Gastronomic Destinations: New Caledonia (2)


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Noumea’s Morning Market

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One great way to enjoy and experience the truly local life in New Caledonia and especially in Noumea is to wake up early, skip breakfast and visit tne Morning Market near Port de Plaisance. Almost all buses go there, so there is little chance to get lost.
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Not only will you find all locally grown vegetables and fruit (plus some imported ones, notably potatoes, altough locals eat yams), but you can buy cooked food at stands offering bread, pastries, Vietnamese food such as all kinds of nems, all these at extremely reasonable prices. There is also a large indoors Cafe Stand where you can drink great New caledonian coffee, soft drinks and what else.
You can also take advantage of other stands offering crafts and Kanak clothing, paleos and so forth.
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But the must-see are the fish stands displaying sea food caught the day or night before. If you happen to live or stay in a place equipped with its own kitchen, this a great opportunity to choose your fish and shellfish for sashimi, steamed, fried, simmered fish, some of which can be found in the sea surrounding Okinawa.
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Now if it is crustaceans you are looking for, you might be in for a great surprise or shock depending on your tastes as you will not find spiny lobsters weighing under 2 kg! (Just boil them, then cool them and eat with mayonnaise or grilled in the oven!)

Wishing you a happy shopping!

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Today’s Bento/Lunch Box (7)


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For once the Missus had to bring my Tuesday’s bento to my office before she went to work as I had to leave very early to attend a Primary School Graduation Ceremony away along Abe River.
It was quite a hearty one I must say!
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The “Salad” part consisted of fresh cabbage, cress, tomato and “Tori no Tsukune”/Sauteed Chicken Balls wrapped in shiso/perilla leaves. All vegetables are locally grown.
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The “Rice” part consisted of Maki/Rolls made of sushi rice mixed with “Tobiko”/Flying Fish Roe contained smoked salmon with thin leeks and wrapped in lettuce. I’m sure Allison will be interested! “Kamaboko Dango”/balls of fish paste (steamed and filled with tuna or cheese bought at the supermarket) and pickled cucumber and “Gobo”/Burdock Roots we bought in Kyoto last Friday.

I can tell you I was full and happy!

Korean Restaurant: Hoyoken


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So many carnivorous friends of mine have repeatedly asked me to recommend them a Korean Yakiniku Restaurant that I feel I have to introduce one at least that I truly appreciate.
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All Korean restaurants in this country seem the same at first glance. So the difference will reside in the quality of the meat, the attitude of the staff and the general atmosphere.
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Actually, even vegetarians can find their prefered food there!
Founded in 1949, this is one of the best traditional Yakiniku Restaurants in Shizuoka City and it is quite crowded most of the time. Even so, the staff works hard to serve you as soon as possible in a quiet and effective manner.
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You cannot ignore their homemade pickled vegetables!
A hint?: choose a seat at the counter and you will see everybody at work. Some great sakes in store, too.

HOYOKEN
Address: 420-0036 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Suruga-cho, 6-18.
Tel.;: 054-2528929
Opening hours: 17:00~24:00.
Closed on Mondays.
Credit cards OK.

Gastronomic Destinations: New Caledonia (1)


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Restaurant: la Coupole

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Although this is not srictly within the purpose of this blog, I thought it would be a shame not to share some good moments I spent abroad and thus provide useful and truthfull knowledge away from the “guides” and what else!

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As March 11th is the Missus’ birthday, we (I) thought we ought to celebrate it with a special dinner.
La Coupole in Noumea, New Caledonia (we had discovered a very good value free-time tour for three days to this favourite destination of ours) is the best Fench restaurant in the whole island (that is until now…) and located just beside the Surf Hotel where we resided.
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After a Kir for aperitif (my half pointed out that a glass of Champagne would have fitted the occasion better, to which I replied that I wished to bring her back to the hotel in reasonably good shape…), I chose a Cote Chalonnaise, Red Mercurey, Les Gravettes 2005, one of the best reds in that particular region and certainly better value than overblown Bourgogne greta names.
The amuse (see pic above) consisted of foie gras terrine slice with toast and balsamico dressing. I ended up with half of my half (no pun there!) as she felt a bit conscious about her waist.
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I ordered a dozen oysters from Doumbea. These are raised in the village of the same name and have the particularity to be small, full and succulent. I never seem to have enough of them every time I visit this island.
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Her Grace chose the Cassolette d’Ecrevissesd de Bolouporis a l’Estragon/ oven baked crayfish from Bolouporis (New Caledonia) with taragon.
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The crayfish are basically sauteed with a julienne of vegetables and fresh taragon and seasoned fresh cream, then poured in a dish to be covered with light pastry before being baked in an oven. Good balance. It was the first time the Missus challenged crayfish and she loved it.
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As for the main dish, my wife tried the Croustillant de Saint-Pierre/Sea Bass baked in light pastry (again…). The fish had been emphasized with a slighty spicy seasoning before being wrapped in very light pastry. Good balance again.
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As for me, I had chosen foie gras (again…) raviolis with morel sauce, which unfortunately I could not keep away from my other half long enough. Which explains why I appreciated half of the firsh she had graciously left for me!
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I still had space left for the kiwi and pineapple soup with citrus sherbet.
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Her Majesty was already full and quite happy nibbling on the “mignardises” consisting of creme brulee an cold melon soup.

