June 01, 2004



I had heard enough about Japanese eating horse meat so when I went to Japan during X'mas of 2003, I was determined to find a restaurant where I could try it. Luckily, we were able to find a "回転寿司" (kaitenzushi) in the "上野" (ueno) area which served horse meat sashimi "馬刺し" (basashi) at a very affordable price - 120 Yen for a serving of two pieces! What a good deal! There were lots of ginger and green onion on top of the sushi. I fell in love with the taste of it right away and had several plates in no time. I can tell you if you like raw beef, I guarantee you'll like raw horse meat also. The texture is even more tender!

If you feel uncomfortable eating raw meat, there are restaurants in Japan that serve horse meat cooked in "鍋物" (nabemono) too. It is a hot pot with the meat and vegetables boil in a delicious soup base. We found a restaurant specializes in that but it was a little bit at the high-end. Maybe next time when I go again!

May 30, 2004



We were invited to a friend's birthday party yesterday and got to try different "日本酒" (nihonshu), Japanese sake, from different regions of Japan. One of them was a big bottle of sake with tiny gold flakes inside. Sounds expensive, doesn't it? The taste was quite mild but I couldn't really tell if there is any gold flavor. I guess it is more like for visual appeal than adding flavor to the sake itself. The other bottles were from "島根" (shimane) and "徳島" (tokushima) regions which had much stronger taste than the gold-flakes one. I like them all though.

Of course, the classic Japanese plum wine was also available - "梅酒" (umeshu). It is quite sweet if taken straight but adding a lot of ice or water makes it a very refreshing drink and is no doubt one of my favorite Japanese drinks. Incidentally, Kristen made a step-by-step video of preparing home-made umeshu. Great! I am sure I will try it at home myself one day too!

There is a tradition of pouring alcohol for the other person called "お酌" (oshaku). This little ritual shows respect and affection for the receiver of the drink and happens everywhere in Japan especially in business situations. So we were doing "お酌" (oshaku) with each other during the party and I felt pampered for being served and at the same time it was an honor for me to serve my friends too!

May 25, 2004


Maguro"ねぎとろ丼" (negitorodon) means green onion and raw tuna fish over a bowl of rice. Like a lot of other Japanese cuisines, this is an extremely easy recipe with no cooking required except for boiling the rice. The Mitsuwa close to where we live is having a sale on minced raw tuna today so we rushed there to grab a couple of packages. Minced raw tuna is usually cheaper than the nicely cut sashimi because it is made from the odd-shaped bits of meat that cannot be sold as sashimi. However, the quality is just as good I think.

Serving for one person:
1 package of minced raw tuna from Japanese grocery store (Wasabi included)
All-you-can-eat green onion, diced
All-you-can-eat "Nori" seaweed, diced
All-you-can-eat warm rice

Mix minced raw tuna with green onion and nori seaweed. Pour over rice. Top with wasabi and sprinkle with soy souce.

Japanese cooking is indeed a simple art!