Japan is amazing. After a memorable visit to Osaka, I have been back a number of times—twice to Tokyo, Fukuoka and the Chugoku region, the southernmost tip of Japan.
We were blessed to do a special Japan feature on our TV show “Foodprints.” Our main focus was food but along the way, we discovered a lot more—the discipline, beauty, order, superiority of products.
But most of all, we loved the never-ending surprises in presentation, creativity and taste of Japanese cuisine.
Apart from the grilled oysters we had at Shimada Suisan Oyster House, the Anago Meshi at Ueno, the Okonomiyaki of Koshida and the Szechuan Sesame noodles or Dandanmian of Musashibo—all located in Hiroshima—we visited many other dining places.
Irori Sanzoku is a restaurant hidden in the mountains of the Yamaguchi prefecture. This place specializes in a teriyaki-style grilled chicken served with musubi or rice ball. The chicken has crispy skin. Meat is smoky and juicy and goes very well with the rice ball.
The gigantic rice ball is wrapped in Japanese nori (seaweed) with a filling of pickled vegetable. What a perfect combination.
Fresh buckwheat noodles
Another place we visited was Izumo Soba which makes fresh buckwheat noodles. We learned how to make noodles from scratch.
The taste was far superior than what we have experienced in the past. There were two kinds—one was served chilled like most of us know it, and another was presented with hot duck broth. We preferred the first one. Delicious!
We also went to a fresh seafood restaurant which served a “fall-off-the-bone” sea bass-like fish. This came after a platter of fresh sashimi.
We went to a rest place where we saw and learned how to make wagashi or the Japanese traditional confectionery that tastes like marzipan. Our teacher, Mr. Itami, is considered a Japanese treasure. His work will make your jaw drop because of its intricacy and beauty.
At Kurayoshi in the Tottori prefecture, we also tried a delicious ramen made from ox bone broth. This was a new take on the common ramen which normally uses pork broth. Also delicious!
We had fantastic Matsuba crabs with incredible sake pairings. Crabs were prepared in various ways—sashimi, sushi, boiled, tempura, etc. They were the best-tasting crabs that ever entered our mouth.
Ryokan Kurashiki is in Kurashiki City, Okayama prefecture. Here, we not only had the most beautiful traditional Japanese room, we also had a taste of one of the best Japanese meals and breakfasts ever. The quality of the rice, which is important to Japanese meals, was outstanding.
Ms Nakamura, the charming general manager of the inn, explained each course to us including our sister Nina. With the meal, we had bottles of superior sake. Wow!
A gigantic live octopus was sliced in front of us and served as sashimi. Very interesting. We tried the juiciest and sweetest pears, grapes and gigantic peaches. Fantastic!
For the final meal of our taping, we tried Superior Chiya beef. These cubes of beef cooked teppanyaki-style simply melts in your mouth. The place is called Chiya Beef Teppan Grill Iroha.
You must include this in your bucket list. Super-duper crazy sarap! We have tried many superior Japanese beef in the past, yet nothing comes close to this.
We dream about these places and wish to someday bring the whole family to experience what we did. What a blessing to have a job like this. Thank you, Lord!
Visit sandydaza.blogspot.com; follow @sandydaza on Twitter.