Tag Archives: 山葵

Wasabi Flowers at Tamaruya in Shizuoka City!

We know spring is around the corner in Shizuoka Prefecture and especially in Shizuoka City because the wasabi flowers are at last on sale!
It is certainly not easy to obtain them so fresh and cheaply as Shizuoka Prefecture produces 80% of all wasabi in Japan!

Tamaruya Company is the oldest company trading wasabi, fresh or processed, in the whole World as it was established in Shizuoka City in the 17th Century when it was first grown by humans in Utogi/有東木 along the Abe River/安部川 in present Shizuoka City! Their present shop has stood in front of Shizuoka Station (February 1st, 1889/21st Year of Meiji Era) site since 1876 (8th Year of Meiji Era)!

Their oldest shop is a must-visit for all tourists, be they Japanese or foreigners, coming to Shizuoka City as it is only 5 minutes on foot away from Shizuoka City JR Station!
Not only they sell fresh wasabi roots and flowers, but also a vast array of processed products including wasabi paste, salt, dressings, pickles and many many more!

You must try their wasabi soft ice-creams, especially in the summer!

I know a lot of people who buy their snacks for a trip or back home, especially Wasabi Kit Kat chocolates and wasabi sakura ebi crackers!

Naturally you can have a good look at and buy fresh wasabi roots!

And of course their fresh wasabi flowers with their small leaves and stems!
Now, how do we eat them, you are going to ask me?

The leaves and flowers can be eaten raw in salads, with soy sauce, mayonnaise or miso paste. They can also be prepared as tempura!
But I bought a batch of them today for the Missus to pickle (flowers, leaves and stems!)!
They are a beauty as condiment for freshly steamed rice!

Tamaruya Honten
420-0852 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Koya machi, 6-7 (next to Parco Department Store)
Tel.: free dial/0120-168111
Business hours: 09:00~17:30

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Sashimi Appetizer Plate at Tomii (October 2011)

Service: Professional and attentive
Equipment: Great overall cleanliness, superb washroom
Prices: Slightly expensive
Strong Points: Refined Japanese gastronomy. Great list of Shizuoka Sake.

Tomii is the typical Japanese high-class Japanese restaurant with all the trappings you ought to expect. The quality certainly warrants the prices, but it is always an experience, be it for a quick visit or a more elaborate repast.
The other day, taking a break away from the computer, I restored myself there before going back to work. I would like to introduce the individual sashimi appetizer plate I ordered then:

An indeed very sophisticated serving of five different sashimi!

Maguro akami/鮪赤身, lean part of tuna.

Kampachi/勘八, great Amberjack from Sagara, Shizuoka Prefecture.

Kochi/鯒, Sand Borer-Papilloculiceps longiceps, from Mochimune in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Hata/羽太, Grouper

Aka Ika/赤烏賊, red squid.

Naturally, the freshly grated wasabi and the shiso, sprouts and other vegetables are from Shizuoka Prefecture!

To be continued…
TOMII
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg, 1F
Tel.: 054-274-0666
Business hours: 17:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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Shizuoka Prefecture Appetizer: Fujiyama Beef, Utogi Wasabi & Ameera Rubbins Pearl Tomatoes!

There are days when things seem to click out of nowhere!
The Missus last night brought home some beef from the newly opened Cenova Department Store.
This was Fujiyama Beef, the equivalent of Kobe Beef bred in Shizuoka Prefecture!
It is expensive but when the Missus noticed the 30% discount tag when she visited the place in the evening she did not hesitate!

The Missus sauteed the four slices (two for each…) up to medium rare in top-class olive oil. Nothing else, good girl!

We had a small pack of Ameera Rubbins Pearl Tomatoes from Iwata City in the fridge. These tomatoes are being grown here and there in Japan these days but until recently only two farmers were growing them in our Prefecture in the whole of Japan. These are very firm and sweet and are eaten like a dessert!

I also happened to have quite a few fresh wasabi roots in the fridge. These were offered to me by farmers who grow them in Utogi, Shizuoka City, the very birthplace of wasabi!
Since Shizuoka Prefecture grows 80% of the total crop in Japan, it is quite a common pleasure here to grate your own wasabi!

