Most of the Japanese food that was on our list of things to eat were things that I’d had before. Even made before: okonomiyaki, onigiris, udon, soba, tempura, tonkatsu, katsu kare, ramen. I was looking forward to trying it out in its native habitat.
But in addition to those stand-bys there were some new things: tako-yaki, shabu-shabu, black sesame ice cream. And lots and lots of Japanese pastries — which we had for breakfast nearly every day — and drinks (like Pocari Sweat).
Favorites included the kare (curry) ramen we had on Sado Island. The cute little ba-chan that made it for us after we spent several hours biking around in the rain totally made my day. She and her cute husband (who made the same thing for me again the next day) made me feel like if we moved there, we’d have family.
I also liked the okonomiyaki. I make it at home all the time, but it was so much different in Japan. So many different toppings! Ginger! Noodles! Corn! But the Bulldog sauce and mayo were the same. Also: mayo and Bulldog on the tako-yaki too. Excellent.
I’m a big fan of the melon-pan pastries. I had a melon-flavored melon-pan, filled with melon curd and whipped cream. And another with chocolate chips. I may be looking into making those at home.
The shabu-shabu was fun. Thin strips of raw meat delivered to our table where we swished it in boiling liquid for a few seconds until it was cooked. So fun. Especially since we didn’t necessarily know what we were doing. It was an adventure.
And the udon made me think that I need to learn that better. Good udon is . . . really good.
We could have passed on the sesame ice cream, and I did have a rather odd “salad” at some hole-in-the-wall in Nagoya. It had cold noodles and ice in it. Very odd.
Oh, and though they were both not-fantastic, there were a couple of fish-y things that were fun to look at: a fish-shaped corn cake filled with pastry cream, and topped with bananas and chocolate, and a funny looking fish “cookie” with anko (sweet red bean paste).
(Anxiously awaiting my first bowl of real ramen in Japan.)