Japanese-European mixed meals
As fast as we changed time zones when coming to Japan, eating habits did not keep up. We are stuck with western gustos and our self made meals look accordingly. Add the overwhelmingly fascinating but different food variety at our local supermarket and we are preparing what Japanese might consider funny looking and weird tasting breakfasts. But it’s only about day three in Japan and we are working on expanding our diets with all the delicacies we sometimes (mostly) find by chance.
I will give you a glimpse of what our Japanese-European gustatory joint-venture actually looks like on our plates.
Above all I hope to satisfy my friend Gosia who asked me to post pictures of Japanese food. The good stuff (that will be easy) and the bad (harder to do but there is one thing or two that did not make my taste-buds party).
This is the good stuff from a regular Japanese Family Mart – which isn’t even a proper supermarket but a simple convenience store (on steroids, so you get the idea) – selling fresh and awesome products. Welcome to Japan.
A big difference to European products is the size. Japanese food portions are tiny in comparison – I consider this to be a tremendous benefit. You carry less, you throw away less, you weigh less. You eat fresh, you eat much more varied, you learn to enjoy food more. At least, this is true for me and why I love it here.
Close up on the very good stuff. Raw tofu cubes. Kimchi (spicy cabbage). Onigiri (rice balls with a filling wrapped in dried seaweed) commonly comes triangle shaped. Fried tofu balls with fish flavour in the lower right corner.
Our breakfast. Spot the European parmesan cheese (for cheese-gaijin-addicts). The taller bottle next to it (also with a yellow lid) is a decent Japanese tuna-mayo spread. The Japanese cream cheese (below the tuna plastic bottle) tastes like butter and is veeeeery creamy.
We like our tofu topped with kimchi.
Onigiri sliced in half with a filling that tastes like fermented plum. By that I mean very good.
Those tofu balls look like brain and posses fish flavour. Not bad at all.
Japanese tomatoes are darker, softer and actually taste like juicy tomatoes, unlike the tasteless European supermarket fare. The cucumbers are small, crunchy and aromatic. We added a bit of fresh bean sprouts.
The canned fish did taste just like our favourite canned sprats from Europe.
This is what we bought yesterday. Sushi, fried tofu, fish. These come in an endless variety of forms.
The magic jelly with lemon peels. Two spoons + water and a splash of honey (optional) = yummy lemon tea.
Breakfast the other day. We added soy sauce (in the thin but tall bottle next to the parmesan cheese), devilish spicy sesame oil (in the tiny bottle) – has a sort of burned-fish flavour (but for someone who likes the smell of burned matches, definitely addictive). The highlight were sweet potatoes – seriously delicious – and the long crab meat sticks with some kind of unidentifiable filling (need to learn Japanese badly). The strange cheese triangles (in the round carton box) are as close to cheese as we could get at the local supermarket. There was no hard cheese on sale at all.
As you can also see, we couldn’t go without toast. I even bought imported French jam today. I have not seen much of a bread variety at the supermarket. It is mostly white toast and a lot of sweet buns. I might just be getting used to tofu with kimchi for breakfast, lunch and why not dinner.
Our neat snack from yesterday. Roasted and shredded seaweed can be applied onto anything and is the Japanese parmesan equivalent. We also add a few drops of that devil’s oil onto almost anything.
Green wasabi (Japanese horseradish) and yellow ginger paste is awesome and does pair well with seafood.
These are super snacks. You can get wasabi covered crunchy peas or ready to eat fresh peas. No one wants crisps.
Frankly, I bought this because I loved the patterns on the boxes. They actually contain popular Japanese sashimi (raw seafood) and potato-vegetable salad. Before Hanami (time of cherry blossom) which is soon, everything will be decorated accordingly. Just like during Easter in Europe.
Japanese shrimp microwave dish. The size of our smartphone. I can have many different little dishes instead of struggling with one huge meal. I love Japan (you will hear me say that a lot).
Overall, the only time something might not be that great (yet eatable) is when we are trying to buy diary stuff (our everyday bread in Europe – that applies to bread, too, actually).
Yoghurt is very watery like a drink and chocolate spread very moussy, more like desert, and cheese is scarce and tastes strangely soft.
Japanese chocolate spread. I was aiming for German type Nutella but got chocolate mousse. That’s as close as you get for Heimweh. For our sweet-tooth, I bought a bag of itsy bitsy chocolate pralines with macadamia, cashew nuts, almonds and hazel nuts.
You can still enjoy your kind of stuff from home if you stick to (very pricey) European and American brands and I have seen that Danone and Kraft have found their niche to supply yoghurt and cheese. But milk here is seriously delicious and does not require imports (in contrast to most of other Asia).
And now the queen of delicious:
Daifuku. This desert is to stab-you-in-the-eye-with-my-chopstick-for. Soft layer of doughy sticky rice cake with a sweet bean paste or cream filling and a strawberry in its centre. Perfect confection.
Another daifuku version.
And this picture… more sushi? No, candy! A sweet present from the lady host of our rented house. One (of many) things to marvel at in Japan are fake food models. Even the candy imitating sushi does an allright job. I can imagine all those kiddos urging granny for healthy sushi bento.
Japanese fake food models are on display at any restaurant and simply stunning. Here is a glimpse. This is plastic – all of it.
Let’s finish with sweet. Snapshot of Gosia and me (suffering from a severe slip of the tongue).
There will be more on food than just mix-ups. Promise.