Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: 24 Sashimi & 24 Sushi in Wasabi Land!


The Japan Blog List

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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(Vegan Sushi: Soba no Shinme/Buckwheat Sprouts)

Wasabi has arguably become the most famous single Japanese condiment/spice in the World, but how many people that it originated in Shizuoka Prefecture, which incidentally grows 80% of the total production in Japan?
(farmers have started growing it South Korea, Taiwan, Tasmania and elsewhere with various degrees of success)
It is mass-produced in the Izu Peninsula and at the foot of Mount Fuji, but the best wasabi is cultivated in altitude (500~1,000 meters) in Utougi, Shizuoka City, about 33 km up the Abe River.
An organic vegetable by definition, it requires a full two years to mature into constantly flowing pure water in comparatively cold environment.

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(Utougi/Courtesy of Shizuoka Shinbun, Januray 21st, 2009/Start of harvest season!)

Widely known in its wild form all over Japan, a resident in Utougi first successfully grew it in 1604. Tokugawa Ieyasu, the Shogun of Japan who had just retired in Sumpu (present Shizuoka City) after closing the doors of Japan, fell enamored with the condiment and actively promoted it.
The root is grated, preferably on a sharkskin grater, before being used, not only for sushi and sashimi, but also for raw or cooked meat, o-cha zuke (vegans, rejoice!) and almost any seafood.

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(Courtesy of Dominique Corby)

The stems and leaves are edible and a rare treat in their raw form in salads, in tempura, or steamed as demonstrated by Dominique Corby in his Osaka restaurant.
The stems and leaves (and flowers!) are also cut and pickled into sakekasu/sake white lees to become “wasabisuke”, another Shizuoka gastronomic specialty!
Tamaruya, the first shop to sell it at the beginning of the 17th Century, still exists in Shizuoka City, and even has a stand at Haneda Airport in Tokyo!

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(Fresh whole wasabi)

The wasabi served and used in Shizuoka restaurants (and in many homes) is naturally of the best quality. If you happen to stop over in Shizuoka City, make a point to visit Sunpu Raku Ichi shop inside the JR Station where the plant is sold fresh and whole for a ridiculous price!
Shizuoka Prefecture is not only blessed with wasabi (and green tea), but also prides itself in catching some of the best fish in Japan thanks to the rich waters of Suruga Bay and Peninsula Bay. It is an open secret that most of it finds it way onto Tokyo restaurant tables!
As the icing on the cake, know that Shizuoka Prefecture has acquired national fame for providing some of the rarest and best sake thanks to the extravagant abundance of pure water flowing from the Southern Alps and Mount Fuji!

Which naturally leads me to the main them of this posting, namely sashimi and sushi.
There is a widespread misconception that it is all about fish and meat.
Not true at all as vegan and vegetarian friends will read in this account of the mission Foodbuzz had agreed to follow me on.

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(Vegan/Vegetarian Sashimi)

There was no way I could fit everything into one dinner.
The obvious solution was to have two meals, lunch and dinner and a couple of friends to help me out!
Therefore, I booked lunch both at Yasatei and Sushi Ko in Shiszuoka City. Neither place usually open for lunch, buy I had enough reasons to persuade my good friends to indulge the old geezer.
Lunch was all about Sashimi:
I ran first to yasaitei to sample their vegetable sashimi of the day:
(See pic above, left to right, bottom to top)
Celery, tomato (Ameera variety from iwata City, as sweet as a fruit!), organic carrot from Chiba Prefecture, Myoga, Red Radish, Cucumber (su yoo/四葉/four leaves variety) and daikon all grown organically (but for the carrot) in Shizuoka Prefecture. Shiso/perilla leaves and chopped white winter onion from Shizuoka, too.
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As for the dressing, they were served with sesame oil, salt and miso mix.

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Just took the time to call my good friend Mika and off to Sushi Ko, one of the best (and the most reliable) sushi restaurants in town for all the other sushi promised!

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Explaining the taste, texture and what else will make this blog too long (I promise to answer any queries!), so I shall keep to simple names and explanations:
The first sashimi plate was:
(from right column to left column)
Shirauo/Japanese anchovy, Buri/Amberjack, Mebachi Maguro Akami/Big-eye Tuna Lean Part, Torigai/Surf Clam, Akagai/Blood Clam, Ishidai/Snapper variety, Aji/Saurel=Horse Mackerel, Katsuo/Bonito.
Served with shiso/oerilla leaves and flowers, Wakame/Seaweed and edible Chrysanthemum/Kiku.

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As for the second sashimi plate:
(front, then back)
Mooko Ika/Cuttlefish variety, Matako/Octopus, Hotate/Scallops stuffed with nori/dry seaweed, Seguro Iwashi/Black-back Sardine.
Minami Maguro Chutoro/South Pacific Tuna semi-fat part, Kinmeidai/Snapper variety.

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The last sashimi are for the barbarian (I’m one of them) eat-eaters:
Gyusashi/Raw beef (above), Basashi/Raw horsemeat (below)
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Served with a mix of soy sauce, raw quail egg, grated ginger and chopped thin leeks.

