Sumo hotpot and other Japanese delicacies

28 Jul

One of the things that I wanted to experience in Japan was the food.  The Japanese are known for being the ultimate foodies – from the perfect tuna sashimi to the strange watermelons that are square shaped so they can fit in the refrigerator.  Both the appearance and the taste are equally important, which results in beautiful, tasty treats.  I am happy to report that during my trip to Japan – the food did not disappoint.

I managed to experience a wide range of different foods during my short visit, including the one that is in the title of this post – sumo hotpot!

Sumo hotpot

Sumo hotpot

We found our way to a small restaurant after following very confusing directions from one of my colleagues and the restaurant didn’t disappoint.  The restaurant had a sumo theme – and one individual hot pot was enough for the two of us to have dinner, so perhaps it also refers to the portion size.  The staff was welcoming and when we left, they presented us with a program to one of the recent sumo matches.  The characters were so small it was impossible for me to make them out – but it was a very interesting snapshot into a part of a culture that I don’t understand.

Everything has its place.  We gobbled it up!

Everything has its place. We gobbled it up!

Less esoteric, but still a lot of fun was the bento boxes that we purchased for a picnic one day.  Each element of the bento is chosen for its beauty as well as taste and there are tricks to fool the eye as well.  For example – the “egg yolk” in this bento was actually a water chestnut that had been soaked in dye to turn it yellow.

Another sweet treat that was unexpected was that the landlady of the apartment we were staying in left a small gift of two sticky rice treats for us.  She told us they were from one of the oldest specialty stores in Tokyo.  Japanese sweets are not too sweet and these just hit the spot – both for the eyes and the stomach!

Sticky rice sweets - freshly made

Sticky rice sweets – freshly made

Finally – as a bit of a tribute to the wacky vending machines that are on every Japanese street corner, I snapped this photo of one that I found in the subway station.  Anyone need a banana?

The healthiest vending machine I have ever seen

The healthiest vending machine I have ever seen

Of course we ate the traditional Japanese foods as well – we had tempura in a small shop, I ate ramen and yakitori and a beef with rice bowl around a counter that reminded me of a small diner.  I had sushi (of course) and went to the ubiquitous 7-11 and tried their snacks.  It was all there.  If you go to Japan – eat and eat and eat!

Where have you gone where the food has drawn you in?  Which of these delicacies would you most like to try?

As a final word – my last meal in Japan was at the airport.  I ordered a traditional Japanese breakfast – Salmon with salmon roe over rice and miso soup.  It was delicious.  When can I go back?

The miso soup is in the teapot then you pour it over the rice and salmon.  Very healthy and very delicious!

The miso soup is in the teapot then you pour it over the rice and salmon. Very healthy and very delicious!

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5 Responses to “Sumo hotpot and other Japanese delicacies”

  1. expatlingo July 28, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    Looks great and I love the fresh fruit vending machine. Great idea actually.

    • gkm2011 July 28, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

      I think we will see more of these in the future. I have also seen a fresh squeezed orange juice vending machine in Shanghai. Haven’t seen any of them in the US though.

  2. ladyofthecakes July 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm #

    Drooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool…..

  3. sarahinguangzhou July 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    my overriding memory of food in Tokyo was the plastic replicas,so you could just point at the replica of the food you wanted to try. Food was always great but the tea annoyed me (I really hate tea and needed to learn to say ‘no tea’ in Japanese)

    • gkm2011 July 29, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

      Yes, those are really helpful, makes the menus much less scary. Sorry you don’t care for tea!

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