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Feasting My Way Through Japan


rarerollingobject
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In December, I spent 3 glorious weeks eating my way through Japan; Tokyo, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Sapporo, Hakodate and back to Tokyo. It was my 11th (!) trip to Japan but my mother had never been, so I thought I'd take the old girl over for a good time. We did not kill each other, surprisingly.

 

I'll come back and caption these a little more informatively over coming weeks, but as you can see, we ate rather a lot. 

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Midori Sushi, Mark City, Shibuya (always my first stop when I arrive in Tokyo, as my preferred hotel is directly above it)

 

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Toro tuna belly,  Midori Sushi, Mark City, Shibuya

 

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Squid gristle for snack time (as you do)

 

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Uni tempura, Tsunahachi, Shinjuku

 

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Uni tempura, Tsunahachi, Shinjuku

 

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Eel, fish and scallop tempura, Tsunahachi, Shinjuku

 

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Clam meat, chopped, stuffed back in clam shell and tempura'd, Tsunahachi, Shinjuku

 

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Crab leg tempura, Tsunahachi, Shinjuku

 

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Maitake mushroom (a cluster of them) tempura, Tsunahachi, Shinjuku

 

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Squid, prawn which had been alive right up until this point, lotus root tempura, dipping sauce, radish and green tea salt, 

Tsunahachi, Shinjuku

 

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Prawn head tempura, 

Tsunahachi, Shinjuku

 

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Evening hotel room snack - an AUD$15 tray of uni from Isetan depachika (food basement), Shinjku

 

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Amaebi (sweet raw prawn) gunkan sushi from Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten, Shibuya

 

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Engawa (flounder fin), lightly grilled, 

Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten, Shibuya

 

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Otoro, chutoro and akami tuna, 

Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten, Shibuya

 

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Marinated raw baby squid sushi, 

Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten, Shibuya

 

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Otoro fatty tuna belly and minced daikon (takuan), 

Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten, Shibuya

 

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Fried oysters, 

Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten, Shibuya

 

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Negitoro - fatty minced tuna belly and green onion,

Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten, Shibuya

 

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Salmon, flounder fin and tuna belly aburi (lightly grilled), 

Umegaoka Sushi No Midori Sohonten, Shibuya

Edited by Smithy
Adjusted title, which originally indicated a single trip (log)
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Isomarusuisan, Shibuya - a grill your own seafood place. You get a portable grill and a pair of tongs and have at it. They even have a 'catch your own squid' pool in the middle of the restaurant.

 

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Grilled tuna collar, 

Isomarusuisan, Shibuya

 

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Bukkake (ahem) sushi, with uni, whitebait, tuna belly and salmon roe, 

Isomarusuisan, Shibuya

 

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Grilling our own sazae (turban shell) and scallops,

Isomarusuisan, Shibuya

 

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Grilling kani miso (crab tomalley served in its shell) and clams, 

Isomarusuisan, Shibuya

 

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Happy peoples, 

Isomarusuisan, Shibuya

 

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And more 

Isomarusuisan, Shibuya

 

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The all-important business of choosing our ekiben (filled lunchboxes to eat on the train) for our trip to Kanazawa

 

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Kanazawa sashimi don, with minced tuna belly, salmon roe, chopped cucumber and sesame seeds on sushi rice,
Omicho Market, Kanazawa

 

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Snack for me; eating a raw sweet spot prawn with its roe, 

Omicho Market, Kanazawa

 

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Snack for me: uni,

Omicho Market, Kanazawa

 

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Crab-lookers

Omicho Market, Kanazawa

 

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Oysters,

Omicho Market, Kanazawa

 

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Oysters, uni and scallops,

Omicho Market, Kanazawa

 

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Squid, crab, chunks of fish, 

Omicho Market, Kanazawa

 

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Clams and whelks,

Omicho Market, Kanazawa

 

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Shirako (cod sperm sacs),

Omicho Market, Kanazawa

 

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Fresh wasabi root, 

Omicho Market, Kanazawa

 

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Crabs and uni,

Omicho Market, Kanazawa

 

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Raw spot prawns with roe,

Omicho Market, Kanazawa

 

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Omicho Market, Kanazawa

 

Edited by rarerollingobject (log)
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12289677_10153769802669122_8753752986992460991_n.jpg

Grilled fish stall,
Omicho Market, Kanazawa

 

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Unagi grilled eel stall,

Omicho Market, Kanazawa

 

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More crabs

Omicho Market, Kanazawa

 

 

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The hotel in Kanazawa had a sashimi buffet for breakfast, as well as a Western bacon and eggs style spread. So the only thing for it as far as I was concerned was a make-your-own sashimi kaisendon (seafood bowl) bacon abomination.
 

