The Mint Shop

The Mint Shop

Monday, 11 November 2013

Snacking in Japan

Before our son would have become too mobile and restless my husband and I wisely decided to come up with a list of places we wanted to visit. Japan was one of these. In our minds it has always been a country of many contrasts, a world apart on many things, and a place where old and new not only meet but at times clash and melt.

The contrast between Tokyo and the countryside is remarkable. From over-crowded roads where people run under the light of adverts and neon packed between multi storey buldings the eye go to peaceful countrysides dotted with modest squared houses sorrounded by small gardens. Japanese people don't like to show off, on the contrary, modesty is probably the word that describes them at best in my opinion.

Everyone is very courteous and if stopped on the street for indications they will resort to anything to help you - once a tired after office hours business man questioned its phone, rang his friend, and stopped several passers-by so that we could find our restaurant! However, if their help is not sought, they won't intervene to assist as it would be considered as an intrusion. Interesting.

Culture is of course reflected in food too. Everything is done with care, attention, and beauty underlines everything. We just loved the way food was presented - even the simplest dish would be displayed with love and great attention to details and a mere biscuit would take a colourful and artful look with pretty papers and labels. One almost feels sorry to open it! (....but we did!)

 Snacks are everywhere even though Japanese tend not to eat on the street (or drink). They rather prefer sit down, chop-stick a few bites while sipping a hot tea or cold beer, and then be back on the road again. I wonder whether they eat in the car...something to research next time we go.

A very tasty snack we had one afternoon sitting in the sun with one of the oldest Tokyo temples behind our backs was fried squid and teryaki chicken skewers. The squid was cut into strips, seasoned, and coated in Panko breadcrumbs before being lightly dip fried. The chicken was sauteed in a sauce of dark soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, and ginger. The result was exquisite.

Refueled with energy and a smile on our face we could do nothing but simply strolling along roads lined up with cherry trees and brighten up by cheerful girls. But more on sakura or cherry-blossom season on my next post!

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