Hi all! This post is about food – I’m gonna get all my food pics out of my system. XD The selection in the grocery stores here is certainly different. So many kinds of tofu, and seafood, even in tiny stores! Other staples I usually eat are hard to find; kale is completely absent right now, and cheese is very limited.
Japanese curry and prawns were my first meal in Japan, in the ridiculously expensive hotel restaurant. Japanese curry is delicious, but completely different from Thai or Indian curry. It’s more like a stew or a gravy, and not spicy at all (Edit: sometimes!). You’re supposed to eat curry rice (as it’s called here) with a spoon – the curry makes the rice too difficult to pick up with chopsticks! Pickles are served on the side of many Japanese dishes – I was surprised to get pickles with my curry, but the combination was delicious!
For my second meal, I sought out a less expensive option, in a little Italian cafe nearby. I ordered an anchovy pizza and some blood orange juice, one of the more frugal options, and when it arrived I had another surprise; there was no cheese!
Object lesson #1: when traveling abroad, take nothing for granted. It was tasty all the same, and the waitress brought me some pepper-infused olive oil to dip it in, which was lovely.
In the morning, before taking the train into Kyoto prefecture, I had breakfast at a fast-food place. For about $3, I got tea, water, fish, rice, miso, porridge, nori, and veggies in a vinegar dressing. Perfect for making little sushi bites. That’s my kind of fast food!
My first full day in Wazuka, I helped out at a booth at the local farmer’s market. We served matcha crepes and matcha lattes – I didn’t get a picture of our neatly made crepes, just one of the practice ones, but trust me that it tasted just as good.
After a while, I mustered my Japanese skills, and managed to chat with the local aunties. When I asked the lady selling mochi, dango, and other sweets next to us what her hobbies were, she said she likes to sing in a choir–especially Amazing Grace. She spoke almost no English beyond “hello,” but she started to hum the tune, and we sang the first verse together… she knew all the words! Then we sung bits of a couple Japanese folk songs I’ve heard.
The lady selling daikon and pickles across the way was pretty amused. Later on, I picked up a container of pickles from her to take home… daikon in some sort of soy sauce base, I believe. Delicious! I’ve been eating them on everything, but they’re especially tasty on a block of cold silken tofu, with a drizzle of teriyaki sauce (which was also from the market, and made locally).
In Wazuka I’ve mostly been cooking at home, experimenting with the ingredients available. This bok choy dish with anchovies, onion, and garlic was delicious – not everything’s turned out so well!
Take No Ko, the restaurant down the street, has a variety of delicious options from udon to sweet red bean soup to curry rice. One of my favorites is the cha soba, noodles made of cooking matcha in broth with fish cake, little puffy rice cakes, and fried tofu. Everything is served with houjicha, roasted green tea, which is sweet and toasty and warms you up on a cold day.
Now that I’ve made everyone hungry, I’m off to cook dinner!