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Sashimi breakfast buffet, ANA Kanazawa Hotel

 

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Matcha and red bean sweets, Higashichaya teahouse, Kanazawa
 

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Tonkotsu Ramen and gyoza, A1 Ramen, Kanazawa

 

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Grilled salmon
Michita Izakaya, Kanazawa

 

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Sashimi omakase,

Michita Izakaya, Kanazawa

 

 

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Gold leaf soft serve, Kanazawa

 

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Onto Kyoto. Baby octopus stuffed with a hard-boiled quails' egg (of course)
Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Clams, 

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

 

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Cold icy cucumbers on sticks, very good

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Wasabi roots, 

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

 

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Pickles of various sorts - some in sake lees, some in fermenting miso

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Grilled things, mostly unagi (eel)

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

 

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Baby octopus, braised in sweet sauce, stuffed with a quails' egg

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

 

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Fugu (pufferfish) shop

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

 

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Rice cracker-maker

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

 

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Shops various

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

 

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Chestnut shop, freshly roasting

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

 

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Dried fish/bonito shop

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

 

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Dried fish shop,

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

 

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Pickles and things

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

 

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Eggs of all sorts (such beautiful, yellow-yolked eggs too, Japanese eggs taste amazing)

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

 

 

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Fresh warm tamagoyaki (sweet/salty omelette) on a stick

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

 

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Sake shop (I bought quite a bit to drink in the bath in the house we rented)

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

 

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Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

 

Edited by rarerollingobject (log)
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12278953_10153782389564122_7731882785015718955_n.jpg

Tamagoyaki (omelette) maker
Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

12278908_10153782389494122_4252159247399981593_n.jpg

Cucumbers pickling in sake lees

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Unagi (eel) stall

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Grilled fish - that says kamasu, which Google tells me is whiting
Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Obligatory photo of the plastic food key rings

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Grilled things

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Wagyu/kobe beef of various grades, to be grilled on the spot

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Kameboko/fish cake stand

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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More fish cakes

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Roasting sweet potatoes

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Oysters, turban shells/sazae

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Sashimi on sticks

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Nikuman (beef bun), snack for me

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Shop!

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Grilled and simmered fish stall

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Warabi - mochi/pounded sticky rice sweets, usually rolled in roasted soybean or green tea powder

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Grilled buri (yellowtail) and baby squid

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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More pickles

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Chief Pickle Inspector

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Lemon tuna sashimi, snack for me 

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

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Now we're onto to Sapporo, the snowy capital of Hokkaido. We arrived and immediately realised that we're pathetic Australians who are shithouse at dealing with snow, so we stood outside for approximately 30 seconds of the whole trip. This is at a kaisendon (seafood rice bowl) place in Nijo Fish Market, Sapporo

 

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SO GOOD. This had salmon roe, uni, sweet amaebi prawn, salmon belly, scallops, squid, tuna, ark shell clam and a raw crab leg (not shown, I ate it before remembering to take a photo)

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

 

12347698_10153785673299122_7945364783130413697_n.jpg

Akami (lean) tuna
Nemuro Hanamaru Kaiten Sushi, Sapporo

 

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Engawa (flounder fin)

Nemuro Hanamaru Kaiten Sushi, Sapporo

 

12346388_10153785673209122_3104316981376211122_n.jpg

Aburi (grilled) salmon

Nemuro Hanamaru Kaiten Sushi, Sapporo

 

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Scallop grilled in its shell and eaten standing in a gutter on our second trip to Nijo Market, Sapporo

 

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Flower crab,

Nijo Market, Sapporo

 

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Snow crab,

Nijo Market, Sapporo

 

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Hairy crab

Nijo Market, Sapporo

 

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Giant octopus leg

Nijo Market, Sapporo

 

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Crab tank

Nijo Market, Sapporo

 

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Spiny crab

Nijo Market, Sapporo

 

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Nijo Market, Sapporo

 

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This was then in Hakodate, a town south of Sapporo. At an uni-specialist restaurant. Uni gratin - uni, in uni custard, grilled in its shell. After.

Uni Murakami, Hakodate Morning Market

 

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Before.

Uni Murakami, Hakodate Morning Market

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Uni and shiso leaf tempura.

