Friday, 25 May 2012

Japanese Food

No, this does not mean sushi and sashimi (raw fish). If you want to be a guest in Japan I very strongly recommend you learn to eat anything before you come. Some of the horror stories I hear about fussy people coming here make me exclaim, maybe you should stay home! Japanese people eat almost anything and everything. Tourism in Japan (television, magazines and tourism brochures support this) is composed of two facets sight seeing and food.
Restaurants in Japan usually have excellent food, too, often better than home cooked food. Chefs can take anything and make it taste delicious. We have learned that the best way to eat here is to never suggest what type of food to eat or emphasize liking a certain food. It is much better if the hosts recommend the type of food. That way you have the opportunity to eat new foods and appreciate the specialties each area of Japan prides itself on. One current fad in Japan is hormone meats, which means eating those parts of animal we might otherwise throw away. In Fukuoka we went to a chicken restaurant where we ate 'all parts of the chicken except the feathers'. Gristle is not my favourite, but when in Rome... In a grocery store, chicken breast meat is the cheapest.
Another class of food which has surprised me, is the Japanese interpretation of Italian food. I have had delicious pizza and pasta. The last pasta I ordered was spaghetti with "natto" or fermented beans and pickled plum or "umeboshi". The menu called it 'fermentatta'. Only an expert chef could make this combination taste so good. Apparently even half of the Japanese people will not eat "natto".
In the ryokan or Japanese style inn we stayed in near Fukui on the Japan sea, crab was the specialty so we ate crab, but also had a crispy baked fish which could be eaten, bones and all. Another dish contained a shell fish that was still alive before being cooked at the table.

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