Funky Fish Sauces

Funky Fish Sauces

Fermented Fish Sauce 魚醤 Fermented fish sauces can be found in many parts of the world, most having been produced for thousands of years. It is unclear whether each was an independent “discovery” or whether they influenced each other by way of shared...
Miso Soup

Miso Soup

An Honorable Bowl of Soup The Japanese have several words to describe their ubiquitous soup seasoned and enriched with miso. The prosaic miso shiru 味噌汁 is a generic word meaning “miso-thickened broth” while miso ji-daté 味噌仕立て is a functional, culinary term...
Kumquats

Kumquats

Kumquats are called kinkan 金柑 in Japanese, meaning “golden citrus.”  The fruit is native to south-east China where they have been cultivated for hundreds of years, though the scientific name is Citrus japonica. There are dozens of varities of kumquats but...
JAPAN’S POTATO LINGO & LORE:

JAPAN’S POTATO LINGO & LORE:

In Japan today, two types of Western-style potatoes are regularly enjoyed: mékuin (May Queen) and danshaku (“Baron”). The former was developed in Great Britain at the beginning of the 20th century and made its way to Japan via America shortly thereafter....
TONBURI: Caviar of the Fields

TONBURI: Caviar of the Fields

The Japanese eat a number of “unusual” foods, and TONBURI (とんぶり) surely qualifies as one of them. Tonburi are the seeds of Kochia scoparia/Bassia scoparia,  also known as 箒草 hōki-gusa. Branches of the mature kochia plant are crafted into hōki brooms (yes,...
Kakashi Guarding the Fields

Kakashi Guarding the Fields

Farmers around the world deploy “scarecrows” to guard their crops from undesirable flying, crawling, and burrowing creatures. Japan’s kakashi 案山子 scarecrows that stand guard over rice fields tend to be more whimsical than frightening figures. Above, rice fields in...