Udon Japanese noodle soup dish

udon cutting Udon Japanese  noodle soup dish.  You may heard the name Udon, before.  Udon means noodles in Japanese.  I went to Takamatsu this winter.  There are famous for Sanuki udon (讃岐うどん).  It is a noodle soup dish popular in the Kagawa Prefecture,in Japan.  The main ingredients are udon (wheat-flour noodles) served al dente with tuna and kelp. Sanuki udon are named after the previous name of the Kagawa Prefecture, Sanuki Province.  Iwrote how to make dashi before on this page but this Sanuki udon Japanese noodle soup dish soup use different ingredents.  If you want to know more about Udon, see this page. sanjuki This picture is Udon and raw egg. The udon was just cooked from boiled hot water so it cook raw egg in this bowl. I put topping graind ginger and negi (onion) and Agedama. It comes with dashi in the small container. You pour that before you eat it. It was VERY GOOD!  It’s called KAMATAMA.  (kamaage udon and tamago=egg) Around Tokyo, there are Mizusawa udon and this is close to where my mother grow up with so Mizusawa udon is the more familiar to me. By the way, Mizusawa udon is a one of three famous udon in Japan. And this is a very East-side type of taste of Udon.  I wrote this Osaka udon before, see this page. Also, Curry Udon page. See this page for very intereting dashi color change where you go to West to East. East (Tokyo) is darker in color, and West (Kyushu) is lighter color. Osaka is left of the pink arrow on the picture. Tokyo area usualy uses Katsuobushi (bonito flakes) for dashi (broth). Kansai (Osaka) area uses Konbu (sea weed) dashi and Shikoku area uses Iriko (sardine) dashi. Iriko is baby dried sardine and I often use them for my Japanese cooking. Bonito and Konbu are kind of a delicacy in taste for cooking but Iriko is more likely ordinary mother’s taste. However Sanuki udon uses a high gluten noodle needs strong dashi flavors. Also Kagawa in Shikoku is the district the Iriko is the caught so they use strong Iriko dashi for Sanuki udon. I have been in the United State so long, I have never went to a self service Udon restaurant. They started self service udon restaurants in Tokyo area about 15 years ago. I think it is like Japanese fast food like American McDonalds. sanuki self service udon shop Any way, this is my first time going to a Self service Udon restaurant. You can choose the Udon topping. sanuki sanuki sanuki when i asked him to taking a picutre, he smiled at camera, thanks! sanjuki this is like American Cafe (like college cafe self-service) you can pick Tempura, Tonkatsu, Eggs, Korroke and put on your Udon or side. And if you want, you can buy Onigiri (rice ball) or other things. They have Oden, too. sanuki sanuki udon This is the other restaurant Udon.  I choose Tempura, but this tempura is not what you think.  This is not what Amrican know from Japanses restaurant Tempura. There are also free toppings.  there are ground ginger, agedama (same as Tenkasu: crunchy bits of deep fried flour-batter used in Japanese cuisine, for example in takoyaki, okonomiaki, and udon.  Tenkasu is also called agedama), long onion, sudachi. This is an other Udon restaurant, but this is like a Mom and Pop restaurant. Customers keep coming in to eat udon for about 15min and leave. They don’t stay long. Yes just like fast food restaurant. udon shop udon shop udon restaurant inside inside mom pop udon shop udon cooking inside the shop cooking udon self service udon You are pouring Udon dashi soup into your bowl. Self-service. oden This is Oden, you can pick the stick. sanuki udon

Japanese New Years Food Osechi Ryori

2012 new year japan

I wrote Japanese new years food Osechi Ryori before and it is this page.  This is my second time writing about Osechi.  So it:s been 2 years after I startedd this blog.  I just came back from Japan visit my parents this New Year.  I post pictures of my mother’s Osech and my family’s Osechi.

osechi ryori

osechi

The term osechi originally referred to o-sechi, a season or significant period. New Year’s Day was one of the five seasonal festivals (節句 sekku) in the Imperial Court in Kyoto. This custom of celebrating particular days was introduced from China into Japan. If you read more about Osaechi ryori, go this page.

I realized this year that Osechi doesn’t have much meat. Traditionally, Japanese people eat fish. So, there are many cooked fish and vegetable foods. Also those are preserved foods, so they use a lot of sugar. I figure out, that is why I like Osechi Ryori so much!

