Believe it or not, I didn’t cook for most of October. For good reason – my creative husband had a few days off last week and cooked up a storm. He roasted chicken, whipped up hand made pasta, and barbecued beef and vegetables on the Weber BBQ.
Before that, we were very thankful to be able to visit Japan again. All three of our Cherry Blossoms were on a high school trip while we spent some time in Tokyo. As a family we stayed on for another week to visit people and places we love.
The end result is that this post is about the food I’ve been eating rather than the food I’ve been cooking. I could eat Japanese food all the time and am inspired by many things about Japan. I hope you feel inspired too.
First, my new favourite food, green tea custard filled choux puffs from Custard Lab in Tokyo:
Izakaya style restaurant food, with a casual atmosphere and many plates of small things to share such as chicken skewers:
Fresh fish in the supermarket – all these photos were from the fish section in one supermarket in Kagoshima:
Shabu shabu, which is onomatopoeia for the sound of thinly sliced meat as it is swished back and forth to cook in hot broth. Vegetables and tofu are also cooked in the broth, and finally noodles.
These are also favourites – cold soba noodles with dipping sauce, tempura seafood and vegetables, and edamame (soy beans)
Japanese do small, beautiful things very well, and seasonal variations on everything. This is a chestnut puree cake (popular in autumn) and a breakfast spread of many small plates of food:
We even tried natto, fermented soy beans with a distinctive flavour. I don’t think we’ll be trying that again!
We discovered a growing craft beer scene. Micro-breweries are popping up all over Japan, making interesting beer. Not sure the green tea beer will take off – it had that curiosity factor but didn’t quite hit the mark for flavour.
There were a few things we didn’t try:
Supermarket iced coffee Pumpkin latte for Halloween
Expensive rockmelons (about AUD$16 each)
Something I wish we could do here is to walk into a convenience store and buy a healthy and tasty rice ball for a reasonable price, to take on the bus or train (with some melon sweets and a cold green tea drink). Most of the time we were guessing what was inside our onigiri, but it usually worked out OK. Mine had a salmon filling:
Thank you, Japan. We hope to be back again one day to eat more food.
Main image: the Silver Pavilion, Kyoto.