Japan — soba

Soba

 

Soba is a traditional food since Edo period. There are hot and cold soba. But, for me, cold soba is more special since you may experience a Japanese culture. While hot soba is not really special, I think it just like ramen, just the texture of the noodles is different.

Cold Soba — For cold soba, there is a bowl that contains soba sauce.

Hot Soba

Soba that sell in department store.

Recommended restaurants:

1) Edo Soba-hoso-kawa

Address: 5-6-1 kamezawa street, Sumida city, Tokyo Metropolis; TEL: 03-3626-1125

 

How to make Soba?

2) Soba restaurant near Senso Temple

Senso Temple @ kaminarumon

 

My Rating:

Published in: on April 2, 2008 at 3:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Japan — Baumkuchen

Baumkuchen

Baumkuchen is German. In Chinese, it means “the cake of rings.” A lot of Japanese people buy Baumkuchen cake as a gift, because they thought that the rings on the cake are similar to the rings on the tree. Thus they gave Baumkuchen cake the meaning of longevous and prosperous. Some Japanese people would have Baumkuchen as their wedding cake as well.

Usually a Baumkuchen cake is height 35 cm, and the diameter is 11 cm.

 

 

Recommended stores:

1) Kitakaro

 

Kitakaro store is really popular in desserts, Baumkuchen cake is one of them. They have a lot of chains throughout Japan.

They have a special name for the Baumkuchen cake. If translated it to English is “The spirit of the tree.”

Most of their stores are located in Hokkaido. The chain in Otaru city is a famous store that a lot of foreign visitors go there.

2) Villon

The characteristic of Villon’s Baumkuchens are baked in a vase. Thus different Baumkuchen cakes would have the special shape. To bake these kinds of Baumkuchen cakes are really difficult. It has to bake it one layer by one layer, and keep rotating it. Because of the special shape of the Baumkuchen cakes, Villon is one of the popular stores that sell Baumkuchen cakes in Japan.

It is the Baumkuchen cake which has the jelly of the raspberry inside, it contains that sweet taste of the cake and the sour taste of the raspberry jelly.

It is the shape of pear, and the Baumkuchen cake has the jelly of pear inside.

It is the shape of pear, and the Baumkuchen cake has the jelly of apple inside.

This is their oldest and original taste of Baumkuchen cake in this store.

Trio- Baumkuchen: included chocolate, coffee, and the original taste.

Green Tea Baumkuchen cake

Villon not only provides Baumuchen cakes, but also other, such as different kinds of chocolate.

Address: 2-8-4 Sakura-shin-machi, Minato-ku, Tokyo Metropolis; TEL: 03-3427-2555; Business Hours: 9:30 – 20: 30, Thursday off.

3) Juchheim

 

Juchheim’s Baumkuchen cakes are one of the successful candidates in the award of “The Best Tokyo gift.”

They provide 3 different sizes of Baumkuchen cakes.

Apple flavor – with cooked apple inside

 

Address of the main store: 1-4-13 Motomachi district, Chuo-city, Kobe

Juchheim has a lot of chains in the department stores throughout Japan, also in the airport. So if you can’t buy it when you travel around Japan, you can buy it in the airport.

4) Minamitei Baumkuchen

Published in: on April 1, 2008 at 9:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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Japan — Owakudani Black Egg

Owakudani Black Egg

 Owakudani is a famous national park in Hakone. 4,000 years ago, the volcano in Owakudani is almost not active. Thus, a lot of steams come out from the volcano. Also because of the steams, Japanese called this Owakudani national park as a “Hell Valley”. Even now, there still a lot of steams come out from the dead volcano. Due to the steams, there is a strong smell of sulphur.

From the parking lot to the middle of the volcano is 670m; it usually takes 30 minutes to go up there. Throughout the pathway, people can smell the sulphur. On the middle of the volcano, there is a tourist center that sells different souvenirs and the black eggs. According to the local legend, one egg can postpone one’s life for 7 years. Would you believe it?? …(I’m not! ) 6 years ago I been to Owakudani, as I remember one pack has 6 eggs. My cousin and I, each of us have 3 eggs……According to what the legend said, I will have 21 years more…Well…seems like postponed too many years…hah…

 

As I remember these eggs are not really special, the egg shells are in black color only. But because they are made by hot spring water, thus, there is a slightly different taste of the yolk. What I really remember is after I ate 3 eggs, I am super full!

 

Owakudani is also a place that can view the Fuji Mountain. Also, you will have totally different feeling when you go to Owakudani National Park in summer and winter.

A whole view of Owakudani:

My rating:

Published in: on March 31, 2008 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Japan — Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki (御好燒)

 

Okonomiyaki is one of the popular Japanese dishes which consist of a pan-fried batter cake and various ingredients. “Okonomi” means “what you like”, and “yaki” means “grilled”. The okonomiyaku came from Osaka and Hiroshima, thus Taiwanese called okonomiyaki as Osaka yakisoba. Because of different flavor of different cities, there are different flavors of okonomiyaki throughout Japan. Such as Okinawa’s flavor is called “Hirayachi”, and in Kinki-region is called “Modan yakisoba”. But they are all based on the traditional okonomyaki.

