Thanks to my parents, I have been sampling ‘Japanese’ food since the age of 14, when it was hard to find here in Australia. I have since become a proficient sake drinker. Over the years we’ve seen an increase of Japanese flavours, now in every major city you can find sushi or ramen without venturing too far. And I knew that there was more to Japanese cuisine before leaving for Kyoto, i just didn’t realise how much more.
So I became one of those people who take photos of their food. YUP! I did. And then I found myself taking photos of the empty dishes. There are often many of them to any one sitting….and how beautiful they are. The oldest bowl I drank miso out of was 350 years old and belonged to a family run Kaiseki restaurant. How exquisite. Eating in Japan was an honour and every flavour, presentation, ceramic bowl, sake cup, and knifing skill appreciated. From the markets to some high end cutting edge restaurants. From beancurd pancakes; homemade udon noodles; saikyo shiro miso; pearl meat; organic vegetables; delicate morsels of tempura; mocha tea; elegant wagashi; fragrant yuzu; goma dofu; kabura mushi……oh the list goes on and on. With a few French meals thrown in, I did not tire of Japanese food.
To honour the Zenbu tour, I won’t share the names of the restaurants we ventured to. But let me just say that her language skills enabled us to go beyond the typical tourist jaunts, even with one organic restaurant opening only upon request. And what an entertaining night that was!!!!
My favourite new flavour: Yuzu. A fragrant citrus fruit…a little mandarin, a little lime, a little orange, a little meyer lemon. As a sweet, in tea, even on beef ribs one night. I’ll miss this here in Australia.
My least favourite flavour: Bancha tea. A strong smokey sencha tea that frankly reminded me of licking a wet ashtray.
My brave moment: Eating Shirako AKA Cod Sperm…tempura style. A little like lamb marrow.I didn’t think about it too much.