Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Nagoya: May the Sashi Odds Be Ever In Your Favor

When you go to Japanese restaurants and avail sashimi, you're probably thinking of raw fish only. Here's the catch: The word sashimi consists of two words: SASHI and MI. The definition of the former is 'Pierce, ' and the latter is simply 'meat.' Therefore, sashimi is quite defined by the practice of preparing and eating it raw than the ingredient itself.

Here are seven types of meat that can be eaten raw – but only if prepared correctly and safely.

1.  PORK

In 2012, some restaurants in Japan took off  Beef Sashimi from the menu, then added a new dish: pork liver sashimi. But in 2014, Japan’s Ministry of Health decided to go further and ban the consumption of raw pork liver and raw pork meat.

While raw pork got outlawed in Japan, it’s still available in Australia — though not in a traditional style. It is made from "Kurobuta." It is a black pork meat and sliced into thin pieces and comes with dashi jelly, m√Ęche, and a salty caramel sauce.


Marbled Wagyu beef is such a heavenly treat for steak lovers; the same goes for sashimi cravers. The red meat, interspersed with white, thin ribbons of fat, is just simply irresistible when consumed raw. Instead of shoyu and wasabi for dippings, chefs usually serve gyusashi with ponzu — seasoned soy sauce with vinegar — with shiso leaves as a topping for the beef.

Meanwhile, another cow-made sashimi, Rebasashi, used to be available in Japan. Rebasashi is raw beef liver. The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare banned the selling in mid-2012 to prevent food poisoning. But when it was still available, the red organ was served with chopped green onions and a sauce seasoned with grated garlic. 


Eating horsemeat is a practice that has long lived in Japan ever since. In the late 1500s, when Japan was facing food shortages horsemeat was often used as an ingredient. But the boom in modern-day consumption began in the 1960s, at the same time that the transportation scene vastly changed. Horse-farm owners in Kumamoto prefecture were trying to find ways to deal with animal overpopulation. That was how basashi, or raw horse meat, hit the market.

Basashi earned its nickname SAKURA NIKU (pink meat) from its delicate pink color. For best taste, the meat is eaten with grated ginger and sweet shoyu. Shredded daikon and shiso give the mellow meat a clean mouthfeel. 


Shika means ‘deer,’ so SHIKASASHI means raw deer meat. The color of venison sashimi is so red making it easy to assume that the sashimi is tuna sashimi. It’s not thought of like a weird dish in Japan, but it’s only offered in some parts of the country such as Wakayama.

According to some raw food enthusiasts, SHIKASASHI is perfect with grated garlic, chopped leeks, ground ginger, and soy sauce. 


The Bonin Islands is probably the only place you could go if you are craving sea turtle sashimi or KAMESASHI. Also known as the Ogasawara Islands, they’re about 600 miles south from Tokyo.

The preparation of KAMESASHI begins by cutting the turtle’s carotid artery, then pumps out the blood by pushing its heart. While the fins, plastron, and intestines are used for stew — another sea turtle specialty — the breast muscle is reserved for sashi.

Meanwhile, Kamesashi isn’t available all year round. The season starts in early April, when annual licenses are issued, and only lasts for a few months. Local restaurants usually serve the red flesh until they run out.

Now, are you brave enough to eat these odd delicacies? 


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Monday, May 8, 2017

Nagoya: No Oyster Sauce? No Problem!

Oyster sauce has been and will always be a key ingredient in many Asian dishes. Authentic Asian meals are just simply not the same without it. Oyster sauce is a pungent and soft fermented mixture that adds lasting and distinct flavor to numerous Asian dishes.


Traditionally, oyster sauce was made by simmering oysters slowly in water until it caramelizes, creating a brown, thick, and highly flavorful sauce. On the other hand, while you may find sauces made traditionally, most will be made with shortcuts to save money and time. In today's oyster sauces, the majority of it have a base of sugar and salt and cornstarch to act as the thickener. Other ingredients include: oyster essence, MSG, and soy sauce. In addition, some vegans use oyster mushrooms to achieve an umami flavor similar to oysters.

The sauce perfectly holds a sweet and salty taste, providing an earthy, rich undertone courtesy of the oyster extracts. Since this sauce might not always be available or affordable, there are several substitutes you may want to consider at some point.


As an oyster sauce substitute, soy sauce will give you the salty taste and dark brown color. This is a good alternative for vegans and vegetarians for it provides similarity when it comes to taste. However, that oyster sauce is slightly sweet so you will want to add a half teaspoon of sugar for every tablespoon of soy sauce to achieve the flavors of oyster sauce.


