Jaoanese Shellfish Species 9: Round Clam-Hen Clam/Bakagai

AOYAGI-1

“Bakagai”, or Round clam/Hen Clam in English, is found mainly in the Central part of Honshu Island.

AOYAGI-2

Actually, you have a good chance to discover them at low tide all over Japan.

AOYAGI-6

It is a versatile shellfish as it provides for two distinct morsels:

AOYAGI-5

The “Tongue” called “Aoyagi”. It is very popular in Japan for its colour and sweetness. It is both eaten as Sashimi and…

AOYAGI-3

Sushi as nigiri.

AOYAGI-4

The second morsel, one of two muscle parts is called “Kobashira/Small pillar”.
Sushi chefs will keep them until they have enough to serve as sashimi or even better as suhi as gunkan!

Make sure to order either “Aoyagi” or “Kobashira” unless you want to start a long conversation by ordering “Bakagai”! esecially considering that “baka” in japanese means “Idiot”!

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The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

French Gastronomy: Bistro Premier in Shizuoka City!

Service: Very friendly and smiling service.
Facilities: Great overall cleanliness. Superb washroom.
Prices: Reasonable.
Strong points: French and South European cuisine based on local products. Very relaxing place opening onto a large leisure space in Aoba Park Street.

Aoba Park Street/青葉公園 in Shizuoka City is finally witnessing some welcome changes because it has become more attractive to businesses with the advent of bordering Ryogae-cho and Shichiken-cho being noticeably pared down due to recent developments.
The immediate effect is that this large space is slowly but steadily becoming the new gastronomic meeting place in Shizuoka City.
And the latest addition, Bistro Premier is only confirming the trend!

It was opened last December by young talented Chef Tomomichi Gekka/月花智道さん coming from the mother company, Wine Bar Le Vin in Hamamatsu, with the help of young and bubbly Floor Manager, Ms. Eriko Mamiya/間宮恵理子さん, also from Hamamatsu City.

I finally managed to pay them a visit for lunch yesterday!

Incidentally, you can buy take out food there!

The concept is that of a wide counter with a view on the window-paned kitchen and a room with tables at the back for more privacy.
The place is extremely clean and entirely non-smoking!

The white walls make for a very refreshing and relaxing atmosphere at all times.
Considering you can visit the place for a drink and a quick meal up 12:00 p.m., it is a real boom in this busy city!

I chose the 1790 yen lunch (22 US $ or 17 euros).
The food is heavily accented in favor of local ingredients, especially vegetables!
A small salad and bread.

A glass of wine was included. I opted for a solid Pinot Noir from my birthplace, Bourgogne!

Appetizers assortment: Ratatouille, smoked duck and Caprese salad.

Delicious and hot lentils potage!

Budai seabream poelee with an elegant creamy herb sauce!

The broccolini and stick Junior broccoli made for a perfect accompaniment!
So healthy and tasty!

With petit vert Brussels sprouts (a variety created in Shizuoka Prefecture!), Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, a real beauty!

Now, the desserts created by Tomomichi would deserve a visit of its own!

Vanilla ice cream served in mango sauce with fruits…

on which you pour a superb hot cranberry sauce!

Do I need to say that a report on dinner is coming very soon?

BISTRO PREMIER
420-0034 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa Cho, 2-4-5 (Aoba Park Street, near the fountain)
Tel.: 054-260-6076
Business hours: 11:30~14:30, 17:30~24:00
Closed on Wednesdays
Credit cards OK

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The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
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Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Shellfish 8: Pen Shell-Tairagi-玉珧

TAIRAGI-4

Pen Shells or Tairagi (玉珧-Atrina pectinata) in Japanese are usually sold in winter but tend to still appear in Spring in Shizuoka.

TAIRAGI-1

Also called Tairagai, it was very common not so long ago when the domestic catch amounted to 13,395 tonnes in 1976 to suddenly fall to a mere 134 tonnes in 1994!
It disappeared from the Tokyo Bay and is presently mainly caught in the Inner Japanese Sea between Shikoku and Honshu Islands.

It has become expensive these days and when you realize there is not so much to eat for such a big shell, one can understand it is fast becoming a rare morsel.

Some great Japanese chefs are keen to introduce it in Western gastronomy as shown above by Chef Kensuke Sakata!

