Tuesday, November 22, 2016

That delicate, luscious, ambrosial smell!

Let's talk food in Japan, shall we?

So far, we have liked everything we have tried. Not everyone we know here has been so lucky, but we certainly are.

Now, I'm not going to go into all the different kinds of Japanese food out there - there are far more resources in the world out there for that. Instead, I will talk about what we have eaten so far and how our eating habits have changed.

Blake and I are both fortunate to have no medical dietary restrictions and we are not terribly picky eaters. We are also pretty adept at chopsticks, and getting better all the time. All this serves us well as try all the new foods Japan has to offer! It also helps since we don't usually have a place or cuisine in mind when we go on adventures and figure we'll stumble upon food sooner or later. We also can't read most of the signs, so if they're telling us what kind of restaurant we're about to try, we don't know. What we do have is window menus - plastic food in the shape of whatever dishes the restaurant in question offers. The longer we are here, the more likely we can tell what different things are.
This restaurant is on Blue Street and close to main base, which explains all the English. Even more helpful!

The first restaurant we tried, as previously mentioned, was a yakiniku restaurant, where we grilled our meat right at our table. So. Good.

Here are some other foods we've tried:
Left - Witch's fries with chocolate and purple sweet potato swirl, Right - Halloween fries with chocolate and pumpkin swirl and the better of the two. Thanks, McDonald's!

We miss Sugar Shack, but I'll eat a cream-filled Snoopy Head any day.

Traditional Japanese plating

The skillet comes out hot and you cook the meat to your liking.
This ramen shop is 14 minutes from our door. Blake says there's a better one near main base, but this one was pretty tasty too.

Of course we've had sushi - This is at a sushi go round or conveyor belt sushi. You pick what you like as it comes by or order something specific that is sent to your table and then pay by the plate! 

Tonight, we went to Mongolian BBQ night at the restaurant we have in Ikego. Not bad for 85 cents per ounce! And now we have a better idea of how much the amount of food we picked costs, because it's free if you guess within 5 cents. Blake was within 12 cents tonight! We've also been to Chinese, Indian, and even Hawaiian restaurants. We also pass a lot of really good places on our way to church from the train station, some we've tried and some we haven't, and it's tempting every week because we're walking by right around lunch time or after as we head home for dinner.  However, we've long decided to not really spend money on the Sabbath unless necessary. It's even worse on Fast Sunday, when we haven't eaten all day.

We're trying to pick up ordering and other restaurant etiquette - like at a noodle shop this weekend (where we ordered via vending machine and presented the ticket to the kitchen), we were finished and not sure what to do with our tray, until we saw a Japanese person take theirs back to the kitchen. So, we followed suit! I've also been to a restaurant (without Blake, since he was at work), where I put my shoes in a locker at the front door. When I had to use the restroom, I used the slippers provided there.

Not the vending machine we used, but you get the idea.

We're also starting to do bento boxes for lunch. I haven't gotten too fancy it with yet, but it's fun. We got some tools at Daiso, a 100 yen store, to make some of the food extra cute!
Top - cherry blossom, bottom - lotus flower

The egg is a bunny!

My bento box

I've dedicated a (currently poorly organized) drawer in the kitchen to the bento tools, and yes, that is a panda onigiri (rice ball) shaper. It even comes with a punch for the nori (seaweed) to make the face and ears! I haven't tried it yet - I'm working on my onigiri skills with a boring triangle shaper first. Even with taking the time to make it all kawaii (cute), they don't take that long to put together and they are pretty filling!

For groceries, we go to both the commissary (American grocery store on base) and Japanese markets or grocery stores. We even had a farmers market in Ikego last weekend. I'm taking a class soon on enjoying Japanese food, and they'll take us to a Japanese grocery as part of it, which should boost my confidence in shopping off base!

And once we learn all of this, we'll be able to show our visitors! 


Myrna said...

Fascinating! And you have a new look to your blog, which is also lovely. Am I slow to notice? Maybe!

AmandaStretch said...

You are not slow to notice! I only changed it a couple of days ago because I wanted it to be wider. You are actually the first person to say anything, so thank you!

Giggles said...

You can tell a lot about a people by their food. And we're loving our bear rice shaper. It's the perfect serving size for the kids.