Japan - Spring visit

#1

Took the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Shizuoka.

A bit tired after our early start from Taipei, we were ready for some good drinks and some good eats (in that order). Checked into our hotel and walked to the nearest Izakaya that looked good, 20 meters away.

Sumimasen!! Two highballs. The obligatory Otoshi.

Great Spring Veggie Tempura. All good, highlights were Fiddlehead, Artichoke Heart, Shizo and Leek.

Sashimi. Of course.

With Fresh Wasabi, a specialty of the region.

Real Chicken Knees. Not soft bone.

Horse Sashimi. Very nice version.

Grilled Smelt and Dried Aka Mackerel. Not my favorite. Wife very willingly helped with my share.

Sakura Shrimp Kamameshi. Cooked from scratch at table. Rice was deliciously perfumed with shrimp umami. A touch of Socarrat.

Grilled Beef Tongue!! Maybe tonight. With nighttime temps in the 30’s, nice to have great food within crawling distance. I suspect we may become “regulars”.

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#2

Love Shizuoka. I had basashi there, too.

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#3

In Japanese, the term is “okoge.”

Overall, I think people are divided on it (it’s thrown away in other applications) but you always see it with kamameshi, due to how the rice is cooked together with other ingredients (not simply mixed). The skill in cooking this comes down in part to 1) proportions (which affects proper moisture, in particular) and 2) timing, of course, for proper texture of both the rice and its toppings, but okoge is a natural byproduct and not a bad thing here.

I like it, 1) especially with unagi and some genmaicha or hojicha, And 2) because I like the dishes which use scorched rice in other cuisines (Cantonese, Korean, Persian, Spanish).

Sakuraebi kamameshi is very much a springtime dish as it’s served around the Sakura festival.

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