Tiffy's Stay in Japan
Near Fushimi Station
This year summer, I was able to climb Mt. Fuji with six other fellow exchange students. So to earn more money to sustain my love of traveling and eating, I tutor English part time for an average rate of ¥2,000 an hour. One of my students is a guy named Kenji, whose son and wife is being taught English by Rachel, an exchange student from Canada. Before I left for Shizuoka prefecture and then for Tokyo, he planned a dinner get together with Sakiko, this Japanese girl that we met when we had one of our lessons.
Kenji told me that since Japanese people around 40 need to eat healthier, they go to this traditional Japanese restaurants that serve food made from soy beans -- tofu and the like.
To start our meal, they served three kinds of food:
Mineoka Tofu, a tofu-like food made from milk, fresh cream, and arrowroot starch. It tasted more like a dessert rather than an appetizer. It had the mild taste of soy milk (it actually reminded me of the 45%-less-calorie soy milk that I bought in Tokyo) with a sort of jelly consistency.
Ohitashi, boiled green vegetable seasoned with soy sauce and fish stock. I liked it because it's crunchy and it had a slightly sweet-tasting sauce.
Yubani, cold boiled yuba. Yuba is a delicacy composed of fresh or dried layers of the skin of soybean milk. Its consistency kind of reminded me of the layer of skin inside the egg after the hard shell (did that make sense? :o).
Meibutsu Tofu Shuumai is a Chinese-style dumpling made with tofu. This one made me miss dumpling. It has a milder flavor than the dumplings that I'm used to eating but it made me miss dumplings all the same.
Chawan-mushi is one of my favorite food! It's steamed egg custard, and this one contained shrimp, mushrooms, dumpling, and ginkgo nut. I'm not sure I liked ginkgo nut. Tastes familiar -- I probably know it by a different name.
Oshinogi is lotus root dumplings topped with fish stock sauce. I'm not sure if I like this one. It was... sticky. I really liked how it was a little sweet though. By this time, I was a bit full. But I'm not complaining -- good food can be had.
Namafu Dengaku is deep-fried wheat-gluten coated with miso paste. Now this one's really sticky. Not watery-sticky like the oshinogi, but more chewy-sticky. I wanted this to be dessert-like -- really sweet. But it wasn't. It had a slight salty taste to it.
Yuba Age is deep-fried yuba roll with ground whitefish. Now let me be frank. I don't know what the hell whitefish is but this dish reminds me of squidball except it's made of fish. We used to add those fish cubes in our shabu-shabu. But this one is nice too! They even gave us lemon and lemon squeezers! Lemon squeezers! To squeeze lemons! Can you believe that?
Yuba Gratan is gratin. And from what I understand, it's probably tofu skin topped with cheese and egg and butter. YUM. I love all things caloric. I couldn't really taste the tofu in this. It tasted really... cheesy!
Yuba Suimono is clear soup with yuba. That's the only description it has. Pretty straightforward. Sooooo many dishes, soooooooo little time!
Han-mono is savory steamed glutinous rice. And let me tell you, I didn't really like this. It didn't really have a lot of taste. And I don't like eating rice without any flavor and any meat or veggie or fish alongside it. Phooey. And the only food around was the yuba suimono and kō-no-mono. And although kō-no-mono is made of vegetables, I didn't like it. Too... tasteless.
Kō-no-mono is Japanese pickled vegetables. As I've said, I didn't like it. Maybe I've taken to Korean kimchi too much. I loooooooove kimchi. And this doesn't taste pickled. When I think pickled, I think sour. Maybe I'm too ignorant when it comes to food! Ironic, isn't it?
And my favorite part...
You have two choices. Lemon sherbet or tofu something ice cream -- I didn't really catch the name. The lemon thing is sour (duh), and the tofu thing is sweet. I like!