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Everything posted by tantan

  1. Can't stand avocado. Nothing should be softer than the fish. It just feels gross biting through soft rice, soft fish, then mushy avocado. If you're going to have a vegetable in their it needs some texture. And now to contradict myself.... I actually like cream cheese sometimes. I've tried it with salmon, which was gross. But a place that I go to makes sushi with cream cheese rolled with the rice on the outside, then unagi on top. I only tried it because the alternatives didn't even have fish in them, but it turned out to be pretty good. I've also seen mango, but the place stopped selling it after about a week. Smoked salmon isn't too good.
  2. Just an "in case anyone's interested" thread. The Nintendo DS is a handheld video games system. The main advantages of it is that is has two screens instead of one - one of which is a touch screen that allows you to use a pen to write and point instead of using buttons or keyboards. It also has a microphone which you can use for voice recognition in some software. Anyway, a lot of non-games have been released for it: brain training, physical exercise software, games designed to teach you how to trade stocks, guides to improve your manners, and so on. Cooking games are quite popular, so I thought I'd just list all of them in case anyone's interested. All of these have only been released in Japanese. All of links are just from one site - just google game names if you want other screenshots. Shaberu! DS Ryouri NaviShaberu! DS Ryori Navi しゃべる!DSお料理ナビ This one is just like a recipe book. You can browse by ingredients, cooking methods, make a checklist of what have in your cupboard etc. Recipes are step-by-step with pictures. It will say what's written in the steps, and you can speak back to it (for example if you're in the middle of cooking and don't want to press any buttons). You can ask it to repeat, go back, go to the next step, start and stop a timer. There are also some videos for things such as cutting or cooking techniques. Most of the other games have the same basic features, or are built on exactly the same engine. Shaberu! DS Oryouri Navi: Marugoto Teikoku Hotel DSお料理ナビ: まるごと帝国ホテル This one was just released. Same series as the previous ones. It features restaurants of this famous hotel. Has a bio of each chef, guide to their restaurants and recipes from each of them. There's about five different restaurants: French, Japanese, Chinese etc. If you click the link, the box cover has the restaurant names on it. Kenkou Ouen Recipe 1000: DS Kondate Zenshuu 健康応援レシピ1000DS献立全集 Features about 7 different recipe books: Japanese, French, Italian, sweets etc. Oishinbo: DS Recipe Shuu 美味しんぼ:DSレシピ集 This game is based on the manga of the same name. I haven't played it much yet, but you can read some of the manga - when you see some food you like you can touch it to go to the recipe. Apart from that I think it has pretty much the same features as the others - videos, guides, searches etc. Oh yeah, with most of these games you can search for recipes by writing the kanji or kana on the touch screen, which is pretty cool. I think that's about everything that's been released at the moment. I'm just going off the top of my head for most of this, so if anyone wants more details or specifics on anything etc. just let me know. There's also a game called Cooking Mama, but it's more of a game than an interactive recipe book. Maybe good for kids.
  3. If they have something like promoting authentic Japanese cuisine abroad I'd say they might be wise to start with the consumers rather than restaurants. Restaurants can make whatever they want, but it doesn't mean people are going to buy it. If more people understand what Japanese food is in terms of ingredients, quality, freshness, serving style etc. they're going to demand it. In Australia it's still pretty much the same as anywhere, but I think more and more people have more of an idea of what "real" Japanese food is, and so, seek it out. But in the end, I guess this is all pretty pointless. People are going to eat what they want depending on what they're used to. You can't force them to eat what you see as authentic Japanese food. Foods and tastes change, and perceptions of what is authentic differ. I always thought Japanese food could be pretty much anything anyway, as long as it's prepared in a Japanese style and is in season and fresh. It's no good trying to eat tuna sashimi in the middle of somewhere far from the sea. In those places it would be more in the spirit to eat whatever fish you can get that is freshest. A lot of sushi I ate in Japan was pretty much the same low standard as some bad restaurants in Australia. But maybe that says more about the price you're willing to pay for sushi. If you go to a cheap restaurant anywhere, of course they're going to be cutting corners. Are they going to crack down on sushi in Japan too?
