Tag Archives: tempura

Forking in Japan: Highlights from Days 3 – 10

11 Jul

It’s been 10 full days since I arrived, and so far, it has been a whirlwind of forking delights. Here are just some of the forking highlights from days 3 – 10:

Tororo Soba

Tororo Soba: Cold soba noodles with a soy sauce and fish stock based sauce, topped with grated yamaimo and nameko mushrooms, garnished with shiso leaves and nori. Made by my host, Masayo.

Bukkake SomenBukkake Somen: Cold somen noodles with a stock-based cool soup, topped with tempura. Made by Mayumi, wife of a former co-teacher.

Takana Cha-hanTakana Cha-han: Fried rice with takana pickles and jako (baby sardines). Made by me. And if I do say so myself, sooooo forking yummy.

AwabiAwabi: Like an oyster, but larger, delicious raw with a squeeze of lime juice and accompanied by thinly sliced myouga (fresh ginger shoots)

Yomogi MochiYomogi Mochi: A sweet, pounded sticky rice treat filled with red beans. The mochi in this case is pounded together with yomogi, a medicinal herb, which lends the mochi its green colour and a special flavour.

BeekariiPanya-san: Or, in English, the bakery. Filled with goodies such as mentaiko french bread, chestnut “cherry blossom” shaped buns, custard-filled cornets, and many, many more soft, white, buttery breads. Definitely not a place for the gluten intolerant or anyone with any hope of sticking to the Atkin’s diet.

and only in Japan…

Coffee and CigarettesCoffee and Cigarettes: When was the last time your coffee was presented to you with an ashtray?

Rusk lineHayari-mono: Things in Japan become fads, or hayari-mono, very quickly and with a degree to which wouldn’t be seen in North America. We stood in what would have been an hour and a half (we wouldn’t have made our train) for what appears to be a sweet version of dried out, toasted french bread – “Rusk” (http://www.gateaufesta-harada.com/app/home.html)

Pon de Ring

Maccha Pon de Ring donut: Ah, Mr. Donut, the Tim Horton’s of Japan, where you can get a mochi-textured (chewy) maccha flavoured donut, filled with condensed milk and dipped in maccha chocolate.

mmmmm… Japan is forking delicious.


I forking love Tofu Kaiseki

6 Jul

Tofu Happiness

Tofu Happiness

What can make me so forking happy? Forking tofu, that’s what. Tofu, forking done RIGHT. Those tired old sponges you’re buying at your local Safeway? That ain’t tofu. That “extra firm” crap that you cut up and use in stir-fries? Not tofu. Those little brown shrivelly hard pucks that stuff you fry up and use as a meat substitute? You guessed it – not even close.

Tofu – REAL tofu – is made with the mildest tasting to-nyuu (soy milk) and simply simmered or steamed until it sets into a silky, soft dream. And if you really want to experience tofu, you have to experience tofu kaiseki, a multi-course Japanese forking extravaganza of amazement.

Last night, I was treated to tofu kaiseki by my old friend John, who I met while I was living in Japan. 9 years after we first met, he’s still here and working like a dog and teaching 7 days a week from dawn to well past sun-down. Luckily, I arrived during test season, when he was able to take an evening off and blow my mind with a visit to an unassuming and yet amazing tofu restaurant in the small town of Tawaramoto. What followed was one of the most exciting meals I’ve ever eaten.

Join me on a tornado of tofu temptation.

Courses 1 through 6:

Tofu Kaiseki First Courses

Tofu Kaiseki - step one

  • Course 1: Hiki-age yuba (far right) To-nyu (soy milk) served in an individual burner and lit from below. As it simmers, it forms the first step in the tofu-making process – a thin skin (just like milk) called yuba which you skim off the top and dip into a light soup-based sauce. When the flame goes out, the sauce is poured into the remaining soy milk, mixed, and consumed like a soup.
  • Course 2: To-nyu corn soup (in the black sake cup, centre) A sweet corn potage, mellowed by the soy milk, with a salty finish
  • Course 3: To-morokoshi tofu (left, in black dish) A small block of tofu made with corn meal
  • Course 4: Chawanmushi (top centre) A savoury egg and tofu custard topped with uni (sea urchin)
  • Course 5: Shouga ankake tororo yuba (top right) A very soft yuba which is set somewhere in the state between yuba and tofu, topped with a ginger-infused Chinese soup-based clear sauce
  • Course 6: Otsukuri (bottom) Sashimi. Spot prawn, squid, tuna, yellow-tai

Yamaimo Tofu

Yamaimo Tofu with three salts

  • Course 7: Tororo Yamaimo Tofu. To-nyuu is mixed with grated yamaimo (literal translation = mountain potato) and steamed until set. Served with three types of salt: Indonesian (spicy), Andes (a mellow pink salt), Wakayama (a Japanese salt flavoured with ume, a sour plum)


Ayu: sweetfish

  • Course 8: Ayu is presented as though it’s swimming. Served on a piece of deep-fried tofu and accompanied by a kinome miso sauce (green) and lattice of fried soba noodles

Hamono Shabu Shabu

Hamo (Pike Eel) Shabu Shabu

  • Course 9: Hamono Shabu-Shabu. Intricately cut Pike Eel and a small piece of exquisite tofu is served with a fish soup, heated over your very own flame. The tofu is placed in from the beginning and the soup is brought to a boil, when the vegetables are added. The eel is cooked by passing it through the boiling soup 3 or 4 times and served in a separate bowl accompanied by a spoonful of the soup

Unagino Sunomono

Unagi (Freshwater Eel) Sunomono and Hamo Shabu Shabu

  • Course 10: Unagino Sunomono. Freshwater eel pieces, flavoured by a vinegar dressing and topped with a sweet miso sauce

Tachiuo no Tempura

Tachiuo (Scabbard Fish) Tempura

  • Course 11: Tachiuono Tempura. Rolled with carrots and cucumber, the Scabbard Fish tempura is served with a mattcha salt for seasoning instead of a dipping sauce.

Sansai Gohan

Sansai (Mountain Vegetable) Rice

  • Course 12: Sansai Gohan. No meal is complete without a bowl of rice. This one was served with cucumber and daikon radish pickles, and steamed with sansai, a local blend of tender shoots and vegetables.


Dessert: To-nyu cake and coffee

  • Dessert: To-nyu keeki. Not too sweet, this one inch by one cm square piece of soy milk cake is served with your choice of tea or coffee, and serves as a finale to what can only be described as

Forking Amazing

Thank you, John!! Let’s Forking again!


The Restaurant