Category Archives: wasabi

Shizuoka Shochu Tasting: Wasabi Shu by Bandai Brewery

It has been quite some time since I enjoyed the only true shochu made with wasabi in Japan, namely Wasabi Shu (can also be pronounced “Wasabi sake”)!

it is made by the only sake brewery/shochu distillery in Izu Peninsula in Shuzenji, Izu City!

Although made with rice shochu and wasabi essence it is sold as a liqueur for various lawful reasons!

Classified as liqueur in Japan
Rice white lees shochu, wasabi essence (20%)
Single distilling method
Alcohol: 20 degrees

Clarity: very clear
Color: transparent
Aroma: dry and fruity. mild wasabi
Body: very fluid
Taste: dry and fruity attack.
Soft and mild wasabi
Lingers for quite a while on the palate with more soft wasabi and rice spreading over the palate.
Changes little with food if for a drier turn.

Overall: A rare, elegant and intriguing shochu!
The rare kind that even ladies would drink straight at any time of an evening or of a celebration.
Thoroughly enjoyable at any temperature or on the rocks, although best on its own.
Probably best enjoyed on its own as a nightcap but will go with any Japanese food, especially sashimi and light vegetables dishes.
Will do very with asparaguses and oysters in Western gastronomy!
A splendid gift to offer anywhere in Japan and overseas!

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So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
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Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

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Home-made Wasabi Zuke with Asami Itoh of Marufuku Tea Factory in Shizuoka Ciy!

The other day my good friend, Miss Asami Ittoh invited me in the company of 7 more guests to make wasabi zuke according to traditional recipe at her company, Marufuku Tea factory Co. Ltd in Shizuoka City!
Wasabi zuke literally means “pickled wasabi” and it is a typical agricultural product of Shizuoka Prefecture, and particularly Shizuoka City, the birthplace of wasabi in Japan!
Wasabi Zuke might be common in Shizuoka but I can assure you it is a rare and expensive delicacy away from our region!

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Maruku Tea factory in Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City!

For that particular session all products were either from Shizuoka or made in Japan!
The fresh wasabi roots and stems were cultivated in the mountains along the Abe River in Shizuoka City, the sake kasu/sake white lees came from directly from a sake brewery in Shizuoka Prefecture. The salt, brown cane sugar and the mirin/sweet sake were all made in Japan!

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The wasabi and the sake kasu/sake white lees!

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All the ingredients for 8 people!

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Fresh and clean wasabi roots.
They were of very good quality but cheaper (by Shizuoka standards) due to their inferior shape!

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The fresh wasabi stems!

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Unprocessed sea salt and top class sugar cane sugar!

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The mirin/sweet sake!

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All the ingredients with the sake kasu (softened) included.

Each member was allotted the following for the recipe:

Fresh wasabi root: 375 g
Wasai stems and small leaves: 375 g
Sake kasu/Sake white lees: 500 g
Salt: 37 g
Sugar:: 100=120 g
Mirin/sweet sake: optional

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Making sure that everybody understood the proportions!

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Weighing up everyone’s share!

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First chopping the wasabi stems!

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My share of wasabi roots!

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We were soon all in tears chopping away the wasabi roots!

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First chopping!

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Second chopping!

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Third chopping!
The roots have to hand-chopped finely to obtain maximum piquancy!
A machine would not do a good job, it is all slow food!

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Mixing the chopped stems and roots, adding the salt, mix well and lest rest for 20 minutes!

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A well-earned rest!

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Pressing out by hand as much of the excess water as possible!

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Softened sake kasu/sake white lees!
If you use unprocessed sake kasu, you will have to soften it by kneading it or user a beater!

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Adding the sake kasu!

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Adding the sugar!

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Mixing the whole by hand until you obtain a smooth paste!
Taste and add mirin/sweet sake if necessary!
I didn’t!

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Filling small boxes to take back home!
We had 1.2 kg of it each!
Note that is greener than the comparatively cheap variety you will find in shops downtown!
Simply extravagant!
I dare not imagine the price even in Shizuoka!

To be eaten over freshly steamed white rice, with baked poultry, sausages and even hot on toasts!