  4. I don't know why you think so in the first place. Some (Japanese) say they prefer Mercian, and Choya and Mercian are not the only companies that make umeshu. I found this blog, where the blogger says she likes to try other umeshu, not just Choya. Look at all the photos there, and you may feel a little relieved. ← Oh good. Thanks Hiroyuki. I might stick with Mercian for a while now. I'd love to try other brands as soon as possible but in Australia I couldn't find anything else. It took so long to find somewhere that sells Choya, then the other day I stumbled across a bottle shop that sells all kinds of Japanese alcohol, but only two brands of umeshu. I want to try the Suntory green tea liquor next.
  5. I have a dilemma over which umeshu (plum wine) to drink. I went through a few bottles of Choya (export bottle without plums). It was all going well until I bought some Mercian. It was pretty good. Real easy to drink. Then when I went back to Choya I noticed it was kind of harsh on my throat and preferred Mercian much more. After wondering why Mercian was so good I checked the ingredients of both. Choya had the bare necessities, while Mercian had brewery alcohol, plum flavour and other flavour enhancers with 4 digit number next to them. I'd love to make my own but not an option at the moment. So what do you think? Am I out of the club if I drink Mercian? Do the flavour enhancers etc. really make it inferior? My instincts tell me that I should ditch the chemical riddled Mercian and stick with Choya. Mercian actually feels more like drinking ume juice, rather than alcohol. So maybe I'll drink Choya and find a good ume juice. Can anyone suggest a good ume juice that's not too sweet?
  6. I just got a skimmer from a Chinese supermarket. Cheap (which is good for poor students) and worked well. Thanks. I made cream korokke just once before, but was too lazy this time. We just had kabocha, curry and meat & potato. I think I'm pretty much over making them now, it's so messy and time consuming. I just need to hurry up and get to Japan so I can buy my korokke like normal people. Everytime they see me, those girls ask "When are you making me korokke?" or just "korokke?" I thought it would just be easier to make them so they'd stop asking.
  7. I've been coerced into hosting a korokke & dorayaki party by a bunch of Japanese girls at my university. I know, that's a weird combo but one person demanded korokke and the other demanded dorayaki. I've made korokke about 5 or 6 times before. They always turn out pretty good, but I think it's more luck than skill, I'm still in the learning stages of cooking. Does anyone have any tips? What are some good ways to make them lighter? I guess less filling than potato like helenjp mentioned. Any other hints? I like them dark brown and crunchy. Should I just try to cook for a shorter time at a higher temperature so they don't absorb too much oil? I usually end up with a lot of burnt panko in my pan because I don't have the right tools/ can't be bothered/ don't know a good technique to get all of that stuff out before I start the next batch. I'm doing these in a frying pan and flipping once.... so I guess people using a deep fryer wouldn't encounter this problem. Is it really important to get rid of the scum? It never really bothered me much having some with burnt pieces, but I'd prefer not to serve them to other people. I think I'm just going to do: Potato, beef, onion & carrot. Kabocha (using helenjp's method of baking the pumpkin before mashing) Curry .... and whatever else gets demanded on the day any other recommendations?
  8. Hmmmm.... I can't think of much in particular that hasn't been mentioned so far. I think I'd just want a guide on how to use Japanese ingredients to give anything a Japanese flavour - making miso based sauces for frying vegetables or making soup out of anything. Tips on how to use sake, mirin, shouyu (like not buring it!). I can easily make Japanese dishes if I follow the recipe, but my Japanese flatmate can just take whatever we have in fridge and make something that "tastes Japanese". I'd probably also like to things like Japanese spaghetti (shellfish sauces, nattou spaghetti etc.) Also like to see some cheating methods. I have a Japanese book for cooking cheap and easy meals for 365 days. It's really good, it has things like easy ways to make buta no kakuni, mixing katakuriko into the water when frying gyouza so they all come off the pan together, and various ways to cheat on dishes. Torakris, if you do make a book, you definately have to include your nikujyaga recipe. That's the recipe that really got me started in Japanese cooking. It always comes out great and I always get "Oh! It tastes just like my mum's!" from Japanese friends. A lot of Japanese books are just nice to look at, but focus too much on presentation. Most people would only ever make a couple of dishes out of them. This book sounds like a really good idea.