Hoisin sauce is a reddish-brown, dark, and thick sauce just like oyster sauce. Typically, it was used for dipping, glazing, and marinating, which has led to its title as the “Chinese barbecue sauce” because of its uses. You may also hear hoisin sauce called Peking sauce since this sauce creates the thick glaze found on Peking duck. The word hoisin comes from the Cantonese word meaning seafood.


Fish sauce works well as a substitute because it has the same texture as to the original sauce. The source of the fish sauce varies from dried or raw fish. Depending on the area, there may be a mixture of fish used in the preparation or only a specific variety. Fish sauce is popular around the world and found in many dishes and sauces.


Mushroom soy sauce is a combination of soy sauce and mushroom sauce; that results to an oyster sauce vibe. The mixture is soft and has a slightly sweet taste and deep mushroom flavor. It is made from fermented soybeans and mushrooms that produce the rich flavor of mushroom sauce as well as the viscosity of thinner soy sauce.


Mushroom sauce, commonly known as a vegetarian oyster sauce is probably the substitute in terms of color and flavor for oyster sauce. This vegan alternative can be a direct substitute for oyster sauce in any recipe and is made using vegetable proteins as well as multiple types of mushrooms. This is the ideal substitute sauce because it has the similar consistency to oyster sauce.


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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Nagoya: 7 Wonder Fruits From Japan

Nearly all Japanese fruits are cultivated as affordable types alongside their expensive counterparts. A few of these fruits are native to Japan, and some were imported, but it’s safe to say that all of them have been cultivated in some way to be purely Japanese.


Nashi is the larger and rounder Asian cousin of the typical Pear. They are too good for jams or desserts because they contain too much water that's why they are usually enjoyed as gifts or eaten with guests for special occasions. These pears have been grown by the Japanese since the late Edo Period, and are an import from China.


This citrus fruit is often called "Satsuma" in many western countries. Meanwhile in Japan, they are known as "Mikan." These easy-to-peel oranges are originally from China, but re-introduced Japanese varieties are now the dominant type in orchards around the world. They are extremely popular, particularly during winter when they are in season.


This is the newest of Japan’s strawberry fruit varieties and is  is arguably the most expensive strawberry in the world. The name means ‘scent of first love’, and it It looks and tastes like an ordinary strawberry, except the flesh is pure white.


Akebia fruit are native to four different countries; China, Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. Also, they are considered as an invasive specie in New Zealand, where they were introduced by accident. This fruit is quite versatile: the edible fruits can be eaten like a vegetable, while the plants can be used to brew tea or for weaving baskets.


The picture above is called "Umeboshi" or a Japanese pickled plum. A common ingredient in bento.

This small fruit plays a vital role in the Japanese culture. While its flowering trees may play second fiddle to the sakura (cherry blossom), its fruits are enjoyed much more. In fact, many cherry trees are cultivated solely for their blossoms and do not bear fruit at all.


This Japanese peach are meticulously cultivated to be much larger than the ordinary. Its flesh is extremely juicy and pale in color. There are supermarket quality peaches for everyone to enjoy, but this fruit can also be cultivated to luxury quality. Early peaches were imported to Japan in ancient times.


One of the more popular fruits in Japan (if not the most popular), enjoyed not only as a dessert after meals but as a flavor in almost everything from coffee and bread to candy and ice cream. The prized melons known as Yubari are grown in Hokkaido, and can fetch as much as 1000 USD per melon. These fruits were introduced to Japan from the Middle East and India.


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Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Sushi and Sashimi has always been a staple on the menu of every Japanese restaurants anywhere. They are often served as an appetizer but since Sushi has rice, some restaurants have also considered serving it as main course. These Japanese treats are just simply irresistible, easy to eat, and affordable. Sushi and Sashimi for lunch? YES PLS!!

Now, let's make today a SUSHIMI day! It's time to know some fun facts about these tiny piece of heaven!

1. Sashimi does not only come in the form of fish all the time; it can also be raw beef, chicken or slightly cooked octopus.


2. Sushi masters have a belief that it is only the mouth that feasts, but also the eyes as well! This is the main reason behind the mouth-watering Sushi displays you see in restaurants!

3. To avoid indigestion occurrences, always have miso soup at the beginning of a meal.

4. The knives of Sushi chefs must be good as new every day especially before making Sashimi. Especially, when making thin slices of fish.

5. SUSHI CHEFS (ITAMAE) trains for 10 years before they can serve authentic Japanese food. 

6. June 18, 2009 was the first International Sushi Day celebration!

7.  80% of all the bluefin tuna caught in the world is used for Sushi and Sashimi.