Marufuku Tea Factory (Owner: Ms. Asami Itoh/伊藤麻実さん)
420-0006 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu, Cho, 25
Tel.: 054-271-2011
Fax: 054-271-2010
Mobile: 090-3250-4188

CHA-O (Director, Ms. Asami Itoh/伊藤麻実さん)
420-0006 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu Cho, 94
Tel: 054-253-8421
Fax: 054-253-8413
HOMEPAGE

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So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
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Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Japanese Appetizer (O-toushi/お通し): Sakura Ebi/Cherry Shrimps & Pickled Wasabi Stems!

O-toushi/お通しis actually a bit difficult to translate.
In a Japanese (in Japan) izakaya it is an appetizer that is served with the first drink and that you pay for in general in lieu of a cover charge.
I have nothing against such a notion as it gives you a good idea of the chef’s skills!

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The sakura ebi/cherry shrimps season in Shizuoka Prefecture has just started, but they are stil few in and between, so when we can find some, we just grab them!

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Wasabi is in season all year, but this is a time of the year when we can easily get their fresh stems here in Shizuoka!
Since the stems, leaves and flowers are even more beneficial to the human body than the roots, it is one more item we grab as soon as we can see it!

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A little light soy sauce is enough to season the sakura ebi. A little grated ginger and finely chopped scallions will complete well enough the seasoning!

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If you can get fresh wasabi stems, just cut them in small pieces and pickle them in rice vinegar!

A simple, but beautiful combination, very healthy and so tasty!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
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, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 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, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Soba/Buckwheat Noodles and Wasabi Leaf Tempura at Utsurogi, Utogi, Shizuoka City, the Birthplace of Wasabi!

Service: Very kind and friendly
Equipment & Facilities: Overall very clean. Rustic but clean washroom
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Country gastronomy including the freshest wasabi in the world!

The other day I visited Utogi up the Abe River in Shizuoka City in the company of Alexandra Combe, a French journalist in France and Dominique Corby/Chef and owner of French Kappo Dominique Corby, a superlative Restauarnt in Tokyo to interview Yuuma Mochizuki, a local wasabi farmer.

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We spent the whole morning shooting pictures of the wasabi fields owned by Maru Ichi Co., whose Yuma Mochizuki (30) is the 13th generation.
All the fields are exclusively watered with the help of torrents rushing down the mountain, meaning an ecological and organic cultivation!

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Wasabi fields forever!Although some of the fields are as old as 400 years, they are still protected by their original stone walls!

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It is the best season to admire them for one important detail! Can you guess?

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Wasabi Flowers!
Did you know that the leaves and the flowers of the wasabi are even more beneficial to the human body than the wasabi roots? You can eat them either fresh, with miso or else, pickled, fired and in tempura! Absolutely succulent!

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Dominique Corby, Alexandra Combe and Yuma Mochizuki tasting some of the wasabi that were elected the best in Japan last year for the second time in three years! Note the traditional shark skin grater!

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The monument stating Utogi as the birthplace of wasabi cultivation!

We decided to have lunch at the only, but famous, local restaurant before proceeding with the rest of the interview!

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Utsurogi, a rustic but very busy restaurant! Tiny and quaint, but so authentic!

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You place your orders to a kitchen-like counter! Don’t worry if you don’t speak Japanese, the staff are used to all kinds of tourists and they will manage to get their message through!

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Have a good look at the local products on sale! Either fresh or processed, they make for very original souvenirs!

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Having ordered your meal beforehand, walk along the rushing torrent and choose a seat either outside or inside! You’ll see wasabi fields under their vinyl protection right acroos the torrents!

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Great scenery to be caught there! A tiny Japanese garden!

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This is the lunch we had ordered inside the front shop where they hang photos of all the meals proposed!
At 800 yen, less than 8 Us $, less than 6 Euros, a true bargain! And so fresh and authentic!

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Our lunch! can you figure out what we had/

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The excellent “8 wari”/80% buckwheat flour soba/buckwheat noodles! They are boiled and then washed in cold clean natural water before being served with different seasonings!