  9. Just out of curiosity, are most of the Japanese restaurants in Australia run by actual Japanese? Here in North America, I would say the opposite is true (most are not run by Japanese). ← It depends. Most mainstream Japanese places (sushi trains, weird combo sukiyaki/ other Asian food restaurants) in major cities are usually run by Taiwanese, Chinese and Koreans. That's basically the norm, with a few Japanese waitresses on staff. The city I'm in at the moment only has a few Japanese run lunch places, a bbq place and a few overpriced restaurants. But if you go to the Gold Coast or Cairns it's totally different. The Gold Coast area attracted 192,943 Japanese tourists this year. There are lots of Japanese living and working in those places permanently or as a working holiday. There you can find lots of restaurants that cater to all the tourists - all Japanese staff and customers - a couple of ramen places, izakaya, places where you can find a proper Japanese breakfast, supermarkets etc. If you were just walking around in normal areas I'd say it'd be pretty much the same as North America - the usual "Japanese" or "Japanese/ something else" restaurants run by non-Japanese.
  10. Of course all cuisines are misunderstood by the general population. In Australia I think we have the most multicultural society in the world. Lots of different cuisines to choose from. But most people will only eat the "representitive" dishes or the Australian versions of everything - it doesn't help that that's all you can usually find unless you know where to go. But surely Japanese and other cuisines are becoming more understood by a larger group of people and more fully by those people. Coming from a small city to a larger one in Australia I can see just how much more people are aware of what is available in other cuisines such as Japan in more populated areas. Sushi is becoming much more popular to the general population. It's becoming more and more common to see people you'd expect to be eating Burger King eating sushi instead. Of course it's usually the Australian "teriyaki chicken sushi" or "fried prawn sushi" but occassionally people will try something you'd actually find in Japan. There are a lot more sushi train restaurants which do offer a similar style of food to Japan. In these restaurants you can find things such as udon, chawan mushi or katsudon more commonly. Having a large Japanese population means that there are some real Japanese restaurants which cater to Japanese in certain parts of Australia. You can find more and more Australians venturing in to broaden their perspective on what real Japanese food is. Of course food you eat in restaurants is never really a fair representation. To begin to understood people would need to go to Japan and eat in someone's home, develop a taste for nattou, pickles and umeboshi, go to izakaya, eat nabe in winter etc. Japanese cuisine is definately misunderstood. But I think more and more people are bothering to find out more about it and I definately see a lot more people who I'd expect to see chowing down on a Big Mac with a sushi roll stuffed in their mouth instead. Sure it's not a fair representation of what Japanese food is, but it's a start. I'd say Japanese cuisine is slowly becoming more understood. This thread has almost got me pumped enough to start one of those sentence finishing threads.... "Japanese food is...." e.g curry pan and tuna-mayo onigiri when you missed the last train OR hot soba at kiyomizu OR making your own tako yaki in Osaka etc.
  11. What about that one that brain-eating parasite that can be found in salmon? I'm sure everyone heard about that guy who ate salmon sashimi every day - some time later after getting severe headaches they cracked his skull open and found some evil worm parasites on his brain. Not trying to scare anyone though.... I'm just saying. I think they're actually pretty rare. I heard that wasabi could kill them.
  12. I think you mean 白い恋人 http://www.shiroikoibito.ishiya.co.jp/, not 雪の恋人 http://palmyamcha.hkisl.net/archives/000218.html This blogger says that 雪の恋人 is a copy of 白い恋人 and it's made in Hong Kong. And, yes. I have had 白い恋人 many times. It's a very popular gift, and I've never bought it myself. I like 白い恋人, but I like branchure even more because it's so cheap. The package I showed in my previous post, which contains 12 branchures and 12 alforts, is only 298 yen! ← That's the one. I couldn't remember exactly what it was called, so I just googled it and found yuki no koibito and thought that must've been it.
  13. The one on the right looks similar to something I tried which I think was from Hokkaido. It was called 雪の恋人。 Have you tried it? It was really good - nice light texture and flavour. I think I tried a Korean version of the one on the left too, which was pretty good. Korean companies seem to make a lot of their own versions of Japanese snacks which are a pretty good option in Australia because they're usually one third of the price!