It is particularly delicious as sashimi or salt-grilled and is very similar to scallops, although distinctly different in shape.
Naturally it is most popular served as sushi nigiri!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Robert Yellin’s Newsletter: Takeuchi Shingo Exhibition & Local Kyoto Talent

Takeuchi shingo

To all Friends of our gallery, Greetings from Kyoto!

It’s been a while since our last email to you and we hope this finds all lovers of beauty well. Here we are so pleased with our move to Kyoto and have been able to greet many visitors whom otherwise we wouldn’t have had the pleasure to do so. We sincerely hope that one day you’ll be able to visit this magical city and stop on by.

Our gate is always open.

Takeuchi Shingo Exhibition

In the meantime though there is so much new work on the web gallery that we hope you have seen. Now we’re having a one-man exhibition of Seto veteran ceramic artist Takeuchi Shingo, whose works are all hand-coiled and speak of exotic forms and organic color schemes. Some of his works are subdued in charcoal gray tones and are very much Zen-ish in attitude. Takeuchi’s works have been exhibited in countless juried exhibitions that include the Japan Traditional Arts and Crafts Exhibition (’82 ’85 ’86 ’87 ’88 ’94), the Asahi Ceramics Exhibition(’84 ’86 ’87 ’88 ’91 ’99), and the Taiwan Ceramics Biennale (’04 ’08). We hope you create a moment to see Takeuchi’s works online until next Wednesday. Takeuchi will be in the gallery this weekend and if anyone would like to Skype and say hello or to see works in real time please do so. By searching Skype for Robert Yellin, that should do.

After that look for Kako Katsumi’s exhibition online, a true rising star, starting on March 30th.

Local Kyoto Talent

We’ve also discovered some amazing local talent, including Kyoto veteran ceramic artist Kobayashi Hideo and the red hot young potter Ikeda Shogo from faraway Tanegashima Island, a place more associated with nanban-yaki than with Ikeda’s superb Oribe and Kohiki works.

Another veteran artist never shown in the west before is Echizen’s Miyoshi Kentaro.

For those who adore ancient works, we offer a rare chance to acquire a top rated museum quality Ko-Tamba tsubo-jar from a Kyoto collector.

Other News

A few weeks ago a video was released—actually five videos—by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs featuring different aspects of Japanese culture. For the video titled ‘Takumi’ I was selected to show various crafts—a true honor—to invite visitors from overseas to discover the beauty that Japan has to offer. The video can be viewed here, number 6:

As I type this, clouds drift over the Higashiyama mountains, below is the Silver Pavilion; we sincerely hope to see you here one day to show you this view, and we also hope you enjoy all the amazing work on the web gallery at www.japanesepottery.com.

Robert Yellin (Robert@e-yakimono.net)
Chihiro Yadokoro
Sumie Sato
Robert Yellin Yakimono Gallery
Ginkakuji-mae-cho 39
Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu
JAPAN 606-8407
Phone- Int’l: 81-75-708-5581, fax: 81-75-708-5393
Within Japan: 075-708-5581, fax: 075-708-5393
www.japanesepottery.com

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The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Shellfish 7: Clam-Hamaguri-蛤

HAMAGURI-SUSHI2

Clams come in many varieties in Japan.
They are either called Common Orient Clams or Hard Clams, whatever their mode of cooking.

HAMAGURI-JAPANESE

Japanese Clam Variety

In 1993, Japan produced 29,000 tonnes before suffering a steep decline down to only 1,500 tonnes in 2000.
Since then imported clams are 15 times the domestic production.
Main importers to Japan are:

HAMAGURI-CHINA

China (see variety above): 20,100 tonnes

HAMAGURI-NORTH-KOREA

North Korea (see variety above): 3,33 tonnes

A great part of both Chinese and North Korean varieties are imported young and “re-planted” on Japanese beaches to be sold as Japanese varieties!

80 percent of all clams are sold over the counter at supermarkets while 20 percent are proceesed by canneries.

Clams, like everywhere in the world, are cooked/prepared in may ways in Japan:

HAMAGURI-NI

Ni-Hamaguri/simmered clams served in broth with vegetables, tofu and chopped thin leeks.

HAMAGURI-SUSHI1

Chirashizushi/”Decoration Sushi”, very popular in Japanese homes!