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Monday, April 24, 2017

Nagoya: Good morning, Japan!

A traditional Japanese breakfast is completely different from the other kinds of breakfast you'll ever experience. It is a complete meal that one could enjoy at lunch or dinner. Although a Japanese breakfast comprises what Western people might view as a heavy meal that could pass for lunch or dinner, it is not intended to be too filling. Portion sizes for breakfast are well-adjusted to meet one's appetite, and dishes tend to lighter, for example, they tend not to be greasy, deep fried, or rich.

Well, the traditional Japanese breakfast has 7 variations of food and here it is:

1. Steamed Rice  (Gohan)

- Plain steamed rice, either white rice (hakumai) or for a healthier option brown rice (genmai), is an essential dish to pair the proteins and side dishes of breakfast and should be included.

2. Fermented Soy Beans (Natto)

- Natto is usually served as a topping for steamed rice, and this dish of natto rice is a high protein Japanese breakfast staple. It is a simple dish of fermented soybeans with a strong aroma and greasy texture. It is seasoned with soy sauce, with optional ingredients such as chopped green onions, dried bonito shavings (katsuobushi), spicy mustard (​karashi), sliced dried and seasoned seaweed (kizaminori), or other flavor add-ins. Packed natto is available in the refrigerated section of Japanese and Asian grocery stores.

3. Grilled Fish (Yakizakana)

- Fish is a favorite breakfast protein staple and is either broiled in the oven or pan-fried. It is seasoned simply with salt, and salmon is a favorite for Japanese breakfasts. Another popular fish is dried horse mackerel (aji), but any favorite type of fish may be enjoyed for breakfast.

4. Pickled Vegetables (Tsukemono)

- Tsukemono is a staple side dish in Japanese cuisine as it is meant to accompany any type of rice dish. One well-known type of tsukemono is pickled plum, known as umeboshi. It goes well with both plain steamed rice and rice porridge. A wide assortment of pickles is available in the refrigerated section of Japanese and Asian grocery stores.

5. Seasoned Dried Seaweed (Nori)

- Dried and seasoned seaweed (ajitsuke nori) is meant to be eaten with steamed rice. Since it is seasoned, it can be enjoyed as is, with rice, but can also be dipped in soy sauce and then wrapped with rice. Seaweed with rice is commonly enjoyed for breakfast.

6. Vegetable Side Dishes (Kobachi)

- Vegetables are very common in Japanese breakfasts. These are small portions, and these types of small dishes are known as kobachi. Aside from pickles and seaweed, both cooked vegetables, as well as fresh salads may be included in a traditional Japanese breakfast.

7. Miso Soup (Miso Shiru)

- Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup from fermented soybean paste (miso), and a dashi broth. It usually has tofu, wakame seaweed, chopped green onion, Japanese mushrooms, aburaage (deep-fried tofu), clams, or other seasonal ingredients. Miso soup made from scratch is common in Japanese households, but pre-seasoned dashi infused miso paste, as well as instant miso soup packets (available in both dried and wet packs) for individual use, are also readily available for sale.


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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Nagoya: Melt in your Mouth Goodness

Kobe beef is a variety of Wagyu. Wagyu means “Japanese cattle” (“Wa-” meaning Japanese or Japanese-style, and “-gyu” meaning cow or cattle). “Wagyu” refers to any cattle that is bred in Japan or the Japanese-style. Kobe beef is, made of a very particular strain of Wagyu called Tajima-Gyu that is raised to stringent standards in the prefecture of Hyogo. (Hyogo’s capital city is Kobe, thus the name).

In the development of Wagyu cattle, breeders take extraordinary care. Special feeds are created out of grasses, forage, and rice straw then supplemented with corn, barley, wheat bran, soybean, and in some cases, even sake or beer. And, there are only four varieties of a legitimate strains Wagyu cattle: Japanese Black, Japanese Brown, Japanese Shorthorn, and Japanese Polled. Though 90% of all Wagyu used are Japanese Black strains.

Every Kobe steak is Wagyu, but not all Wagyu beef is Kobe

Well, Wagyu is a brand under which many different regional types fall, including Kobe.But the main difference between Kobe and Wagyu comes down to selection, care, feeding, and the obsessive, extraordinary efforts of Wagyu breeders.

Wagyu beef cows receive tender and gentle care.To some, it is seemingly a myth, but it is said that herders massage their cattle to alleviate muscle tension caused by cramped spaces. That's how much they care for their cattle. Also, feeding management is key to the final meat quality. Until the cattle are seven to ten months old, they are raised outdoors, feeding mainly on meadow grass.