Just some grated wasabi and salt for the beef… Simple is best and most extravagant!
incidentally, the red salt is a present from Hawai!
Mind you, true to tell, the rest of the dinner was a bit of an anticlimax! LOL

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Wasabi Ice Cream, Wild Boar, Ayu Trout And Joren Waterfalls in Yugashima, Izu Peninsula

The false and the true wasabi ice cream!LOL

If you wish to visit Izu Peninsula, one of the most famous tourist spots in the whole of Japan, be it for a single day or longer, there is a very simple way to do that allows you to explore the area on or off the beaten tracks.

Wherever you come from in Japan or Shizuoka Prefecture, first go to Mishima City and change trains from the JR Railway Line to the Private Izu Hakone Senzu Line which will take you all the way to Shizenji, its final destination.
Then at the Shuzenji Bus Station (beside the Railway Station) choose your destination (buses cover the whole peninsula from there) and enjoy a quiet ride. Take the very back sats if you can as they are always elevated and enable you to enjoy the views on the way from a better angle!

This time my destination was the Jyoren Waterfalls/浄の滝 in Yuugashima/湯ヶ島.
Don’t forget to take a picture of the bus stop sign for your collection!

What’s that inside the beus stop shelter?

“Beware of the Wild Boars!”
It’s not a joke! (Mind you, they make for good food, too!)

They look cute, but their sausages are a local delicacy!

They are also delicious as Inoshishi Man/猪まん/large teamed wild boar dumplings!

Incidentally visit the nearby souvenir shop where you can find Shizuoka Green Tea, real Shizuoka Wasabi Schochu and extravagant Shizuoka sake!

Now, what does that sign say?
Wasabi Soft!

Here they are! Hee they are!

Real wasabi (soft) ice cream (I men the one in the front!) made with wasabi grown in Izu peninsula!
Really piquant and sweet! A must!

Alright let’s go to the waterfalls!
But first consult the board for some useful information!

Quite a few stairs waiting for you!

More wasabi is apparently waiting for you downstairs!

More information on the way to the waterfalls!

Do make a point to read it!

More wasabi ice cream waiting for you!

And fresh wasabi roots on sale!

Can you see the wasabi water fields on your way down?

Impressive, isn’t it?

What are they doing?
Fishing ayu trout/鮎!

Now, here is some great fun for you and your kids:
Ask (for a fee) the small shop below to lend you a rod, line and lure to catch the ayu trouts in the river flowing away from the waterfalls and have your catch grilled for immediate pleasure!

Go there in the colder season when the water is pure and crystal clear!

Our destination: Jypuren No Taki/Jyoren Waterfalls!
You will realize there why the water in Shizuoka Prefecture and Izu Peninsula is so famous!

I must take a dip there next summer! (I wonder if they will let me?)

Looking forward to visit other spots in the Izu Peninsula!

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French Dessert with Shizuoka Ingredients At Tetsuya SUGIMOTO

Ranking
Service: Highly professional and friendly
Equipment: Great overall cleanliness. Beautiful washroom
Prices:~
Strong points:Freshest produce and ingredients only, mainly from Shizuoka Prfecture. Organic vegetables. Seasonal food only

Map (Japanese)
Entirely non-smoking!

If you happen to visit Shizuoka City, you will find many restaurants and izakayas serving and mainly using produce/products and ingredients from Shizuoka Prefecture. There are many treasures to be discovered in this hoard!
One of them is the French restaurant going by the name of Tetsuya SUGIMOTO!
But when it comes to serving desserts mainly made up of Shizuoka ingredients, it is simply a tour de force!

For a closer view!

Now what is that dessert made of?
-First the white part is a blanc manger (pudding) made with rice!
The sauce is a combination of honey and soy sauce while the topping of freshly wasabi and the rice popcorn are also from Shizuoka Prefecture!
-The dragonfruit sorbet with its unusual grey colour for a dessert was made from fruit grown in Shizuoka Prefecture.
-The “powder” is actually crumbled sponge cake for a fine last touch in design, colour and taste!

I wonder what is going to be the next Shizuoka dessert!

Tetsuya SUGIMOTO
420-0038 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Umeya,, 2-13,1F
Tel./Fax: 054-251-3051
Opening hours:11:30~14:30,17:30~21:30
Holidays: undecided
Cedit cards OK
HOMEPAGE

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Wasabi: A Visit to Its Birthplace in Shizuoka!