HAMAGURI-SUSHI2

But my favourite is Ni-Hamaguri Sushi!
The clams, large variety only, are first slowly simmered into broth, then drained and cooled before being served brushed with a sweet “tare” sauce. Sublime!

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Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Shellfish 6: Turbo Shells-Sazae-栄螺

SAZAE-1 SAZAE-2
Japanese turbo shells with and without “spikes”

Turbo shells, also called Horned Turban, are common all over the world, but are not eaten everywhere. Called Sazae or Sadae in Japan, they are at their best in Winter and Spring.
About 10,000 tonnes are consumed every year.

SAZAE-KOREA

Korean turbo shells are also found in markets.

The Japanese consider that the best specimen should have a comparatively thin shell and well-pointed “head horn”.
They should not emit any noise when lightly shaken.
They should be avoided in hot weather as they tend to spoil quickly.

SAZAE-3 SAZAE-4

They can be enjoyed grilled with soy sauce.
As sushi,they can be served as nigiri either raw or cooked.
Large specimen’s livers are served raw as “gunkan”!

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Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Gastronomy with Local Shizuoka Products at Korosuke in Fuji City!

Service: Very friendly and attentive.
Facilities and equipment: Very clean. Superb toilets.
Prices: Reasonable.
Strong points: A great introduction to local products served with a very healthy concept. Private room available. Parking available.

Chef Koichi Satoh/佐藤高一さん opened Korosuke/ころ助 eight years ago in Fuji City and his fame has reached Shizuoka City where people do not get easily excited.
Today a good friend of mine was kind enough to drive all the way to share lunch with me!

You definitely need a car (or a taxi) to reach the place which is not easy to find, but the sign in the car park already gives you a good idea of what to expect: Portobella mushrooms by Mr. Hasegawa in Fuji City, Fuji no Jidori Chicken by Mr. Aoki in Fujinomiya City, Fuji Rainbow Trout by Mr. Kunugi in Fujinomiya City, Asagiri Kougen Beef (Wagyu) by Mr. Morimoto on the asagiri Plateau, Asagiri Yoguru Pork by the Matsuno Family on Asagiri Plateau, U no Hana Healthy Tofu by the Miwa Shop and so on!

It didn’t really look like a restaurant from the far side of the busy and wide thoroughfare!

But with the word “Dining” you couldn’t mistake it for anything else!

The privacy of the customers was certainly well protected!

Very interesting calligraphy!

Nobody seemed to be smoking inside and Mr. Satoh told me he intends to make the establishment non-smoking at all times from next month!

Local pottery on sale!

Mr. Hasegawa’s nationally famous Portobella Mushrooms!

A reasonably-priced lunch set considering the quality!
Individual plates and orders are naturally available but for my first visit the set lunch was the obvious choice!

Hot towels and a small salad!

These cute hot towel rabbits are not to be eaten!

The lunch is served inside an antique rice measure box!
What did we have then?

Plain rice seasoned with black rice!
Delicious and very tasty!

White miso soup with fish stock, egg whites, mizuna and daikon!

Top row:
Seared Fuji no Jidari Chicken sashimi from Aoki’s Farm.
Matsuno Family Asagiri Yoguru Pork Shabu shabu salad.
Tofu by Miwa Shop. Very nutritious tofu!

Middle row:
Deep-fried “kisu/Sillago”.
Sauteed Scallops.
Deep-fried Portobella Mushrooms from Mr. Hasegawa’s garden.

Bottom row:
Fuji no Jidori Chawanmushi.
Maguro no misoyaki/tuna grilled with miso.
Organic red shiso juice.

Coffee and dessert!

Baked sweet potato, vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce!

Now, I’m definitely planning to come again for dinner with plenty of wine and Shizuoka Sake!

KOROSUKE
416-0954 Fuji City, Moto Ichiba Cho, 975
Tel.: 0545-653-450
Business hours: 11:30~14:00, 17:30~23:00
Closed on Mondays
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Shellfish 5: Geoduck-Mirugai-海松貝

MIRUKUI-1

We are just in season for Mirugai or Gaper Shellfish.
Known under many names including Mirugai, Mirukui, Mirukuigai, Mirukugai, Guidakku, Umitake or Atlantic Miru, it is a bit grotesque with its vent protruding endlessly. Its common English names are Pacfic Gaper, Geoduck or Trough Sheel.
In Japan it is collected mainly in the sea between Shikoku and Honshu islands.

