Site icon I went to Japan in 1976….

Would You?

On one of her visits to Japan, my mother made the following comment: “If I lived here, I’d never cook.” As a New York City dweller who always cooked, this is kind of funny because NYC certainly has its share of take-out available. Or delivery. But it is simply nothing compared to the huge variety that Japanese depachika and shopping streets provide.

Persimmon and turnip salad next to chicken liver.

Yet, I hardly availed myself of this option, either. Because Japanese cooking uses the same seasonings over and over, each household develops their own ofukuro no aji based on the proportions used. I’ve already talked about the difference in flavor between Kansai and Kanto, but it goes further than that. In my own household, I tend to season in a Kansai type way, but perhaps a little sweeter than most. So that’s what my kids are used to as well.

And then there’s the whole discussion about whether takeout food is even healthy. I think Japan fares better in that respect, if only because there are so many options. Take a look at the makaroni sarada pictured below. That’s the label on it, but can you even see the makaroni? Proportion wise, I think it has less macaroni and more healthy ingredients than a macaroni salad in the USA would.

Macaroni salad at Nishiki market

One thing I WOULD buy eagerly in Japan would be deep-fried items. Often I’d see venders right outside a supermarket doing the frying right before my eyes. So, I’d know it was freshly fried and hadn’t been sitting there for a few days. A sure hit with customers. Pictured below is a chocolate korokke. A novelty item, no doubt. Nope… not interested!

Chocolate korokke which I never tried
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