Uni Murakami, Hakodate Morning Market

12308483_10153787150244122_4777362235188526716_n.jpg

More uni and shiso tempura (I ordered a second serving!)
Uni Murakami, Hakodate Morning Market

 

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My mother's uni tempura rice bowl.

Uni Murakami, Hakodate Morning Market

 

 

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Raw uni don 

Uni Murakami, Hakodate Morning Market

Edited by rarerollingobject (log)
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That is beautiful. I love all the pictures even though (or because) I can only identify, at best, half of what I am looking at. Thank you for posting this. 

Edited by ElainaA (log)

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. Cicero

But the library must contain cookbooks. Elaina

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I know, I'm sorry I haven't captioned them..the enormity of the task is tiring just to think about. I'll get around to it. But if there's any picture in particular that intrigues, let me know in the meantime.

 

I also have approximately a billion pictures of the inside of the local supermarket next to the restored machiya house we rented in Kyoto I could post if anyone's interested - I love to cook, and so does Mum, so I wanted at least one of our stops to be somewhere we'd have a kitchen and could shop and cook together. That was a highlight.

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Wow! Beautiful photography.

I'm impressed with the many ways uni is served. Do post some supermarket photos as one of the things I do on trips is check out local markets and supermarkets (and inevitably buy more than I can possibly use or take home).

 

Cheers.

 

 

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I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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Wonderful series of photos. I'm looking forward to the captions! In the meantime I'm curious about the white protein? a couple photos above the knives. It is next to some salmon roe and some fatty fish. Is it milt perhaps?

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Just now, catdaddy said:

Wonderful series of photos. I'm looking forward to the captions! In the meantime I'm curious about the white protein? a couple photos above the knives. It is next to some salmon roe and some fatty fish. Is it milt perhaps?

 

Yes, it's shirako; cod milt/sperm. One of my favourite things. I hardly know anyone who likes it; everyone's all, "Ewww, sperm.." But me? I looooove it. 

 

Ahem.

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I feel as boggled by the abundant unfamiliarity as if I'd landed in those markets myself!  Thanks for posting these.

 

What was the combination of baby octopus and quail egg like?  Did they play off each other well?   

 

I wondered about the gold leaf on the soft-serve ice cream cone and, until your caption, thought it was some new drip-saving method.  Does the leaf add a flavor, or is it more about the texture and color (and luxury)?

  • Like 2

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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7 minutes ago, Smithy said:

I feel as boggled by the abundant unfamiliarity as if I'd landed in those markets myself!  Thanks for posting these.

 

What was the combination of baby octopus and quail egg like?  Did they play off each other well?   

 

I wondered about the gold leaf on the soft-serve ice cream cone and, until your caption, thought it was some new drip-saving method.  Does the leaf add a flavor, or is it more about the texture and color (and luxury)?

 

I personally loved the octopus. I tend not to like eggs very much in general, and I wished it was soft boiled, but apart from that it was delicious..sweet soy mirin glaze.

The gold leaf is ONLY for luxury/novelty; that part of Kanazawa is very famous for its gold leaf production. Added absolutely no flavour, and melted to nothing in the mouth, so no texture either..though the by-products later that night were rather, uh, sparkly..so that was fun.

Edited by rarerollingobject (log)
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@rarerollingobject

Thanks for posting the photos. The wasabi in the fifth photo would have found its way home with me.

Beautiful seafood. Impressed by the variety available, especially the abalone.

 

 

 

 

I know it's stew. What KIND of stew?

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Japan is amazing for a foodie. I miss it sometimes.

 

I'm in the love shirako camp, too - I like the hot stone bowl / rice / shirako treatment. "Very good for your husband" I got told by one of our regular haunts :D 

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Oh, how these photos make me long to go back! I believe my favorite place in all of Tokyo is the Tsukiji fish market. 

 

Thank you for posting these. I could almost taste many of these delicacies. 

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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What a series of deliciousness. I am in major seafood craving mode now. Were it not Fathers Day in the US tomorrow I would be down at the better fish market going nuts

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      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By liuzhou
      Last week, Liuzhou government invited a number of diplomats from Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar/Burma, Poland, and Germany to visit the city and prefecture. They also invited me along. We spent Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday introducing the diplomats to the culture of the local ethnic groups and especially to their food culture.
       