  14. I'm going to have to agree with jkonick's comment about Japanese food in general. I usually prefer Japanese versions because they're usually lighter, fresher and more nutritious. I lived in Taiwan for a year, and everything seemed to add more - more sugar, more sauce - it was all just a bit too overpowering. But Japanese versions usually just keep it simple. Agree with mayo too. Don't know how good it is for me, but I'm just addicted to the flavour of kewpie. Tonkatsu - Yes! Korokke - Yes! I love all kinds of snacks and drinks. In Australia, and I'm sure in America too companies seem to think making something more delicious means making it sweeter or dumping more chocolate or whatever on it. Japanese versions just experiment with different flavours and combinations, but they're always light enough so you can actually eat them and enjoy without feeling like you've done something seriously bad to your body. I haven't had Japanese pizza before - but I can't agree with putting corn on anything like salad or pizza. They do that in Taiwan too. Corn just has such a unique and overpowering flavour, imo if you want to eat it, you should just eat it by itself and never add it to something else unless it's supposed to just taste of corn. Corn fritters, ok. Pizza...? no way. I think you all need to go to Taiwan to eat gyouza and xiaolong bao. I love Japanese gyouza too, but Taiwanese ones are even better!
  15. This topic is completely subjective, but I want to know which foods you think are done better in the Japanese style and which ones don't even come close to the originals. Japanese are famous for taking an idea and improving on it - I agree that some dishes are definately improvements, but sometimes I think they've just ruined the dish. For me, dishes better in Japan are: Mapo tofu - This is the dish I could eat every day of my life. I love it. I've eaten in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Australia, but I always prefer the Japanese version. In China it's too hot, not enough flavour or too soupy. In Taiwan it's too sweet. But no matter where I eat mapo tofu in Japan I always love it. It has the right mix of spiciness, sweetness, fresh tofu and meat - and the sauce is that wonderful consistency so that after all the main part is gone you can put it over your rice and keep enjoying the flavour Curry - Logically, I know the Indian versions should be better - they have a lot more variety, quality and fresh ingredients. But that can't compete with the taste and feeling of a nice hot plate of Japanese curry rice or katsu curry. Original is better: Gyouza There's nothing wrong with Japanese gyouza, but there just isn't enough variety in flavour, cooking styles and eating methods. China and Taiwan have the Japanese style pan fried "guo tie" - but they come in pork and vegetable, just vegetable, prawn and other stuff. You can get a plate of suigyouza on a plate - ordered individually and eat only that for lunch, or accompanied by a bowl of sour & hot soup. Or in winter you can have them in a bowl with soup, or soup and noodles. You can have them deep fried, or you can eat own of gyouza's delicous cousins - xiaolong bao, xiaolong tang bao. I LOVE Chinese dumplings! I'll stop there for now. What do you think?
  16. When I first started eating Japanese food I had the habit of drinking soup completely before starting on the rest of the meal in kouchuu tabe. Now I eat everything so that by the end of the meal I have one mouthful left of everything (including soup). How much rice I stuff in my mouth just depends on how much food there is, and how far I have to make it last until I'm full. I hardly ever put anything in my mouth without immediately following with rice - that just feels too rude to other people I'm eating with. If I'm eating something strongly flavoured like curry or hayashi rice I need a lot of rice. I can't stand having a plateful of curry and not enough rice.
  17. I thought it looked like the crunchy green seaweed that comes on top of "battleship" sushi. I just asked my Japanese friend, who usually knows all kinds of things that other Japanese have no idea about what that was called. He just said "seaweed". He said there are heaps of different kinds of seaweed, but people only know the names of a few - konbu, hijiki, mozoku, wakame etc. So, are you guys talking about the same stuff that's on top of ship sushi (I also see it frozen in the supermarket)? If they are different things, does anyone know what the sushi one is?
  18. helenjp - it's a soy sauce based sauce... maybe some sesame oil and a few other secret ingredients. It's a light flavoured, but very satisfying kind of salad. No miso, daikon or other really dominating flavours that I could detect. I'm pretty sure it's a simple sauce - most of the flavour comes from the baby spinach, tuna and almonds. Sorry, I haven't been to the restaurant in a while. I'll have to try to determine exactly what's in it next time and see if my friend who used to work there knows anything. Kimchi and yoghurt, huh? Have you ever tried pineapple with soy sauce?
