Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A smorgasbord of Japanese dishes

I've said before that I could write a blog just about food. It's true.

Since living in Kuji, I've tried lots of different Japanese cuisine. Besides making takoyaki--which I wrote about last time--I also recently made okonomiyaki for the first time.

I consider takoyaki and okonomiyaki to be siblings. Besides both having "yaki" (which means "grilled") in the name, they have similar ingredients and tastes. The biggest difference is that takoyaki is in ball form, and okonomiyaki is basically a pancake--a seafood and cabbage pancake.

My friend Megumi getting ready to flip the okonomiyaki.

Here is the finished product...

While I've shown you several pictures of food in the past, there are a few dishes I've tried within the last couple of months that I want to explain:

  • Shabu shabu is kind of like a Japanese fondue. There's a big pot of boiling liquid that you hold thin strips of meat and veggies in to cook them almost instantly. Yum. We also had noodles in the pot, and it was kind of like fishing to get them out with the chopsticks.

  • Nabe dishes are prepared in a hot pot, usually at the table. In that way, it's similar to shabu shabu. (I'd say they're cousins.) Nabe is different because the vegetables and meat boil in the pot for a long time, like soup. Typical ingredients for nabe are vegetables such as leeks, onions, cabbage, and mushrooms, as well as tofu and meat. It's very popular to eat in the winter.

In this nabe that I tried, there was some kind of fish guts! (That's what is being held up by the chopsticks.) It was actually pretty tasty. :)

  • Jajamen is a specialty of Morioka, which is the capital of Iwate prefecture, the prefecture that Kuji is in. Jajamen consists of hot udon noodles with cucumber, leek and miso. It's served with vinegar, chili oil and garlic that you can add. The taste is unique. Not bad, just unique. :)

I really like the thick udon noodles that are in jajamen.

This is just a little sample of the things I've tried lately; I don't eat any of these on a regular basis. It's definitely fun to try new foods!


Lauren said...

I agree trying new foods is fun! Looks like you had fun eating and trying all of the different foods!!!
Love you!

Dawn said...

The Nabe looked interesting - well besides the fish guts. Luckily you have a much stronger stomach than me - LOL.

Jennifer said...

Were they chewy?

I love you, my love!