Well I basically took care of all the sashimi, while my friend got herself lost in the following sushi:

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Chirashizuhi: Cubes of tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette, salmon, amberjack (do you remember the Japanese word? LOL), Akami, Ikura/salmon roe, and mini tomatoes.

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Millefueille sushi:
Thin slices of cucumber, shari/sushi rice, avocado, shari, maguro akami, shari, tobikko/flying fish roe.

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That is when Mika’s eyes got bigger than her stomach and ask for Sushi Ko’s special “Pirikara hotate maki/spicy scaloops roll” consisting of finely chopped cucumber and a mixture of chpooed scallops, mayonnaise, chili pepper, sesame oil, tobikko, wasabi and “tenkasu/fried tenpura batter”!

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I was still hungry enough to ask for a set of 6 vegan/vegetarian sushi:
(from left to right)
Menegi/leek sprouts, Soba no Shinme/buckwheat sprouts, Mitsuba, avocado, Takuan/pickled daiko and shiso nd cucumber gunkan, mizuna gunkan.

That was it for lunch!

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As for dinner, I asked Marcus, another foodbuzz member living in Shizuoka City to help me back at Sushi Ko as some serious drinking was involved,too!
We kept to sushi as the sashimi (24) had been taken vare of!

The is the chronoligical order.
I found out later that some pics were a bit fuuzzy. I took all pictures with my mobile phone as a real camera would have bothered some of the customers in that very busy place. At least, they have the merit to be authentic!

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Tachiuo aburi/lightly grilled Scabbard fish with ponzu, momioroshi and chopped thin leeks

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Botan ebi/large raw prawn (very sweet!)

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Hirame/Sole (fuzzy pic/sorry!)

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Amaebi/Sweet shrimp

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The deep-fried heads of the botan ebi. Tasted like rice crackers!

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Maguro zuke/Marinated Tuna (my favourite!)

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California roll/japanese size!: boiled prawn, tamagoyaki, cucumber and black sesame.

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Kani Tsume/Taraba Crab Pincers

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Cute soy sauce saucers, aren’t they? (inedible!)

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Uni gunkan/Sea Urchin gunkan

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Shako/Mantis shrimp. “Shako” also means “garage” in Japanese. Would you believe that a lot of japanese customers actually say “Garage, kudasai!”?

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Ikura gunkan/Salmon roe gunkan. Very generous serving!

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Anago/Conger eel. Traditionally cooked and served with sweet sauce.

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That’s the way they serve sake all over Japan!

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Kobashira/Round Clam Round Twin Muscles gunkan.

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Maguro Te-maki/Maguro Hand roll.

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Vegan/vegetarian Te-maki: natto, shiso, ume/Japanese pickled plum.

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Tamagoyaki/Japanese omelette sushi for first dessert.

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Vegan/vegetarian Kanpyo-maki/dry gourd shavings roll for second dessert!

Now, I know I have just 24 sashimi, but I have the impression that I had more than 24 sushi!
Oh well, no worries!

I can send extra pics to anyone asking for them!

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Sushi Donburi for Friday the 13th!


The Japan Blog List

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Yesterday I made the mistake to notify the Missus too early that I was not going out tonight as per my usual schedule.
-“Fine,” she replied, “and I expect you to cook as well!”
-“No problem!”
-“I’d better prepare a light lunch, then!”
-“….”

So as part of a “budget lunch” including salad and miso soup (and strawberries for dessert) she prepared the above donburi:
-The rice was steamed rice to which she mixed the konbu/seaweed finely cut.
-She marinated thin slices of raw tuna in ponzu, sake and what else. The leftover marinade was poured over the rice to season it before she placed the pieces of tuna on top.
-Smoked salmon with capers.
-A spoon of “tobikko/flying fish roe”
-a generous portion of locally-made (up the Abe River in Shizuoka City) “Wasabi zuke/chopped wasabi stems and flowers fermented in “sake kasu/sake white lees” (all from Shizuoka Prefecture!)

Friday the 13th it is today. Let’s hope it is my (our) lucky day!

Sashimi & Sushi for the Saint Valentine!


The Japan Blog List

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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I suppose I have to bend to the Saint Valentine since I started receiving presents from other ladies (at my grand age?).
I would like to reciprocate, but in Japan men have to wait until March 14t, “White Day”, another festivity invented the Japanese Chocolate Businesses.
I will just suggest to do it more the “Japanese Way”, LOL.

Above are two heart-shaped slices of Minami Maguro/South Pacific Tuna. That is for the solid appetites.

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Now, for the small appetites, how about these dainty, minuscule “genkan sushi” with ikura/salmon roe.
they are very easy to design. They are everywhere in Sushi restaurants these days!

Foodbuzz Research (for a): Fish Stocks Preservation & Repleneshing in Japan


The Japan Blog List

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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First of al, let me say that Foodbuzz never asked me for such an article. I just wrote it out of concern for some of my Foodbuzz Friends!

It was Lou-Ann‘s surprise in particular which prompted me into more investigation to back up knowledge acquired trhough many years spent in this great country, Japan.

