Friday, July 09, 2004

The hidden secret of Japan is its food

For some reason, Japanese food is not popular in the US except for sushi, and once you get away from the large cities on the coasts, even that may not be all that popular.

I had always liked most Japanese food, but since coming back to live this time, I wonder how I could ever do without it again. The variety of fresh seafood is something that I have never seen matched elsewhere. It seems like nearly every kind of fish is available in local supermarkets. Fruits are quite expensive and often the quality is not especially high (unless you pay even more for it) but at least I can buy an apple that tastes like an apple instead of the taste-free things we get in American supermarkets.

I have started a new "hobby" over the last few years. My wife and I go to at least a couple of ryokans every year, and I love to test the food they serve. Often it is something I have never eaten before and which isn't easily found in Tokyo restaurants.

In May we went to a ryokan in the Nikko mountains. Dinner was served in our room as is traditional and consisted of about every type of yuba known to man. Yuba is a food derived from tofu, if my understanding is correct. Now it wasn't all delicious, but I found one yuba dish which was outstanding. Unfortunately, neither I nor my wife can remember the name. Not a big deal, because I doubt if one can buy it in Tokyo anyway. Naturally, the fish at that inn was delicious, but I am biased---I love fish anyway.

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