such as the ones in your pictures will do fine. The main thing cooking your sate to rotate constantly so as long as you can do that easily, your cool. Note the smaller you cut your chicken pieces above, the quicker they are going to cook. Speaking to your larger question. Yeah, the basic bbq scene in Japan can sometimes be a bit Spartan but I found it depends on what you bring to it. My own experience has been that folks are comfortable defaulting to fairly basic, simple grilling but are receptive to alternatives -- it often seems to be the case that variations are welcome but people may simply not have been exposed to fancier versions of bbq. I've served folks my "special hamburgers" with all manner of "different" spices and secret ingredients (miso works really well by the way) and they are well received. This summer, I started using a bbq sauce recipe from torakris which went over very well. Historically, the bbq's of ours that seem most popular combine a mix of Japanese and (in my case) American elements/ingredients and if at all possible, allow "audience particpation".
  11. Hey if we're going DIY here, a lot of the yakitoriya's around my neighborhood just use two parallel walls of bricks, spaced apart the length of a standard skewer, not even bothering with a grill! I like that approach but during rainy season, it's nice having handles so you can move the grill out of the rain if needed.
  12. The second (small round) one is pretty much the one we use, particularly on evenings when we want to grill but don't want the overhead of firing up our larger coleman bbq. I think ours cost sengohyaku-en...call it a bit less than 15 bucks US. I love it. Very easy to clean though be careful not to damage the special cloth-like material that lines the sides of the well holding the sumi. Very easy to grill...one of the main uses for ours is cooking sate and other kinds of yakitori and it packs nicely into the car -- we're bring ours to the Earth Celebration on Sado this year :-) The korin model looks nice but I think this one: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000SW0U...8401&s=merchant will do the same job for as much fun and a rather smaller sticker price (US25.00) This is the kind of hibachi my folks used back in small-kid time.
  13. Here's one. Way back when I lived in the mid-west (US), I used to get ground two-way chuck for hamburger meat when we decided to do a bbq. Does anyone know what two-way chuck would be called in Japanese?
  14. The only place I know of in Akasaka that offers hummous and the like is "Pita the Great" across the street from the Fuji-Xerox building...about a block and a half toward Akasaka as you walk from the US Embassy. Everything is home made and they offer a wide variety of veggie pita sandwiches in addition to the standard falafel and hummous variety. Be warned, service is very, very slow and proudly so...a sign on the wall even boasts they are a "slow fast food restaurant". If you are going there for lunch, it is well worth calling in your order (English or Japanese is fine). It generally will be almost ready by the time you arrive.
  15. Hey, I got curious and found this food blog which mentions the horse flesh ice cream and a number of other "delicacies". Actually, the crab ice cream she mentions sounds like it might even work for me. The kani we normally find tends to be a little sweet and usually served cold, sometimes on ice. Throwing in a little cream and sugar is not so great a leap...
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