Mr. Yuma Mochizuki/望月佑真

The other day I received a phone call from my good friend Dominique Corby, the Chef/Manager of Michelin-starred 6eme Sens in Tokyo.
He told me that the French/German ARTE TV Channel was coming to Shizuoka City on September 12th~13th to make a long report on green tea (Shizuoka produces 45% of all green tea in Japan), wasabi (Shizuoka produces 80% of all wasabi in Japan) and the fishing industry in our Prefecture (they will visit the Fishing Harbour of Yaizu City)!
He wished to enroll my help to “prepare the ground” for the TV crew as I was not only living in Shizuoka City, but knew my wasabi well! He didn’t have to ask twice!
So on Thursday and Friday 12th and 13th, a third Musketeer, Stephane Danton of Ocharaka, a French specialist of green tea in Kanagawa Prefecture who exports green tea from Kawane Honcho in Shizuoka, joined us in a rented car and we left on a grand mission!

Utogi is also the starting point of some great treks!

We did spend the whole Thursday following Stephane in tea growing farming homes and communities as the rain just made it impossible to visit the wasabi fields in altitude!
So we left early in the morning on Friday from Shizuoka City in blistering heat.
The ride is not that hard, 18 km along the Abe River and 3 more km up in altitude, what with the beautiful vistas between high steep forested mountains.
We reached Utogi at around 11:00 a.am. where Mr. Yuma Mochizuki was already waiting for us.

One of Mr. Yuma Mochizuki’ wasabi fields.

Mr. Yuma Mochizuki is the 10th generation of a celebrated wasabi growing family.
He presently owns 5 fields dispersed on in the Utogi Mountains, and is trying to buy more land in Fujinomiya City as the demand is growing and that there is simply no space left in Utogi!
Wasabi grows in the wild and has been consumed as a vegetable for eons.
It is only in the beginning of the 17th Century that a farmer in Utogi succeeded in growing the root that is so appreciated in the world.
Roots of a small size will develop in the wild after 2 or 3 years, but they are too sour and “green” to be consumed at all. Although its cultivation is purely organic/macrobiotic it does need the help of a human hand.

Mr. Mochizuki first took us to his highest field at almost 1,000 metres (well over 300 feet) to an almost inaccessible locale among trees, steep slopes and up impossibly narrow and slippery “stairs”. But it was certainly worth it, although the TV crew will ot have to climb so high.
He then took us (all the time by car as walking was not much of an option what with the heat and the distance between fields) to the field that would appear on TV.

The whole field is covered with a black mesh net to protect it from too much exposure to the sun. These nets are streched over the field only when it is directly under the path of the sun. Some fields aren’t.
But all fields have to be protected with suplementary solid side nets to keep wild monkeys and deer away as they would leave nothing of the stems and leaves!

Wasabi seedlings have to be regularly replanted every one or two years depending upon the variety. There are axtually more than 100 varieties of them. Mr. Mochizuki grows ten of them.
The seedlings above had been replanted only one month ago.

Here is a “view” (from under the nets) of the upper part of that particular field with about one-year old wasabi plants in the background.

After 1 or 2 years the wasabi plant matures to almost one metre in height, root, stems and leaves included. Subsidiary plants will grow from the bottom of the main large root. These will be cut out to be replanted.
The large root will be harvested for the wasabi paste. The stems will be pickled in Japanese sake white lees to become “Wasabi Tsuke”, a delicacy one can use to season his/her bowl of freshly steamed rice with or with fish and fish paste. The leaves can be pickled too, although they are eminently edible raw, steamed or cooked. Shizuoka people use them as “vessels” to taste miso paste!

Only pure mountain water flowing at a constant temperature may be used in the culture of wasabi. Stagnant water is out of question.
Moreover, and this is a little known fact, individual field sections and fields in general do not communicate with each other. Water come through pipes directly connected to mountain streams to bring water to each field section. It is then diverted to side funnels which prevent any water to go back into another field!
True envirnomental and organic culture.
Apart of the bed sand and water, nothing else goes into those fields. Full stop!

Although Mr. Mochizuki was very busy preparing the big Festival to be held on Saturday and Sunday with the whole community, he kindly took the time to invite us to his enormous Japanese house (all sitting on tatami there) to share tea and sample his wasabi crop. We had the pleasure to meet his very gentle spouse and the energetic 11th generation Yoshihiro Mochizuki望月義弘!

Here are the best samples of 3 of the best out of the 10 varieties the Mochizuki family grows. Can you guess which is the best one?…
The one in the middle with the dark stems!