Wagyu beef is known for its smooth marbling and rich taste that gives the meat a soft texture. Not to mention, its unique sweet aroma reminiscent of peaches and coconuts. Wagyu marbling is better tasting than the others because its fat melts at a lower temperature than any other cattle’s, resulting in a rich and buttery flavor unseen in other strains of beef. This fat is also unsaturated and high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, so yeah, not only that Wagyu marbling is more delicious, but also nutritious.

Why is Kobe beef pricey? Because Kobe beef is the epitome of everything that makes Wagyu better. Kobe beef has the most abundant marbling in the world, brimming with the creamiest, most decadent, most flavorful streaks of fat a steak can have.

Imagine indulging into a high-grade beef like Wagyu and Kobe while hanging out with your peers and enjoying it with some salad and other Japanese cuisines we offer? Yum!!!! Come visit us and try our Wagyu and Kobe dishes you'll surely never forget!


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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Nagoya: 10 Japanese Dishes You Probably Haven't Heard Of

Little did you know that the Japanese dishes and some of your favorites are just 40% of the overall Japanese dishes that are widely popular outside Japan. Well, if you consider yourself a Japanese food lover, you're wrong! Because there are a lot more of their dishes that you probably haven't tried nor heard yet! Good thing is, in today's blog we will be mentioning some of the most underrated Japanese dishes that you must try!


Oden is a Japanese hotpot that is usually ordered item-by-item in Japan. It's a popular street food, Kon Bini food, winter food and drinking food.  This dish can also be cooked in seasoned broth. If you're up for a soft, savory, and warm treat for the cold weather then this could a new favorite for you!


Dango is a type of Japanese dumpling that is often served on a stick. It has a chewy texture similar to mochi, made from mochiko: a rice flour that's used to make chewy stuff. Commonly served with a sweet topping such as Anko or Kanako. Another variation known as Mitarashi Dango has a thick savory-sweet glaze with a soy sauce base. These are amongst the stickiest of all Japanese snacks and are a little tricky to eat. This Japanese dish will definitely serve "party in your mouth" goodness!


Chankonabe is a hearty stew that has evolved as a staple food for Sumo wrestlers. It has no fixed recipe but always contains large servings of protein sources such as quarter chickens, fish balls, tofu, and beef. Everything is very chunky and sumo-sized. The broth is dashi or chicken broth and starchy vegetables are added for balance. Chankonabe is a novelty food in Japan. It's fun to eat but isn't a regular part of the Japanese diet.


This dish is a mix of vegetables such as Takenoko, shiitake mushrooms, gobo, renkon, and carrots. The Japanese people used to put a small amount of turtle to add to the mix but in modern times chicken is used. Chikuzenni is best when cooked slowly. Ingredients are simmered at a very low temperature in a small amount of dashi and mirin.


Yudofu is basically just cubed tofu and vegetables in hot water.  For a slight umami taste, Kombu is frequently added to the water. It's a vegetarian dish that is also considered a Japanese Buddhist food. As such, it's widely available at Temple restaurants and is a winter favorite amongst monks.


The dish is usually topped with large quantities of cabbage and garlic chives on top. It's served in a soup of soy sauce, garlic, chili pepper and miso with beef and pork guts. This is a constant favorite hotpot dish in Japan on winter. This dish originated from Fukuoka.


Also known as Kushikatsu, Kushiage is skewered deep fried meats, seafood and vegetables in a panko batter served with tonkatsu sauce. It isn't a common food in Japan and Kushiage restaurants tend to be found in just a few bunches. Meanwhile, Yurakucho in Tokyo and Shinsekai in Osaka are known for Kushiage.


Its signature ingredient, Goya, also known as bitter melon, has medicinal properties and is incredibly bitter. Goya Chanpuru is the iconic dish of the Okinawan islands. It is just a stir fry of tofu, goya, egg, vegetables and spam or other meats such as ham. The combination of the bittery and savory taste of this dish is just right for a perfect and healthy lunch!


Consider Champon as the cooler cousin of Ramen! This Chinese-style noodle dish was invented in Nagasaki, a city that has long been influenced by interactions and trade with China. It is designed to be economical and filling with a hearty pork bone or chicken bone soup and ingredients piled high. Ingredients vary by restaurant and season though.


Chawanmushi is not your ordinary egg custard! It's not sweet but instead has an distinct umami taste.  Its ingredients read like a list of Japanese favorites: soy sauce, dashi, mirin and shiitake mushrooms. There's usually a surprise ginkgo seed near the bottom. Weird yet super delicious!

There may be dishes in our list that you might have tried already but probably had no idea what it's called! So there you go! Thanks for reading! <3

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