I use the word “great” for a simple reason:
Japan is the one country which most extensively conducts and sponsors research and development of fish stocks.
This country has also come up with some momentous discoveries related to the fishing environment:
-Japanese fishermen south of Kyushu Island discovered that planting trees on small islands increased manifold the amount of vegetal plankton carried into the surrounding sea resulting in an immediate increase of the fish population.
-Japanese researchers found out that building small pyramids on the sea floor with concrete or plastic (a beneficial dumping at last?) blocks attracted corals, sea anemones, seaweed and shellfish, thus creating a food chain for fish. Such pyramids will surely prove more beneficial to mankind than all the Egyptian pyramids put together!

The Japanese have been (unjustly) accused of emptying the seas. Actually Spain holds the world record for fish catch and consumption.
I already have written an article on whale meat. I find it galling that Japan is villified for eating whale meat by the very countries which depopulated the globe of sea-mammals in the 19th Century: US, Canada, Russia, Australia and New Zealand (alright, Greta Britain for the last two maybe!) in the Pacific Ocean. Us, Canada, Norway, Great Britain, France, Spain and Russia in the Atlantic Ocean. And most of them again in the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. What do you think Commodore Perry was before he was delegated to order Japan to “open its doors”?
This country is repeatdly thrown into the same basket of evils. I was recently “told off” because the Japanese kill sharks for their fins before throwing the dead fish back into the sea. Sorry, mate, but you will have to ask the Chinese! The Japanese eat the whole fish when they catch it.

It could go on and on, but this is not the real purpose of this article.

Now, to illustrate and justify the heading of this posting, here is a list of the fish and seafood raised in Japan as opposed to being caught in the wild:

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Blue Fin Tuna/Honmaguro

Yes, you read it, Blue Fin Tuna! After 23 years of experimentation, a Kyushu fishmonger has finally succeeded in producing the fish from natural mating inside giant offshore sea parks. The fish is already sold over the counter at supermarkets.
With a ban on tuna fishing in the Mediterranean Sea being pushed through legislation by the EU, Japan will find itself one day in the rich position of actually exporting tuna!

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Big-eyed Tuna/Mebachi Maguro

Human-raising Research is conducted.

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Albacore Tuna: Kihada Maguro

Human-raising Research is conducted.

Note:
Indian Ocean Tuna/Indo Maguro: Human-raising Research is conducted abroad and such fish are imported to Japan.

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Yellowtail/Buri

Over 62,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.

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Amberjack/Kanpachi

Over 49,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.

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Striped Jack/Shima Aji

Over 3,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.

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Horse Mackerel/Ma Aji

Over 3,500 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.

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True Mackerel-Japanese Mackerel/Ma Saba

Human raising succeeded and fish are already sold over the counter.

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True Sardine-Pilchard/Ma Iwashi

Human-raising Research is being conducted.

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Isaki/Grouper variety-Parapristipona Trilinoatum

9 tons of human-raised fish consumed in Nagasaki Prefecture alone last year.

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Silver Salmon/Gin Sake

Over 8,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.

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Porgy/Madai

Over 71,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year as opposed to 15,000 tons caught at sea.

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Seabass/Suzuki

382 tons tons of human-raised fish consumed in Kagawa Prefecture alone last year.

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Sand Borer-Sillago/Kisu

Human-raising Research is being conducted.

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Bar-tailed Flathead/Kochi

Human-raising is being conducted.

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Ainame/Alexagrammos otakii

Human-raising has succeeded and some fish is already sold over the counter.

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Kelp Bass/Kue

A success story in Shizuoka and Nagasaki Prefectures where human-raised fish are already sold over the counter.

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Globefish-Tiger Globefish/Tora Fugu

Over 5,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year.

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Large Prawn/Kuruma Ebi

Over 1,700 tons of human-raised prawns consumed last year.

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Spiny Lobster/Ise Ebi

Human-raising Research is being conducted.

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Ark Sheel-Bloody Clam/Akagai

Human-raising Research is being conducted.

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Gaper/Mirugai

Human-raising Research is being conducted

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Large Cockle/Torigai

Human-raising Research is being conducted

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Hard Clam/Hamaguri

Very large amounts of half human-raised shellfish consumed last year.

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Surf Clam/Hokkigai

Human-raising Research bein conducted

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Abalone/ Awabi

32 tons tons of human-raised abalones consumed in Hokkaido and Nagasaki Prefectures alone last year.

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Scallops/Hotate

Over 270,000 tons of human-raised scallops consumed last year.

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Oysters/Kaki

Over 220,000 tons of human-raised oysters + over 35,000 tons of the same out of the shell consumed last year as opposed to 1,600 tons of wild oysters.

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Sea Urchin/Uni

7 tons tons of human-raised sea urchin consumed in Hokkaido Prefecture alone last year.

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Conger Eel/ Ma Anago

Human-raising Research is being conducted

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Common Eel/Unagi

Over 21,000 tons of human-raised fish consumed last year as opposed to 610 tons caught in the wild.

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Oike Conger eel/Hamo

Human-raising Research is being conducted.

The Japanes have also starting research on different varieties of octopus/tako and squids/ika.

That is all for the moment!LOL