Upon our arrival to Tokyo, Japan, one of the things we were looking forward to most was the food. Dana and I both love sushi back home and could only imagine how good it would be from its land of origin. However, we didn’t know about all the other things that we would encounter at the dinner table that we would enjoy as well.
Ramen: Throw all of your previous memories of starving college student ramen out the window, because this is entirely different. Tender sliced pork, egg, and seaweed are added to ramen noodles and broth that is way better than the water/dried powder package offerings that are seen in U.S. groceries. Each island in Japan has their own unique style of making ramen, from the type of noodle to what meats or even seafood are added.
Shabu Shabu: Remember our earlier post in China where we ate the Sichuan hotpot? Shabu Shabu is the Japanese version of hotpot. They are very similar to each other, but Shabu Shabu is not nearly as spicy. When we had it, the main course was thinly sliced pork and lots of different vegetables. If you go to the store and buy a huge package of bacon, then boil a pot of broth on the stove and dip the raw bacon in it for awhile, take it out and eat it right away, you can be the inventor of “American hotpot”.
Okonomiyaki: also known as the “Japanese Pancake”, this dish caught us by surprise but was fantastic and we can’t wait to try and make it when we get back home. Okonomi means “what you like” and yaki means “grilled or cooked”. Dana and I made ours right on a griddle that is integrated into the table. The batter is made of eggs, flour, and finely shredded cabbage and you choose whatever meats, vegetables, or cheese go inside. Tastes incredible and is a lot of fun to make!
Sushi: At last, we reach the pinnacle of Japanese cuisine, SUSHI! The first thing we learned about sushi in Japan is that they do not make sushi rolls. Period. The only way sushi is offered is in nigiri or sashimi form. These two options are common in almost any sushi restaurant back home, but they are usually a bit more expensive than the rolls we are used to. The options for what raw fish/seafood are available are much more varied, and most restaurants even have different grades of fish available. Some of then can cost over $20 for two pieces of nigiri sushi!