Some of my friends said they don’t care about Osechi. I love this food very much and I must have them once a year, otherwise, I don’t feel like New Year come.

sushi new year food atsuage tofu nimono kegani crub

Also i write about my family traditions here. We have a New Year’s reunion every year. I missed it these past 2 years, because I didn’t go back home.

My grandmother is very good with Osekihan which is red bean (azuki) bean rice. Azuki bean rice is famous for celebration food. It is very popular that Japanese people eat this rice when they have some celebration. (ex:new year, marriage ceremony, have a baby, etc) If you want to read more about Osekihan, go to this page.

I think still my grandmother’s Osekihan is the best, but her son’s wife (my aunt) is continuing making it every year after my grandmother passed away. Those are mother’s taste which is comfort food for Japanese and rustic food but I love them. She is very good at making it just like my grandma. Some of the other dishes on this page, I made these differently. I truly love my aunt taste of those foods when I go to her house for New Year’s day reunion.

Yamato Japanese Stakehouse Restaurant in Charleston SC

Yamato Stake House in Charleston SC

This is my favorite Japanese restaurant that I go out to if I want to eat Sushi. The sushi Chef is Japanese and he knows about raw fish. Recently he started using real dashi, not artificial powder dashi which has MSG in it, for their miso soup, recently.The soup tastes different if you use real dashi or artificial dashi. He also said he started to prepare fish by himself. For example, mackerel sushi, which mackerel was treated with salt and marinated in vinegar. Many restaurants use frozen ingredients. Restaurant food supply companies sell  already prepared frozen fish in the bag. However, the Yamato Japanese Steakhouse Restaurants in Charleston, Chef Mura, does his own preparation. Those things make a difference than in other restaurants.  That makes me want to go back to eat sushi there. Plus, I can talk to him in Japanese, also. He knows what I want without telling a lot because he knows the real Japanese taste. I trust his cooking and preparing for me, I feel like I am at home in Japan.

This is what he made for me, last night. I had rice and miso soup with it.  Just like Japanese sashimi teishoku. I felt like I was in Japan! If you want to eat real Japanese sushi, go this restaurant and say hi to Chef Mura.

Sashimi

By the way, the right top fish is his own preperation Saba, mackerel, sashimi.

Izakaya (Japanese Tapas Bar) in Osaka

beer

I went to Osaka this summer.  This is the 2nd version of Japanese tapas bar.  Just introduction of Japanese tipical tapas bar food.

kara age

Karaage (唐揚げ or 空揚げ or から揚げ?) is Japanese cooking technique in which various foods — most often meat, and specifically chicken — are deep fried in oil. Small pieces of the food are marinated in a mix of soy sauce, garlic, and/or ginger, then lightly coated with a seasoned wheat flour or potato starch mix, and fried in a light oil — similar to the preparation of tempura.  Read more from thi page.

sashimi

This is yellow tail sashimi.
It is very tipical to find sashimi in Izakaya.
The sliced seafood that composes the main ingredient is typically draped over a garnish. The typical garnish is Asian white radish, daikon, shredded into long thin strands, accompanied by one green perilla leaf per slice. Wasabi paste is sometimes mixed directly into soy sauce as a dipping sauce, which is generally not done when eating sushi, however. Purists denounce the practice of mixing wasabi into soy sauce, saying that this dilutes the sharp hot flavor of wasabi. Another more correct way to flavor soy sauce with wasabi is to place the wasabi mound into the soy sauce dish and then pour it in. This allows the wasabi to infuse the soy sauce more subtly. A reputed motivation for serving wasabi with sashimi (and also gari, pickled ginger), besides its flavor, is killing harmful bacteria and parasites that could be present in raw seafood.[1]
If you want to read more, go to this page.

korokke

Korokke (croquette コロッケ): breaded and deep-fried patties, containing either mashed potato or white sauce mixed with minced meat, vegetables or seafood. Popular everyday food.

sunomono

This one is octopus and onion sunomono.
Sunomono (酢の物): vegetables such as cucumber or wakame, or sometimes crab, marinated in rice vinegar.

This time I order those for this restaurant.
Every restaurant different but those are very tipical popular dishes. Usually 400 yen to 600 yen par plate. And friend share the plates so they can eat many variety.

Japanese Roll Cake, Jelly Roll, Swiss Roll.