The main ingredients are cabbage, water, egg, etc, and then mixed with noodles, and seafood or meats, such as shrimp, pork, beef, etc.The cook will first put all the ingredients in a big bowl, then will pan-fired everything like a pancake.

In most of the Okonomiyaki restaurants, you can cook the okonomiyaki by yourself or the chef. So, customers are able to try to make okonomiyaki.

There is a special sauce for the Okonomiyaki, then serve with slide seaweed, mayonnaise, green onion, etc.

How to make Okonomiyaki?

Recommended restaurant:

Okonomiyaki Fugetsu

Meat Okonomiyaki

Shrimp Okonomiyaki

Osyter Okonomiyaki

Vegetables Okonomiyaki

Jumbo Okonomiyaki

 

My Rating:

Published in: on March 29, 2008 at 11:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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Japan — Tempura

Tempura Tsunahachi (天ぷらつな八)

Tempura is a common Japanese dish of deep fried battered vegetables and/or seafood. Tempura was introduced to Japan in the mid-16th century by early Portuguese and Spanish missionaries. The word “tempura” was derived from the Portugues noun “tempero,” which means a condiment or seasoning, or from the verb “temperar,” which means “to season.”

In Japan, many restaurants specializing in tempura are called “tempura-ya” and range from inexpensive fast food chains to very expensive 5- restaurants. Many restaurants offer tempura as part of a set meal or a lunch box.

Tempura Tsunahachi restaurant is a traditional tempura restaurant that has 80 years. There are over 40 branches in Japan. Each chain has own set tempura meals. But the Tsunahachi restaurant in AQUA CITY@ Odaiba is famous in tomato tempura. Since the tomato is a little bit sour, but when it is deep fried the tomato tempura is fresh and light.

Tempura in Tsunahachi used fresh ingredients to make the tempura. The tempura skins are not too thick. The most popular tempuras are eels, shrimps and mushroom. Served the tempura with their special sauces is a perfect match.

Every meal will provide you a rice bowl. Serve the tempura sauce with the rice is really delicious, while the tempura is a bit sweet and sour, which make people more appetitive.

They provide some seasoning for the tempura. The carrot sauce could make the tempura taste less oily, while salt is able to bring out the fresh taste of the seafood.

They also provide seasonal appetizers, such as egg tofu, sashimi, smashed carrot, etc.

Tempura Tsunahachi Restaurants list

Cooking Japanese Tempura

My Rating:

Published in: on March 28, 2008 at 12:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Japan — Oden

Oden

Oden is one of the traditional foods in Japan, people would usually have it once a month. While in cold winter, they would have it more frequently. Oden is kind of like hot pot/ Shabu-Shabu, the only difference is oden do not have meat, mostly the ingredients are vegetables, eggs, and fish ball.

It seems like really simple to cook oden, but the boiling time and the soup base will make a strong different of it. In Japan, there are oden restaurants and oden vendor stores. Especially in winter, Japanese like to have oden and with Japanese sake or beer. This is one of the traditional cultures in Japan. Except the original sauce of oden, mustard is another sauce that people will serve with the oden. In the past, using mustard is to kill the bacteria, but now it becomes a habit.

Due to different habit and characteristics in different cities, some cities have their own style of oden. But the ingredients are mostly the same.

Ingredients:

Chinese/Japanese Carrot (JAP: Diakon) — Unlike having the Chinese/Japanese Carrot in hot pot and/or Shabu Shabu, the carrot in oden are not cut in slide but thick.

Chikuwa – This taste like Chinese fish ball.

Boiled egg

Konjac

Toasted Tofu

Hanben – In Chinese, it means “half”. Most Japanese will serve this with hot pot.

Kombu

Ganmo – this is fried tofu dumpling that included vegetables, egg white, and sesame.

Satsuma age – This is fried fish cake. Used the fish meats and then fried with fish starch.

Oden in Japanese convenience stores — Oden is really popular in Japanese convenience stores too. But the choices of foods are not as many as restaurants and vendors.

CM of Oden in Japanese convenience store:

Oden can – This is a popular can product in Akihabara which sell in vending machine.

 Oden sauce – The sauce is made by kombu and dried fish. With this oden sauce, people are able to cook oden at home.

My Rating:

Recommend restaurant:

Kuroyuri Oden restaurant – 1/F Ajiwai-kan, Kanazawa-byakubon Street, 1-1 Ki-no-shinbauchou, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture. TEL: 076-260-3722; Business Hour: AM 10:00 – PM 10:00

 

2) Oden Museum

Oden street @ Aoba (in Aomori City)

Published in: on March 27, 2008 at 12:14 pm  Comments (1)  
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