Now, where do you grate the stem from? The pointed end or the stem end?
Well, this is according to priorities, but usually after chopping the stems away fromthe root is first grated from the top as it will hotter as you come closer to its pointed extremity. This way you can control the “heat” of the root (or mix the whole later!).

Have you ever seen the cross section of a healthy root?

The traditional way to grate the wasabi root is on a wooden slat covered with shark skin.
Mr. Mochizuki explained this is now done only for the sake of tradition. Sushi and soba chefs will grate (away for the clients’ eyes) on a new and very efficient metal grater (in the background).

Look at that for extravagance!
Mr. Mochizuki was indeed so generous in his demonstration.
The TV crew will have a “field day”! LOL

MARU ICHI NOUEN/丸一置農園
(Yutogi Kodawari Club/有東木こだわり倶楽部)
Director: Yoshihiro Mochizuki/望月義弘
421-2303 Shizuoka Prefecture, Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Yutogi, 602
Tel./Fax: (81) (0)54-298-2077
E–mail: wasabiya-maruichi@vivid.ne.jp
Direct mail orders possible

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Health & Nutrition Facts in Japanese Food 5: Wasabi

As demonstrated by many food bloggers, cooking and creating great foods and drinks have become incomplete and unsatisfying when not considering the benefits or adverse effects of the same foods and drinks regardless of their taste.
I do not intend to delve into counselling or consulting, but only to offer some knowledge about the good sides of Japanese foods and drinks. I will not extoll on its possible lacks and negative aspects. After all, the Japanese are not the longest-living people in the world for no reason!
I will also offr at least one nutritious or healthy recipe at the end of each posting.

Health & Nutrition Facts in Japanese Food 5: Wasabi/Japanese Horseradish/山葵

First grown by humans from wild varieties in the 17th Century in Utougi (presently Shizuoka City in Japan), wasabi, or Japanese horseradish, is not only a condiment but is also consumed per se and shows a lot of qualities when it comes to nutrition, health and food hygiene.

Not only the roots, but the stems, flowers and the leaves are edible.
The leaves and flowers can be eaten raw, steamed or pickled, whether the stems are usually pickled but can aso be used in recipes in the steamed form.

It has a great value as a general natural food preservative.

For each 100g (edible parts) it contains:
-Energy: 88 kcal
-Water: 74.2 g
-Proteins: 5.6 g
-Ash: 18.4 g
-Natrium: 24 mg
-Potassium: 500 mg
-Calcium: 100 mg
-Magnesium: 46 mg
-Phosphorus: 79 mg
-Iron: 0.8 mg
-Vitamin B2: 0.15 mg
-Niacin: 0.6 mg
-Vitamin C: 75 mg
-Dietary (roughage) fibre: 4.4 g

HEALTH FACTS & TIPS:

-Combined with rice vinegar, or with mustard, or with ginger, or with Japanese pickled plums, protects food from germs and rot, will help combat obesity and promote blood flow.

-Combined with Chinese Cabbage, or with cabbage, or with moroheya/nalta jute/もろへや, or with yam/yamaimo/山芋 help prevent stomach and gastic problems, and is efective in preventing cancer.

-Combined with onion, or with Japanese parsley/Chinese celery/ser/せり, or with leek, or with Garlic chives/Chinese chives, nira/にら will combat blodd vessel hardening, promote recovery, help prevent heart disease and help with skin rejuvenation.

-Combined with chili peppers, or with Japanese pickled plum, or with orange, or with grapefruit will increase appetite, will help with recovery and skin rejuvenation, and combat aging.

RECIPE:

Here is a recipe that will help promote general health and skin quality:

-Wasabi (if possible fresh root): 1 teaspoon (grated)
-Rice: enough for 2 bowls

-Nametake (enoki mushrooms marinated in soy sauce and mirin/sweet sake): 3 tablespoons
-Egg: 1
-Dashi/soupstock: 2cups/400 cc/ml

-Kizaminori/Finely cut dry seaweed: as appropriaye
-Salt: a pinch

-Wash the rice well and drain.
-Pour the dashi in large pot. Add the nametake mushrooms. Heaand simmer for a little while on a medium fire. Add rice and cook. Check taste when the rice is cooked and add salt if needed. Beat the egg and pour over the rice. Stop fire.
Pour in 2 bowls. Top with grated wasabi and chopped dry seaweed and serve.
Mix around as you eat it!

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