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One of very popular cake is Roll Cake, Jelly roll, Swiss roll in Japan. I think recently (about 10 years ago) started getting more popular. We had Jelly roll cake when I was kid more, but now more decoration and better taste roll cakes anywhere in Japanese cake shop. Bûche de Noël is very popular when I was kid for Christmas. Bûche de Noël is very popular when I was kid for Christmas. If you want to read more about Bûche de Noël, go to this page.

A Swiss roll or jelly roll is a type of sponge cake roll. The thin cake is made of eggs, flour and sugar and baked in a very shallow rectangular baking tray, called a sheet pan. The cake is removed from the pan and spread with jam or buttercream, rolled up, and served in circular slices.
The origins of the term “Swiss” roll are unclear and the cake originated in Central Europe and not Switzerland. It is a traditional German, Hungarian and probably Austrian type of cake. The shape of the Swiss roll has inspired usage of the term as a descriptive term in other fields, such as in optics. If you want to know about Roll Cake go to this page.

chestnut cream

chestnuts roll cake

This time, I use chestnuts cream from France. When I went to France I bought them a lot and brought back home. I had never found this in the store near my house. However, I finally found one from Whole Food store, recently. I was very very happy at that day!
Not so many chestnuts cake in United States. I don’t know why people not eat this. They may not discover this taste? They just don’t know the existing? I don’t know! But as a Japanese person, I like chestnuts taste and miss them once and a while.
I can not find it, so I have to make it by myself. And this is the easiest, simple cake you can make it. My Japanese girl friend who lives in Germany thought me this recipe. And she is the one said I should buy these chestnuts cream when I go to France. And in France, it is very easy to find this can chestnuts, I think almost any glossary store carry this product.

I whipped cram, no addition of any sugar but I put this whole can of chestnut cream and mix with it.  It is already sweet chestnuts.  Put on the sponge and roll!  It is so easy.  I serve this to my American friends, they all liked it.  I still don’t know why they don’t have this great sweets in this country…

Children’s Day Festival and anime charactor cake

support japan cake

I was invited every year for Japanese Children’s day Festival, Kodomonohi festa at my friend house in Charleston. This couple of years I hadn’t went but this year, finally, I went. What they do is just meet Japanese people and Children who live in around Charleston area and cerebrate Children’s day together. It is a great day to see your friends.

We do potluck (spell?) so you can see many foods there. However, the main thing is a Anime charactor cake and cup cakes for the kids. Some volunteer mother get together a day before and make a cake and cup cakes. They decorate cakes for Japanese Children’s Day Festival. You may not know but Anpan-man who is a big cartoon, anime charactor for Japanese kids. About this past 15 plus years, every kids (3 to 5 years old) know the hero Anpan-man.
This is the Anpan-man character and his friends. And this is the Cakes! I found Pika-chu, too.
You can not find this in the American cap cake shop!

jam oji san? sponge bob pika pika i don:t know the name i don:t know the name shoku pan man dokin chan anpanman cup cake thomas

Children’s Day (こどもの日 Kodomo no hi?) is a Japanese national holiday which takes place annually on May 5, the fifth day of the fifth month, and is part of the Golden Week. It is a day set aside to respect children’s personalities and to celebrate their happiness. It was designated a national holiday by the Japanese government in 1948.

Although it is not known precisely when this day started to be celebrated, it was probably during the reign of the Empress Suiko (593–628 A.D.). In Japan, Tango no Sekku was assigned to the fifth day of the fifth month after the Nara period.
Until recently, Tango no Sekku was known as Boys’ Day (also known as Feast of Banners) while Girls’ Day (Hinamatsuri) was celebrated on March 3. In 1948, the government decreed this day to be a national holiday to celebrate the happiness of all children and to express gratitude toward mothers. It was renamed Kodomo no Hi. If you want to read more about Kodomo no hi, go this page.

Osaka Kitsune Udon

Osaka udon

I just went to Japan and this time I went to Osaka.  I had Kitsune Udon in Osaka and I wanted to let you know about Japanese Udon.  I had to have this Osaka flavor Kitsune Udon in Osaka.