The bread we were served had been baked in the restaurant kitchen and I had a hard time keeping my hands off it!
Coffee, and that was it.
The bill was fairly high, but life is more expensive there than in Japan.
Very kind and attentioned service.

Address:
Restaurant La Coupole, Le Surf Hotel,
Le Rocher a la Voile
B.P. 4230
9847 Noumea, Nouvelle Caledonie.
Reservations are better made through the Hotel, especially on week-ends
Tel.: (687)286688
Credit Cards OK

Oratche: an ecological symbiosis


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In 1997, when Mr. Tomoyuki Shimono came all the way from Tokyo to Kannami, near Mishima City, he surely had a grand idea: not only he wanted to create his own bio dairy products and beer, but he also knew how to develop it to contribute to a better environment and cooperation with locals.
He certainly needed a lot of courage to achieve his goals: Kannami is far away from urban life regardless of the great numbers of Tokyoites-owned villas sprouting all over a nearby mountain. At the time he arrived there, the land was poor and grew little but oranges due to its exposure to cold winds in winter and searing heat in summer. Oratche’s beer was not called “Wind Valley Beer” because it sounded good, but because it was a fact of life!
I had already written a few articles about their surprisingly good cheeses when I met their young business department executive, Mr. Satoru Nishimura, by pure chance in Isetan Department Store in Shizuoka City. The gentleman most readily assented when I asked him if I may visit and investigate his company. He went as far as picking me up at the station, about ten minutes away from his establishment.
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Oratche is a multiple-purpose company as they include a large shop, a dairy classroom for kids, an attraction park with rabbits, goats and ponies.
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Local farmers have their own space where they can sell their own bio vegetables to visitors. Oratche had a good idea to recycle the refuse from the many cows they keep for milk and calves they raise for meat. They just give it to the local farmers who can use it as biological fertiliser!
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They certainly never run out of it, I can tell you, as everything is well planned and quickly disposed of! They grow their own corn for feed combined with hay directly imported from the States. Knowing the Japanese Customs’ pickiness, I do not harbour any worry about its quality!
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Now, their beer was a discovery!
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I was lucky to come just after the new batch was finished. It was Sunday, and the beer brewery was on holiday, but they opened for my sole person and was offered a premium taste of three beers (see boards above. I had to decline the others, as I did not trust myself! Lucky I don’t drive!)
Great beer, seven of them, unfiltered and organic, with a very creamy foam. Wait until I report on the bottles I brought back home!
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Before taking my leave, the company graciously offered me lunch at their restaurant where most ingedients are local. The enormous chicken side I chose is from Mishima, and the vegetables from local farmers. The carrots were so sweet!

Do look at their homepage, ven if it in Japanese (they are planning to start a blog soon), and you will see their wealth of products: milk, cream, butter, cheese,yoghurt, ice-creams, fruit juices, jams, cakes and beer!

I’m planning on more visits. If you are interested, do join me!

ORATCHE
419-0105 Shizuoka Ken, Tagat Gun, Tanna, 349-1
Tel.: 055-974-4192
Fax: 055-974-4191
Business hours: 10:00~18:00 (week days), 10:00~20:00 (Sat., Sun. and National Holidays)
Free car park.
HOMEPAGE

Shizuoka Beer 1-3: Tenjigura Pilsner


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This is the third bottle from Tenjigura-Hamamatsu Brewery in Hamamatsu City.
It is a very basic Czech-style Pilsner.

Name: Tenjigura-Pilsner
Unfiltered
Ingredients: Malt, Hops.
Volume: 330 ml
Alcohol: 4.5%

Colour: Orange
Foam: Thick head, fine bubbles. Lingering long
Aroma: oranges, pineapple
Taste: Dry. Oranges, bread. Welcome acidity.
Comments: both refreshing and somewhat nourishing. Drinks well with light food and snacks.

Tenjingura/Hamamatsu Brewery Co. Ltd.
430-463-3851 Hamamatsu City, Naka Ku, Tenjin Machi, 3-57
Tel.: 053-4616145
Fax: 053-463-3851
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Business hours: 10:30~21:00
Closed on Tuesdays

Red Plum Liqueur: Ribaishu by Hamamatsu Brewery


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This is a fairly extraordinary liqueur that Gaijin Tonic is going to scream about when he learns that it can be bought only at Hamamatsu Brewery shop as they only make very small amounts of it!
It is made from red plums growing in the vicinity and contains no colouring or taste additives whatsoever. Though it is fairly sweet, the fair amount of alcohol (14~15 %) makes it a solid liqueur which can be appreciated on the rocks or, like the Missus did, mixed with a dry white wine to be called “Hamamatu Kir”!
You had better reserve the next batch!

“Ribaishu”/Red Plum Liqueur
Alcohol: 14~15%
Red plums extract, Japanese plums extract, kome/rice shochu. Natural sugars.

Tenjingura/Hamamatsu Brewery Co. Ltd.
430-463-3851 Hamamatsu City, Naka Ku, Tenjin Machi, 3-57
Tel.: 053-4616145
Fax: 053-463-3851
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
Business hours: 10:30~21:00
Closed on Tuesdays