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Local Utogi-grown wasabi stem pickles, and freshly grated wasabi and chopped scallions with your soba dressing/dip! Yo will not find such fresh wasabi products away from Shizuoka Prefecture!

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The tempura including sweet potato, onion and carrot “kakiage”/mixed tempura, shiitake and wasabi leaf!

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The fresh wasabi leaf from a nearby field!
You will not find that quality and freshness elsewhere!
Note the local matcha tea powder for tempura seasoning!
The local wasabi farmers also grow superb green tea!

The ultimate trip to discover wasabi!

UTSUROGI/うつろぎ
421-2303 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Utogi, 280-1
Tel./Fax: 054-298-2900Opening hours: 10:00~15:00, 09:00~16:00 on weekends and National Holidays
Closed beginning and middle of May due to First Green Tea Harvest, End & Begginning of the Year Holidays
Call beforehand!
HOMEPAGE</strong> (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pie
rre.Cuisine
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Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Wasabi Grower: Masahiro Sugiyama/杉山昌弘 in Umegashima, Shizuoka City!

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Masahiro Sugiyama/杉山正浩!

Shizuoka City, in Utogi for that matter, is the birthplace of wasabi. But the city itself is very large, the second largest city in Japan, area wise, and wasabi is grown in many other spots along the Abe River in particular.

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my chef friends and I had to drive a long way up as proved by the snow still clinging to the mountains in the background. Actually these mountains are still part of Shizuoka City!

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This is still much rural traditional Japan as typified by the Sugiyamas’family farmhouse!

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It still took us one more mire to meet Masahiro’s family busy harvesting wasabi in their fields at 600 meter-altitude!
As Masahiro is the third generation as far as wasabi is concerned (he also grows tea, shiitake, konyaku roots and so on) you can see the second generation represented by his parents and the 4th generation in the person of his daughter still studying at Agricultural University in Hokkaido!

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The wasabi fields which have to be protected from monkeys, wild boars, deer and other pests!

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These wasabi which take about 12 to 18 months to grow from seedlings are almost ready for harvest which is conducted all year round.

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Wasabi seedling

Wasabi culture is organic when sawa wasabi/fresh running water wasabi is concerned.
Masahiro, for better protection against disease and insects prefers to buy his seedlings from a nearby grower than to make his own seedlings.

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Uprooting and cleaning the fresh wasabi.

Wasabi culture is a tough job daily conducted whatever the temperature although the water has a constant temperature between 12 and 16 degrees all year round.

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Seedlings recently replanted.

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The wasabi fields water is directly pumped from the Abe River flowing along.

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We are not far from the source of the Abe River and the water here is pure and untouched!

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But for the wasabi fields this is wild country here!

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If it were not for the blue tents you wouldn’t know that agriculture is conducted there!
I can assure you that all protection is needed as we discovered whole groups of monkeys prowling nearby!

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Only a single narrow road, recently paved, gives access!

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It is still winter up there!

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Those “steps/dams” were built a long time ago and they don’t interfere with the purity of the water.

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Not only the roots of these wasabi but also the leaves and stems are very popular with the local chefs who order directly from Masahiro Sugiyama according to their own specifications!

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Another big crop of the precious vegetable!

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Ready to to the farmhouse!

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For a clsoder look!

These will be cleaned and separated in roots, stems and leaves and even flowers which are all edible!

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Now this was a great discovery: wild cress growing in the same water!
We all took batches back home! So sweet and crunchy! You will find such at supermarkets!

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More hard work back at the farm where all the roots, stems, leaves and flowers have to be separated, cleaned and packed for immediate delivery!

No wonder these beauties fetch such a price (mind you, they are comparatively cheap here!)!

SUGIYAMA NOEN/SUGIYAMA FARM
Masahiro Sugiyama, Wasabi Grower
421-2301 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Umegashima, 5504
Tel.: 054-269-2420
Fax: 054-269-2450
Mobile: 090-8376-3854
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
E-mail: kanesima@grape.piala.or.jp

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), 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, 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, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, 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!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

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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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 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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Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, 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, My Bento Box, 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