Gaijin on Getas Blog

Food

Sake Brewing in Fushimi, Kyoto

Posted on January 24th, 2012 by Takako "Tammy" Ota

Gekkeikan Sake Brewery

Gekkeikan Sake Brewery

Sake making began about two thousand years ago when rice planting was introduced to Japan. Fushimi is one of the biggest sake producing areas in Japan. When Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the lord of Osaka Castle, built Fushimi Casle in the late sixteenth century, the sake industry in the surrounding city of Fushimi flourished. Many sake breweries including Gekkeikan started brewing sake here during the Edo Period. Today there are about 20 sake breweries in Fushimi. When you walk around Fushimi the fragrant smell of sake floats on the wind. Read the full post »

New Years Dishes

Posted on January 15th, 2012 by Takako "Tammy" Ota

Herring Roe and Black Beans

Herring Roe and Black Beans

Osechi Ryori, (New Year’s dishes) are specially prepared to be eaten during the first three days of January. They are cooked and  preserved for three days so that housewives don’t have to cook during that period. The yellow in the grey dish is herring roe representing fertility. Bean in Japanese is ‘mame’ which has the same sound of ‘working hard’. So the black beans in the yellow dish reflect our wish to stay healthy and to work hard. Each of the dishes has some auspicious meaning which reflects people’s wishes such as longevity, prosperity and fertility.  Read the full post »

Sake – The Basic Ingredients (Rice and Water)

Posted on December 15th, 2011 by Mike Roberts

In this installment of our discussions on Sake, we will discuss the basic ingredients of Sake, the different kinds of ingredients and how they affect the final result. These main ingredients include:

  • Rice
  • Water
  • Yeast
  • Koji

This installment will concentrate on rice and water, the most important ingredients by volume only. Yeast and koji will be discussed later. Read the full post »

Sake – Part 1 – The Brewing Process

Posted on November 27th, 2011 by Mike Roberts

Cedar Sake Barrel

Cedar Sake Barrel

This is part one of a series of discussions on Sake. Hopefully these discussions will help you better understand, and ultimately, appreciate Sake more. Many people who have tried Sake outside of Japan often say they did not like it. It is important to remember that the quality of the rice and the purity and quality of the water have a tremendous effect on the eventual quality of the Sake. So if you have tried Sake produced from outside of Japan, it will be much different (and usually not as good due to the difference in the water) as Sake made in Japan. To truly understand Sake, you first need to understand the brewing process. Read the full post »

Japanese Teppanyaki – It’s Not Your Father’s Teppanyaki

Posted on October 25th, 2011 by Mike Roberts

I may be dating myself, but my first exposure to Japanese food came long before anyone in America even knew sushi existed. Like many my age, my introduction to Japanese food came at a teppanyaki restaurant. I know you have all been to one of these restaurants where the cooking of the food is as much entertainment as it is food preparation.

 While teppanyaki is popular in Japan, I’m sure it is not surprising the menus at Japanese teppanyaki restaurants are much different than the typical beef, chicken or seafood teriyaki and fried rice served at American teppanyaki restaurants. What you may not know is there is no food throwing, knife juggling or cooking oil induced fires up to the vents at Japanese teppanyaki restaurants. While there are exceptions, teppanyaki  in Japan usually means Yakisoba and Okonomiyaki. Read the full post »

Oysters – Miyajima Style

Posted on October 9th, 2011 by Mike Roberts

 

Miyajima Grilled Oysters

Miyajima Grilled Oysters

As you travel around Japan, you will find each region has its type of food (or foods) that it is known for. My mantra when it comes to Japanese food is to eat the local specialties. One of the specialties, among others, of the Miyajima Island/Hiroshima area are oysters. Read the full post »

Making Fist Candy

Posted on September 13th, 2011 by Mike Roberts

Genkotsu-ame (Fist Candy)Genkotsu-ame (literally translates to Fist Candy) is a specialty of the Hida (Takayama) region of Japan. It is one of the most popular sweets made in the area, and can be found in just about every souvenir shop in Takayama. They can even be found in supermarkets and convenience stores as well.

It is relatively easy to make. First, soybean powder is mixed with mizuame (literally translates to water candy). Mizuame, a starch syrup and Japanese sweetener, is usually made by converting rice or potato starch to sugars and looks and tastes much like corn syrup. Sometimes green powder tea, chocolate and other ingredients are also added to the genkotsu-ame for flavoring. Read the full post »