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01.18 A New Year Japanese Feast: Kaiseki in Kyoto

One of the great memorable food options in this country of so many irresistible fine dining options is to try a feast of luxury kaiseki Japanese cuisine at a gourmet restaurant on Gantan the first day of the New Year.

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12.17 Tastes from Distant Shores part 1:

One might argue that all Japanese cuisine is pretty much ‘fusion cuisine’. Almost everything was brought to Japan at one time from neighbors China or Korea, or from South-East Asia, India, Europe or the USA. The Middle Kingdom provided rice, soy, wheat, noodles, kelp, carp, sushi (probably), chicken, bamboo shoots and chopsticks, to name but a few. There have been countless foreign influences on J...

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12.17 Soup for All Seasons

Suimono Soup and Birdsong Have you ever given in to the temptation to turn up an unknown road just to see what was there It's a small bit of adventure anyone with a little time can have. Sometimes it leads to nothing interesting except the satisfaction of knowing what was up that particular road. Other times it leads to an experience that makes you glad you did go out of your way. That is what hap...

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09.17 Flavorings: Myoga Japanese Ginger, Shoga And Garlic

What Is Myoga? You ask Myoga: Japanese Ginger Myoga is a ginger relative, but its taste and rather powerful fragrance are wholly different from shoga ginger. Only the buds and stems are eaten, not the root. Myoga is usually thinly sliced and added to miso soup, nimono, sushi, and is particularly suited to pairing with katsuo no tataki seared bonito fish, and pairing with vinagered dishes.

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09.17 Nabe/Nabemono: Japan's Favorite Simple Yet Satisfying Hotp...

Nabe hotpot dining must surely be the most convivial way of eating ever invented. The guests gather around a heavy metal pot suspended over an irori hearth, or just at a tabletop electric or gas stove, the beer and sake flow, the conversation never slows, and as the mixture begins to bubble and simmer, the room heats up, the hosts bring more tasty beverages, and an irresistible smell of slowly coo...

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09.17 Meat Eats: Toriniku Chicken and Jidori Local Varieties

Here in Japan, the chicken itself is called niwatori. Once it has been despatched into the next life, the remaining fowl meat is described as toriniku, or, in common parlance, tori. Tori is also the generic word for bird, any bird. It’s the tori in yakitori, for example.

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09.17 Japanese Spices: Japanese 7 Spice [Shichimi], Yuzu And Yuz...

The Japanese spice shelf is treasure trove for the adventurous foodie. Let's start with shichimi. It is the popular spicy condiment for noodle dishes and nabe hotpot dishes literally means the ‘seven-taste pepper’. Often it is simply abbreviated to shichimi. It is frequently sprinkled onto hot soba and udon noodle dishes and soups, and yakitori grilled chicken and other poultry dishes. As with yuz...

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09.17 The Wages of Peace: Heian-period Japan’s Food Culture Thri...

In 784 the Imperial capital upped sticks once more, and made the move, after a decade’s residency in Nagaoka-kyo, to the city that today we know as Kyoto. Back then it was called Heian-kyo, and the city gave its name to the period in which it served as the nation’s political, administrative, spiritual and cultural center, the Heian Period (794 AD to 1185 AD).

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09.17 Konsai Root Vegetables: Yamaimo Japan's Tasty Energizing Y...

Yamaimo or yamanoimo yam grows wild in the mountains, its roots running very deep, requiring long and patient hours of digging before the vegetable can be prized out of the earth. The most-prized variety, a wild yam called jinenjo is particularly difficult to uproot. You need to dig a human-sized hole to get the entire thing out of the ground. I’ve watched it done.

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09.17 A Brief History of Japanese Cuisine: the Jomon Plat du Jou...

A primitive Jomon hearth from Uenohara Jomon Village. Heated stones were used to ‘cook’ fish and vegetables. 

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09.17 A Brief History of Japanese Cuisine: Enter the Yayoi Rice ...

During the Yayoi period (300 BC to 300 AD) farming villages sprang up, united in the highly organised, closely cooperative work patterns that the new agricultural system demanded. Even the gods got in on the act, as tending the rice fields became regarded as a spiritual act, a worshipful invocation to, Ta no Kami, the God of the rice paddies.

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09.17 A Brief History of Japanese Cuisine: Kofun And Asuka Perio...

During the Kofun period, (250 to 538 AD) contacts with Chinese culture began to increase. Chopsticks arrived in Japan at this time. Initially they were deemed precious, and thus only used in religious ceremonies. Rather than the two cylindrical sticks we know today, they were split down the middle and still attached at the top.

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