  19. I really want the recipe for the salad from a yakiniku place that I go to (Koh-Ya in Brisbane, Australia). The main ingredients are baby spinach, sliced almonds and tuna. I'm not exactly sure what's in the sauce, but I love it. I can't stand having corn in salads. It's just too dominant for me. I think corn should only be eaten by itself.
  20. I think my favourite restaurant is "Koh-Ya" in Fortitude Valley. It's a Japanese bbq place. You can go all-you-can-eat or just order off the menu. There are three choices of all-you-can-eat. The most expensive one is $48 and lets you order as much as you want of pretty much anything on the menu. Some favourites are: barbequed beef tongue bbq pork with lettuce and miso dressing baby spinach, tuna and almond salad Yukke (raw minced beef with shallots, sweet soy sauce and raw egg) Various kinds of sashimi Nattou bi bim ba bbq ray wing with mayo (goes down well with sake) Also, the sashimi at "Sakura" was fresh, and the chef seems skilled - but it was too expensive for me to eat there too often. $28 for sashimi moriawase. For lunch my favourite place is "Top Noodle" in Sunnybank Market Square - they have negi toro don (raw tuna on rice) and salmon don, which is really difficult to get out of Japan. It's always been available for me, but one of my friends said they sell out of tuna sometimes because they import it from Japan. I also like their chicken karaage. I was also shocked to find out that the new Hanaichi restaurant on the 2nd floor of Wintergarden is actually pretty good if you know what to order. Hamachi (kingfish I think) is 2.70 a plate, which is a bargain imo. There were also a few other surprises on the sushi menu. Seared salmon was pretty good. If you're ordering off the other menu, chikuzen-ni is nice (chicken, lotus root, gobou (burdock?) , bamboo and sweet potato in a soy sauce based broth). I wouldn't order kani korokke again - couldn't even taste the crab. Garlic Squid was good - squid was cooked to perfection, nice and soft and the sauce was delicious. Salads were pretty average and sake was served in wine glasses for some reason.
  21. tantan


    The first time I tried it, it was with a bunch of random stuff like raw egg and wasabi, without rice, so I wasn't that keen to try it again. But once you get used to it your taste buds will thank you for it. Since I started loving nattou, I gradually began loving other strong Japanese flavours even more. I didn't really care for stuff like umeboshi, shiso or unagi before, but now I crave them. You should try nattou with shallots, soy sauce and karashi. I also love it with a kind of pickled enoki mushroom that you can buy in a jar, it really adds to the flavour and texture. Does anyone know what I mean? I really recommend them if you can get them. And make sure you mix it up well, it really improves the flavour if there's a lot of air in there. I'm going shopping to find out what those mushrooms are called.
  22. tantan


    Blasphemy! Why would anyone want to get rid of the beautiful aroma of nattou?!? Half the flavour is in the smell! I just can't understand why so many people say it stinks. The first time I tried it I just thought it was ok, but I didn't really notice the smell. After that I started to love both the taste and the smell. If you want stinky, try Taiwanese "Stinky Tofu" 臭豆腐(which is also delicious!) Speaking of nattou in Taiwan.... I found that it was quite difficult to find a good one. Usually they use larger beans that have been chopped up, they look pale and aren't very sticky.
  23. When I was studying in Taiwan, one of my Japanese friends would insist on ordering the strangest foods on the menu, just for fun. Usually he couldn't finish and ended up sharing ours. We had some curry flavoured nabe, milk nabe, cheese sushi at a yakiniku restaurant - they were grilled on the plate (which I actually really liked), unknown weird concoctions of drinks - rose petal tea is the only thing I can remember right now. From the Hall of Strange food, those banana-choco "takoyaki" look good (as long as they don't actually have tako in them!) I'd like to have them with chocolate sauce on top and maybe some coconut or something.
  24. My favourite drink at the moment is from Starbucks (in Australia, not sure if other countries have it). It's a kind of milkshake mixed with green tea, crushed ice and cream on top. It's smooth, creamy, tastes like a dessert drink, but not too sweet. As for real Japanese drinks, I usually just have mugicha, green tea, Pocari Sweat or whatever flavour of Calpis has just been released. If I'm eating yakiniku or okonomiyaki I love a Sapporo or Asahi.
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