Tokyo has same Kitsune Udon in the Udon restaurant.  You may think what is the different between Tokyo and Osaka.  Well, flavor is different.  When you take Dashi (read my other page how to make Dashi), Tokyo use Katsuo (fish) and Osaka use Konbu (sea weeds).  Also looks are different.  You will see the above picture soup color.  It is clear.  Tokyo udon soup is darker and you may not see the udon in the soup.  If you go to Kyushu, the soup is clearer and taste sweeter.

You may not be able to find Osaka style udon in Tokyo so I had to have Kitsune udon in this trip to Osaka! – mission accomplished.

One more thing, if you read my other Curry Udon page, you may know this restaurant.  I went to there again.  Yes, it was after had my hair cut, again.  I wanted to try new flavor there.  My beautician said spicy curry is good. 

curry udon

So, I tried this time spicy curry udon!  It was good, but I was bit disappointed.  Because, taste was just like Thai red curry sauce.  Yes, udon in the Thai red curry, that I thought. 

spicy curry udon

You have to really careful when you eat this noodle.  Even I ate very carefully, I splash the sauce on my t-shirts.  Curry is known to be very difficult to take off from clothe once you put it on your clothe.  Yes, I did some..  You must to have bib on you.

Hakone Onsen Trip – what I ate that night

 

Hakone Onsen Trip
A happy new year 2011! (too late to say it!) (^へ^;)
The year of rabbit!!  This rabbit made by potato, and you can eat them all.

I went on a trip to Hakone when I visited Japan this February. Hakone has onsen and I stayed one of the hotels (Ryokan) there. This was my second private trip to Hakone. I had had stayed there a couple of times for my job when I was young.  I chose this hotel because it was reasonable and good advertised food. I felt like this hotel is targeted to women customers and they did a good job.

What is ONSEN?

An onsen (温泉?) is a term for hot springs in the Japanese language, though the term is often used to describe the bathing facilities and inns around the hot springs. As a volcanically active country, Japan has thousands of onsen scattered along its length and breadth. Onsen were traditionally used as public bathing places and today play a central role in directing Japanese domestic tourism.  If you want to read more, read this wiki page.

What is Ryokan and their food?

A ryokan (旅館?) is a type of traditional Japanese inn that originated in the Edo period (1603–1868), when such inns served travelers along Japan’s highways. They typically feature tatami-matted rooms, communal baths, and other public areas where visitors may wear yukata and talk with the owner.

Most ryokan offer dinner and breakfast, which are often included in the price of the room. Most visitors do take their meals at the ryokan, which usually promote themselves on the quality of their food. Meals consist of traditional Japanese cuisine known as kaiseki, which features seasonal and regional specialties. (Kaiseki originally referred to light meals served during a tea ceremony, and today refers to a meal consisting of a number of small, varied dishes.) In order for each dish to be enjoyed at the proper temperature, ryokan stress that guests should be punctual for their meals. For this reason, most ryokan ask guests to confirm the time they want to take their meals.Some ryokan have a communal dining area, but most serve meals in the guests’ rooms. Ryokan which are likely to serve non-Japanese guests may also have a selection of Western food.  If you want to read more, go to this page.

 

 

I will put a bunch of this hotel’s dinners here. This was West meet East kind of dinner. And this was very popular dinner (that is what the hotel said).  I wanted to have a complete Japanese dinner but I didn’t order before I got there, so they decided for me. Well, I am an easy going person, so I said it was OK! (Actually, I am happy if the food is good, kind of person, so I didn’t care. Just feed me!!)

So, those are the dinner pictures! Enjoy!!

hakone trip

 

This is sake and inarizushi. But it is black. Black inarizushi is rare thing; this is this hotel’s signature food. It’s called Chakin inari. If you don’t know Inarizushi, see my Inarizushi page.

hakone trip inarizushi

 

Bad picture, sorry.  It is like a small bag.  There is sushi rice inside.

Hakone Onsen Trip

This is main course. Much small stuff!! THAT IS WHAT I LOVE ABOUT JAPANESE FOOD!!

Hakone Onsen Trip

Hakone Onsen Trip

Hakone Onsen Trip

Hakone Onsen Trip

Hakone Onsen Trip

Hakone Onsen Trip

Hakone Onsen Trip

Hakone Onsen Trip

Hakone Onsen Trip

Hakone Onsen Trip

Hakone Onsen Trip

Hakone Onsen Trip

Hakone Onsen Trip

Hakone Onsen Trip

いただきます!!