      First off, we headed two hours north into the mountains of Rongshui Miao Autonomous County. The Miao people (苗族 miáo zú), who include the the Hmong, live in the mid-levels of mountains and are predominantly subsistence farmers. Our first port of call was the county town, also Rongshui (融水 róng shuǐ, literal meaning: Melt Water) where we were to have lunch. But before lunch we had to go meet some people and see their local crafts. These are people I know well from my frequent work trips to the area, but for the diplomats, it was all new.
       
      So, I had to wait for lunch, and I see no reason why you shouldn't either. Here are some of the people I live and work with.


       
      This lovely young woman is wearing the traditional costume of an unmarried girl. Many young women, including her, wear this every day, but most only on festive occasions.
       
      Her hat is made from silver (and is very heavy). Here is a closer look.
       

       
      Married women dispense with those gladrags and go for this look:
       

       
      As you can see she is weaving bamboo into a lantern cover.
       
      The men tend to go for this look, although I'm not sure that the Bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone is strictly traditional.
       

       
      The children don't get spared either
       

       
      This little girl is posing with the Malaysian Consul-General.
       
      After meeting these people we went on to visit a 芦笙 (lú shēng) workshop. The lusheng is a reed wind instrument and an important element in the Miao, Dong and Yao peoples' cultures.
       

       

       
      Then at last we headed to the restaurant, but as is their custom, in homes and restaurants, guests are barred from entering until they go through the ritual of the welcoming cup of home-brewed rice wine.
       


      The consular staff from Myanmar/Burma and Malaysia "unlock" the door.
       
      Then you have the ritual hand washing part.
       

       
      Having attended to your personal hygiene, but before  entering the dining room, there is one more ritual to go through. You arrive here and sit around this fire and wok full of some mysterious liquid on the boil.
       

       
      On a nearby table is this
       

       
      Puffed rice, soy beans, peanuts and scallion. These are ladled into bowls.
       

       
      with a little salt, and then drowned in the "tea" brewing in the wok.
       
      This is  油茶 (yóu chá) or Oil Tea. The tea is made from Tea Seed Oil which is made from the seeds of the camellia bush. This dish is used as a welcoming offering to guests in homes and restaurants. Proper etiquette suggests that three cups is a minimum, but they will keep refilling your cup until you stop drinking. First time I had it I really didn't like it, but I persevered and now look forward to it.
       

      L-R: Director of the Foreign Affairs Dept of Liuzhou government, consuls-general of Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos.
       
      Having partaken of the oil tea, finally we are allowed to enter the dining room, where two tables have been laid out for our use.
       

       
      Let the eating, finally, begin.
       
      In no particular order:
       

      Steamed corn, taro and sweet potato
       

      Bamboo Shoots
       

      Duck
       

      Banana leaf stuffed with sticky rice and mixed vegetables and steamed.
       

      Egg pancake with unidentified greenery
       

      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

       
      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
    • By shain
      It's been more than a year in which international travel was challenging to impossible, but gladly this is changing, as more countries are able to vaccinate their population.
      Greece had managed to return to a state of near normality, and opted to allow vaccinated individuals to enter. And so I decided to go on a slightly spontaneous vacation (only slightly, we still had almost a month for planning). To the trip I was joined by my father, to whom I owed some good one-on-one time and was able to travel on a short-ish notice.
       
       
      Many people are yet unable to travel, and many countries are suffering quite badly from the virus, and therefore I considered if I should wait some time with this post. However, I hope that it will instead be seen with an optimistic view, showing that back-to-normal is growing ever closer.
       
       
      We returned just a few days ago, and it will take me some time to organize my photos, so this is a teaser until then.
       
       
       
       
    • By Drew777
      I'm a Brit. I'm also a closet Frenchman.  To cap it all, I'm happily retired in Bangkok, the city of a street food culture that's second to none. The Thais are healthy and slim. I'm just this side of alive and far from slim. Lockdown has me fantasizing about my days working in London, Paris and New York, an existence, if one could call it that, revolving around gastronomy of one kind or another. They paid me, not so very much as it happens, to do what I enjoy doing most in life. We all get to do it, but I was one of a fortunate few who made it his metier. Well all that's in the past now, but I still dream of my time in Paris when lunch was a tad short of 2-hours, little-known local bistros remained affordable until the day they were discovered by La Bible (Michelin Guide) and the students were revolting - this was the summer of '68, for heaven's sake. Someone should open bistro here in Bangkok with a table d'hote of Soupe a l'Oignon gratinee, Blanquette de Veau, a stinky Epoisses and Tarte Tatin to finsih with creme fraiche. Ah, it's back to lockdown and pad Thai. 
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