Kobeya Kitchen in a bakery chain store. They have shops around Tokyo and Osaka. When I lived in Tokyo, there was one near my house and half on hour before they closed everything was half off, but as soon as the sale starts, everything disappears within 5 minutes. We used to try to time it so we could arrive 5 minutes before the sale, scope out the best pastries and quickly grab them once the sale started.
April 12, 2012
January 10, 2012
Seen in Kameido in Tokyo. This is what happens when you can’t decide what country’s cuisine you’d like your restaurant to serve and rather than making a decision, you just toss everything in at once. This place seems quite a bit confused.
November 13, 2011
Around late October/early November, I started to notice that price of butter in my rural Japanese mountain town was rising. Before I knew it, the Hokkaido butter, generally the cheapest, had nearly doubled in price from about 230 yen per 200 g pack ($3USD for 7 oz) to 419 yen per pack ($5.40USD). In addition, the shelves were generally on the bare side.
But as I was about to buy expensive butter, I spotted some whipping cream that was half-off and decided that I might as well make my own butter.
See the results after the jump.
August 24, 2011
I didn’t need to got o Thailand to find out that I like Thai food. And the food in Thailand did not disappoint. Here are some examples of food that I saw and food that I ate.
Foi Thong was what I brought back as a souvenir for my co-workers. Foi Thong means “Golden Threads.” Foi Thong is based off of a Portuguese dessert and there are several similar dishes to Foi Thong found in places like Japan and Brazil. A woman of mixed Portuguese and Japanese ancestry who lived in Thailand in the 17th century is credited with introducing the dessert in Thailand.
July 20, 2011
June 2, 2011
Anyone who knows me knows that I love tea. It is far and away my favorite thing to drink. Whenever I’m in the office, I always have my over sized Chicago Botanic Garden mug (a gift from some friends. Thanks friends!) filled with some kind of tea next to me. Usually I drink bancha (a type of green tea) or assam tea (a type of black tea) because those are the teas I can plunder from the snack corner of the office.
So when my friend in Hong Kong suggested going to the Peninsula hotel for their Afternoon Tea Service, I ignored her follow-up of “but it’s a bit pricey” and insisted that we go. We showed up on Sunday afternoon around 4 and got in the back of a long line. It was a holiday weekend and I guess we weren’t the only people with the idea that it might be nice to have some tea.
May 31, 2011
Yesterday I wrote a post about taking a day trip to Cheung Chau Island while I was in Hong Kong. But I didn’t show you everything, so today, I bring you more Cheung Chau fun!
First, I have some pictures of the dim sum I ate for brunch on Cheung Chau.
In the full post: chicken feet, shrimp dumplings and gaiwan cups. (more…)
April 3, 2011
Basashi (馬刺し) is a horse sashimi dish (sashimi of course referring to raw meat). Basashi was fairly high up on a list of things I thought I’d never eat. But after watching my friend try some and getting his feedback (“hey, not bad”), I figured that it would be worthwhile to try it once. Plus, they were having a basashi sale at my local conveyor belt sushi joint (210 yen for two pieces). How can you go wrong with cheap raw horse for dinner? I’ve already had various types of fish sashimi and when I was in South Korea, I tried raw beef (delicious!). But horse was a first for me. They definitely aren’t kosher because horse don’t chew their cud or have split feet. That’s like double not kosher.
Horse sashimi is a delicacy in parts of Japan. In my region, it is not particularly common and usually is not served at my local sushi shop. (Another reason I jumped on the chance to eat it. Limited time only!) Due to the pink color, it is often referred to as cherry blossom meat (桜肉). I assume that the local sushi place decided that it was fitting to serve cherry blossom meat during cherry blossom season. Horse meat to said to be low in calories, low in fat, low in cholesterol, and high in protein compare to beef, pork, and poultry. So, if nothing else, horse meat is probably a healthy choice, it seems.
My thoughts: Some parts were soft and some were too chewy. The flavor was ok though. I think I would have liked it more if I didn’t know it was horse. I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that I was eating horse.
What my friend said: it was interesting, but I was disappointed. Maybe it would be better at a shop that specializes in horse meat and serves good quality stuff. But it wasn’t the kind of delicious food that I would go out of my way to seek out.
March 31, 2011
It is hard to imagine Japan without Ｍｏｃｈｉ, Japanese rice cakes. Anytime time of the year, but especially around new years, it is popular in many communities and families around Japan to pound rice and make mochi, a kind of rice cake. (I don’t particularly like defining mochi as rice cakes because rice cake can refer to many, many things, but I don’t know of a better definition.) Around new years, I was visiting an elementary school and explaining what new years in like in the states to them. While in Japan, there are particular children’s and games and food associated with New Years, a lot of the new years fun in the states is much more fun for adults, so I had difficulty conveying new years to them in an interesting way. When asked if there was special food for new years, I drew a blank. One kid asked me if we have mochi in the states and when I said no, he said, “good thing I was born in Japan.”
In the states, most people who know mochi probably know it in the form of mochi ice cream. Mochi ice cream was the first kind of mochi that I ever ate. In recent years, I’ve also seen small bite-sized pieces of mochi offered as toppings at some frozen yogurt chains.
To make mochi, glutinous rice is pounded down using a wooden pestle called a kine (pronounced key-neigh) and a mortar called an usu. As the rice is pounded, the individual grains cease to exist and it all becomes one sticky mass of rice. It is then shaped and eaten as is or put into a kind of soup. It can also be filled with red bean paste or sometimes with strawberries. For the lazy ones among us, there are now machines that pound the mochi for you, including ones small enough to have at home.
March 10, 2011
A couple weeks ago, I got to make my own wagashi, Japanese sweets. Wagashi are traditionally made with ingredients such as pounded rice (mochi) and red bean paste (anko).