MIRUKUI-2

It can be either dark brown or completely whitish beige.
When consumed as sushi or sashimi, the dark skin is taken off.
It is widely consumed in this country and more are imported from Canada, and Korea. There is practically no difference in taste or quality whatever its origin.

A real monster!
But plenty to eat!

As sashimi!

As nigiri sushi!

For sushi lovers with a big appetite!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

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

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Shellfish Species 4: Heart Clam-Torigai-鳥貝

torigai1.jpg

“Torigai/鳥貝” has many names in English: Heart Clam, Surf Clam, Japanese Cockle. In Japanese it is called “Bird Shell”!
They appear on the market in Spring and earlier in Shizuoka Prefecture. They are mainly found in Tokyo Bay, Ise bay and Seto Inner Sea. Some are imported from Korea, but catches can wildly vary, especially with the occurence of “red tides”. A lot are imported from Aichi Prefecture to Shizuoka.

TORIGAI-SHELL

They must be absolutely fresh to be consumed.
One easy way to check if they are still fresh is to slam them on the wooden board. They should immediately retract, even if cut out. They are at their cheapest between March and May.

Torigai in its natural element

Torigai Ngiri sushi!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

French Desserts: Macaron Framboisé & Matcha Parfait Cannelé at Pissenlit in Shizuoka City!

Service: Excellent and very friendly.
Facilities: Great cleanliness overall. Superb washroom (mouthwash and toothpicks provided!)!
Prices: Reasonable to slightly expensive, very good value.
Strong points: Interesting wine list. Great use of local products, especially organic vegetables and Shizuoka-bred meat.

The Japanese, as a general rule, are not so keen to savor cakes at the end of their repasts and prefer to enjoy them in between meals.
Therefore, it is quite a feat if a restaurant can convince them to find some space for a succulent dessert!
Chef Touru Arima/有馬亨さん does not sem to encounter any problems to convince his guests to stay a bit longer and acquaint themselves with his supreme creations!

I have just had the occasion to sample two of his recent desserts as I have to visit him often not only for pleasure but also for work.
The first one is an enormous macaron with a very feminine touch despite its size!

For a closer look!

Big and thick as it is, you certainly need a fork and knife to eat it.
As its name indicates, it is perfumed and colored with raspberry extract with the butter and marzipan filling containing real raspberries!
A sin, if there is one!

The second dessert was a combination of Bordeaux and Shizuoka Cuisines!
In the middle you can see the canelé prepared in the true Bordeaux tradtion but it had been hollowed out!

Now, what does it contain?

Shizuoka Honyama Green Tea Matcha ice-cream!
The cannelé had been frozen together with the ice cream!
It was the first time I found myself eating a cannelé with a knife and fork!
And I’m sure to do it again!
A true gastronomic experience!

PISSENLIT

420-0839 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Takajo, 2-3-4
Tel.: 054-270-8768
Fax: 054-627-3868
Business hours: 11:30~14:30; 17:00~22:00
Closed on Tuesdays and Sunday evening
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
E-Mail: pissenlit2008@ybb.ne.jp
Credit Cards OK
Entirely non-smoking!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Shellfish Species 3: Oysters-kaki-牡蠣

Oysters! One would be hard put to find a produce from the sea more internationally recognized as a gourmet’s choice! Moreover, it is the only shellfish you could survive on if you got marrooned on a desert island! It is a complete food in irself if consumed raw.
For a long time (that is before coming to Japan), I had thought that my country, France, was the place to eat them. Well, I must admit it was a little pretentious from me, especially in the light that more than half of the oysters consumed back at home originated from Japan!

Now the Japanese has come with many ways of appreciating them:

As in the picture above they would eat them as sashimi with a dash of wasabi and soy sauce.

-Or just a little lemon juice as in Euope, Americas or Oceania.

-Or in another Japanese fashion, with ponzu and momijioroshi (succulent!)

-Or, and here Japanese and foreigners are simply crazy about them, as “kakifrai”, deep-fried oysters in batter and breadcrumbs with a nice tartare sauce!

-Or finally, and I would recommend the experience to all foreigners, as “kaki-gohan”, either with oysters steamed together with the rice, or cooked apart in light broth poured over a bowl of freshly steamed rice!

Of course, any good sushi restaurants will serve oysters as nigiri or gunkan!