Hakone Onsen Trip

Cute bunnies!!  This is definetly targeted to women customers!!

Hakone Onsen Trip

DON”T LOOK AT ME!  I WILL EAT YOU!!

The food is good, I expected better.  Because this hotel advertised that they were an award winning hotel for Rakuten travel, which is one of the biggest website companies.   The last picture on the bunny is a pot beef stew.  This was disappointing, I remember.

Hakone Onsen Trip

The bunny tail, so cute!!

Curry Udon, Trip to Japan 2011

trip japan 2011

I discovered new Curry Udon restaurant in Japan.  I went to Aoyama to have my hair cut during my visit. And this was the first time I went to this beauty salon. It took me about 5 hrs to finish styling my hair. Anyway, I was very hungry because I didn’t eat anything at all that day! Around 8pm, I asked my beautician where I should go to eat quickly. I didn’t want to McDonald or any Western style fast food place. She said I should go to Senkichi Curry Udon Restaurant on the way to go the subway station. I have never heard of this restaurant’s name before. So I was thinking this is a small mom and pop kind of restaurant. I was wrong. It is a chain Udon restaurant. Wow! Since I left Japan, they are always changing. Just like the salon people said, it is a good tasting restaurant and inexpensive. I think it was 680yen. (About $7 U.S. dollar) Usually, curry udon is a darker colored soup, but this is a creamy looking soup. I was happy that I could eat something new, and didn’t go to McDonalds.

What is Udon?

Udon  is a type of thick wheat-flour noodle popular in Japanese cuisine.

Udon is usually served hot as noodle soup in a mildly flavoured broth, in its simplest form as kake udon, served in kakejiru made of dashi, soy sauce (shōyu), and mirin. It is usually topped with thinly chopped scallions. Other common toppings include tempura, often prawn or kakiage (a type of mixed tempura fritter), or abura age, a type of deep-fried tofu pockets seasoned with sugar, mirin, and soy sauce. A thin slice of kamaboko, a halfmoon-shaped fish cake, is often added. Shichimi can be added to taste. If you read more, go to this page.

trip japan 2011

I don’t think I can order only curry udon itself. Their menu is always set which means with rice. I couldn’t finish the rice. It was too much Carbohydrates for me. This picture is the original Senkichi Curry Udon. There are many more different flavors.

カレーうどん千吉オフィシャルサイト:Curry Udon Senkichi Official Site

trip japan 2011

 You can eat at the counter or the table.

CREPE in Harajyuku Takeshita-dori

crepe

This winter I went to Harajyuku Takeshita-dori and this is a Crepe shop. I haven’t been here for about 15 years.    I went to Harajyuku when I was a  junior high school student through high school. Takeshita-dori has many small unexpensive fashon shops (now I think so but back then, it was still expensive to me) compare to Omote sando now a days. Omote sando is getting to be a m9re more adult oriented street compare to dacade ago.  There are known to be Omote sando hills, now. 

Anyway, many shops come and goes, but the street itself is the same. And I found the CREPE shop! When I was junior high school, many CREPE stores were there in Harajyuku. If I am not mistaken, Omote sando has some crepe shops. I was so excited and I can not resist to go there. And I was wondered if I could find what my favorite crepe there. AND!! I found it!

harajyuku

There are many young girls (high school) there and order some crepes. You can smell the very sweet crepe scent around the shops.

The  SEASONAL MENU said caramel cheese cake with whipping cream.  Strawberry cheese cake.  Banana chocolate cheese cake.  The blue ad. behind this red one has a larger menu.  I didn’t remember that they had so many different menu back when I was kid.

harajyuku

This is popular in Japan.  Usually any kind of food was displayed in front of the restaurant like this.  So you can see the menu not read it.  Those are made with wax and looks very real!  If you go to Kappa bashi, you will find some store that carry those wax display.

harajyuku

What I chose to eat this time…  This is my old time favorite.  Cream cheese and chocolate.  They used to have almond slice in it but not this time..  I wonder if it was my imagination or have they changed the menu?  Maybe a different store??  But the taste was still good, I was very happy that I ate this snack.  I was going to eat dinner after that, so I didn’t order a big one.  I think this was 300yen or 350yen.  (about $3 to $4 U.S. dollor)

crape

This is the entrance of Takeshita Dori street.  So many people there! 

trip japan 2011

harajyuku

sign