In Japan, oysters come from various areas, mainly Hiroshima, Iwate and so on.
As for Shizuoka Prefecture, oysters mainly come from Hamanako inland salted lake near Hamamatsu City.

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Shellfish Species 2: Scallops-Hotategai-帆立貝

hotategai.jpg

Hotategai/帆立貝, or Scallops, is another worldwide favourite and also a source of dispute caused by illegal poaching, international or domestic.
The season is summer and the shellfish is sometimes called Akitagai/秋田貝, as of Akita Prefecture.
They are caught off Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures.
The domestic production/catch is over 300.000 tonnes a year, while 400 tonnes are imported from China as whole Scallops and 700 tonnes as the muscle part only (“kaibashira/貝柱”). Japanese scallops will be significantly larger than the Chinese.

Of course, they are much appreciated as sashimi, but also as sushi:
HOTATENIGIRI

(pic taken at Sushi Ko in Shizuoka City)

They are also much appreciated cooked/grilled in the shell with just a little shoyu and sake:
HOTAGE-GRILLED

Actually, a good-class sushi restaurant will serve the muscle part as sashimi or sushi, and will serve the rest of the shellfish cooked in light broth inside the shell later!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Masu Ichi Brewery- The Last Bottle? Masu Ichi Honjozo Suruga No Kuni Shida Brewmaster

Masu Ichi Brewery has not been making sake for the past year and will not ever as his owner/masterbrewer Denjirou Masui/増井伝次郎 just passed away at the age of 49 leaving no successor willing to take over the brewery founded in 1882.

Denjirou Masui

Denjirou was his brewer’s name given by his mentor Denbei kawamura, the godfather of Shizuoka Sake and the creator of the Shizuoka sake yeast. He was one of the only three brewers of the Shida School.
His sake is fast disappearing and this particular one is the first of a series of “last bottles” I’m scouring the Prefecture to get my hands on for posterity!

It is a honjozo, meaning that it was blended with water and pure sake alcohol after pressing.
Its name “Suruga no Kuni” means the “Country of Suruga”. Suruga is also the name of the wide bay off Shizuoka Prefecture.

Rice milled down to 60%
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees.
Bottled in March 2012

Clarity: Very clear.
Color: Transparent.
Aroma: Assertive, fruity and dry. Complex. Banana, dark chocolate, vanilla.
Body: fluid, somewhat sirupy.
Taste: A very distinct attack, fruity and dry. Very complex.
Starts almost sweetish to take a very dry turn with a solid and pleasant alcohol backup.
Green apples, nuts.
Disappears fairly quickly while warming up the back of the palate with dry nuts, walnuts and chestnuts finish.
Dark chocolate and coffee beans tend to peek out later.
Changes little with food, although more dryness will appear later.
Marries beautifully with any food.

Overall: A very solid but elegant sake perfect for food, especially izakaya gastronomy and Western meat fare although it is thoroughly enjoyable on its own.
At 60% millage it is simply an extravagant honjozo!
A sake for all seasons, very macho in approach by Shizuoka standards!

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Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Shellfish Species 1: Abalone-Awabi-鮑

AWABI-KURO-2
Kuro Awabi/”Black Abalone

With the weather definitely turning hotter, the first abalones or “awabi” start appearing on the markets.
The Japanese are great connoisseurs and amateurs of abalones, and they do have to import a lot to satisfy their demand!
There are many varieties of different quality avalaible in the markets and restaurants.
Most are eaten raw, especially as sushi on nigiri!

AWABI-KURO-1
Kuro Awabi/”Black Abalone”

As for the main varieties, you can sample expensive Kuro Awabi or “Black Abalones”

AWABI-EZO-1

Another expensive variety is Ezo Awabi/”Ezo Abalone”

AWABI-EZO-2
Ezo Awabi as sushi.

Lesser varieties include:

AWABI-MADAKA-1

Madaka Awabi

AWABI-MADAKA-2

Madaka Awabi as sushi

AWABI-MEGAI-1

Megai Awabi

AWABI-MEGAI-2

Megai Awabi as sushi.

AWABI-VICTORIA-1

Victoria Awabi imported from Australia.

AWABI-VICTORIA-2

Victoria Awabi as sushi.

Do not forget that catching abalones in any place in Japan without a proper license is a severly punished poaching offense!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery