ABOUT

I started Foodies simply to share my impressions of food that I encounterd in Japan and other countries.
I hope to inspire people to savour and enjoy the time they spend preparing and eating food. I also hope to reveal the rich diversity and importance of food within the cultures of different countries. I believe that understanding food and culinary culture of different countries is one of the easiest and fastest ways to know and understand the people. Food is one of the most essential things in the human life and the culinary culture of a country embodies the country’s own history, spirit and joy.
I hope you too can discover and enjoy the different tastes of food from other countries and gain an insight into the people and places it's from.

2013/05/29

'Akage Wagyu (red cattle)'  is getting popular in Japan



Wagyu (literally Japanese cow) refers to several breeds of cattle, the most famous of which is genetically predisposed to intense marbling and to produce a high percentage of oleaginous unsaturated fat.  The meat from Wagyu cattle is well-known for its marbling characteristics and quality, and thus demands a high price.  In some areas of Japan, beef is shipped with area names such as Kobe, Matsuzaka, Ōmi, and Miyazaki beef.
 
(C) Akagewagyu kyokai
These days,  healthy red cattle beef is getting popular due to the fact that black cattle contain lots of fat while the red one does not contain as much as the black one.
However, the supply does not seem to meet its customers’ demands.  That is why they are at the moment trying to increase their production.



 Black cattle are highly evaluated because of its taste, luster, beef color, fat marbling conditions.  
However, red cattle beef is evaluated mainly on how they grow up.  When the cattle are born, they grow up with their mother.
Because of the mother’s milk and stress-free environment, the baby cattle grow healthily strong.
Feeding natural grass and grazing make stress free environment for cattle.

They can get many kind of natural vitamins from grass. We found the red cattle fed by natural grass contain vitamins and unsaturated fatty acid of n-3 origin which is good for your health.  Additionally, the red cattle contains greater amount of UMAMI compared to the black ones.

That is the reason why red cattle beef is more tasty, juicy, tender and of course  healthy.
Try "Akage Wagyu" at the restaurant below. Cattle growing up healthy are good for our health.



 
Victor's (The Westin Tokyo)
Phone: +81 3 5423 7000
Nogizaka Kamiya (Michelin star Japanese restaurant)
Phone: +81 3 3497 0489
CAFE DE ISIS (Jiyugaoka, Tokyo)
Phone: +81 3 3725 4213
 

2013/04/24

The feeling of eating delicious food - Can you explain “delicious”when eating?


What is the most delicious food you have ever eaten in your life?

The beautiful dish at El Bulli, Spain? (Despite its only 45 seats, with its wonderful cuisine, this restaurant receives 2 millions reservation phone calls from people around the world every year!)
Or other cuisine of the 3 star Michelin restaurants? 

Even though, there are many luxurious restaurants in the world, some of you probably say the junk food you had at high school’s cafeteria is the best.  I am sure you know that 3 star Michelin restaurants have better ingredients and techniques, yet, the taste of junk food you had at school tastes way better than that of Michelin Star restaurants.  Why?  Because the junk food reminds you of your good old days back then. 

Why the same food tastes even more delicious when we have it at the beach or beautiful park. Why we love picnic?

When we eat delicious food, we feel so happy.
Nobody is angry when they eat delicious food.
I am exploring the feelings of eating delicious food:  why we feel happy when eating and where the sense of delicious comes from.

Only your tongue involves? No.  The five senses do.  We establish the feeling of delicious in our brain together with our dining experience.  Who we ate with and what we felt in the past are very important.  Because our brain creates delicious feeling from dining experience, we stock in there.  That’s why different people find the taste of the same cuisine differently. 
Therefore, having rich dining experience is very important, and it does not necessarily have to be expensive dish.  Sometimes, our dining memory with our family during childhood makes us very happy. 
Let’s have rich dining experience! 

2012/10/24

Cooking Class for Tourists in Japan

Ururu Kaigo, the Calinary Culture Expert, the Tourist Ambassador for NARA city, will provide a cooking class for International Tourists.

I will teach you some simple and beautiful Japanese local dishes.  At the end of the day, in addition to the nice pictures of Japan trip, you can also bring back home more memorable souvenirs, the food and especially the recipe, which later will remind you of the happy memories you have in Japan even though your trip is finished.

I will also advice and introduce you to the food shop, where you can find delicious Japanese food and seasonings like soy sauce and soup stock to bring back home for friends and family.

For more information about cooking classes, contact me by e-mail or  leave your comment on this blog.

About Ururu Kaigo     → Profile 1
                                           → profile 2

2012/10/05

SUKIYAKI



SUKIYAKI is well known as one of the most famous Japanese cuisine.
SUKIYAKI was born in 19 century. Literally, "SUKI " in Japanese has two meanings; one is a hoe, an ancient agricultural tool, used to move soil.  The other is very thinly-sliced meat or fish that is called "SUKI-MI",

Farmer used to roast fish and tofu on a hoe instead of pan, when they were hungry.  That is the origin of SUKI(a hoe)-YAKI(roast).

As you may know, Japanese didn’t eat beef publicly before 19 century.
Japanese people were prohibited from eating beef in public back then.
Meiji Restoration brought us to globalization,  which allowed Japanese to officially eat beef in public.


When I was a child, SUKIYAKI was a very special cuisine.
Nowadays, unlike before, everyone can afford to eat beef. For example, GYUDON (Beef bowl), consisting of a bowl of rice topped with simmered beef and vegetable, has appeared as Japanese common fast food.

Despite these historical reasons, we still have SUKIYAKI on special occasions. Generally speaking, SUKIYAKI restaurants are expensive and rare.  As such, not many people often go there. To make it more delicious, such branded beef as Matsuzaka, Kobe, Yamagata are used.


There is one more reason that SUKIYAKI is a special cuisine.
Since people do have different tastes and there are various ways of cooking, the person who cooks SUKIYAKI plays a very important role.  For instant, in my family, my grandfather almost never cooked, yet he cooked SUKIYAKI for us because it is his favorite.
And every time he cooked, we the whole family started to have good conversations as we ate and commented the SUKIYAKI he made.


We talked and laughed while eating.  So, to me, having SUKIYAKI at home is the glue to stick all family members.

Warm family conversation will make SUKIYAKI more delicious. That is another reason that makes SUKIYAKI special.
After my grand farther passed away, I have inherited his pan to cook SUKIYAKI.  It does remind me of the happy moments we had years back. 

My grand farther's pan



Photo (above):
SUKIYAKI was born in western region, KANSAI. This is the famous old SUKIYAKI restaurant “KITAMURA” In OSAKA.
Put the slice of beef, sugar, soy sauce, sake, mirin into the pan as your preference and heated.

Photo (above):
This is another famous old restaurant “HON-SEKIGUCHI” in OSAKA.
The atmosphere is classic and beef and vegetable are served in old serving box.

KITAMURA
1-16-27 Higashi-Shinsaibashi Chuou-Ku, OSAKA
TEL +81 6 6245 4129
Map

 HON-SEKIGUCHI
2-2-7 Sennichimae Chuou-Ku, OSAKA
TEL +81 6 6641 2303

2012/04/25

Alkimia - Michelin star restaurant in Barcelona

 liquid pa amb tomàquet with fuet sausage

Alkimia
Industria 79, 08025 Barcelona, Spain
+46 93-207-6115

2012/02/07

Edition Koji Shimomura - Michelin star restaurant in Tokyo


Galantine of rabbit and colorful carrots


Black pappr & Cheese tuiles on the needle point holder for flower arrangement

Poached oysters with seawater jelly flavored with citrus, served wth seaweed
Edition Koji Shimomura

2011/12/31

My Most Visited Blog Post in 2011


KUSHIAGE- The culture and spirit of the sachi is infused into the whole dining experience of Kushiage.

I want to share my most visited blog post in 2011!
My most visited blog post was “KUSHIAGE”.
I was very interested in knowing what my most popular post was in 2011 and seeing what people are actually interested in reading about.
I was also interested in finding that there are many people using search keywords “KUSHIAGE” and “KUSHIAGE Sauce”.

Thank you to all of you who have visited “FOODIES”.
Happy New Year to you!

I wish 2012 will be the happiest and best for you.

2011/11/30

What is luxury travel and ways to enrich your life?


The value of luxury travel will move towards sharing and experiencing cultures, rather than simply knowing about a culture. Also not for spending a lot of money and having expensive dinner at a restaurant or staying in a sweet room of hotel. The luxury of staying in a hotel and eating food is important for great trip, but there’s more to making a travel enjoyable.
It will be focusing even more on the uniqueness of cultures, and offering more personalized experiences.

In the past, traveling was very expensive. So having simply tasted the food from another country, or bringing back goods and pictures from another culture was considered valuable.

However now, everyone is aware of different cultures. I can eat at Japanese restaurants around the world, I can see images and video, or even buy Japanese goods in abroad through the internet, but I can’t experience other cultures unless I visit their countries. You can’t experience Japanese culture unless you visit Japan.


I am a culinary expert so for me experiencing the food of Japan is experiencing the culture of Japan. It’s more than just eating.

Its experiencing the food, where you eat, what you eat, how you eat and with whom you eat. It's the whole experience of dining. From the beauty of the atmosphere, to the presentation and taste of the food, to the awareness of the continuing tradition associated with food.

The history and culture is on the table, in the atmosphere and shared between family and friends.

In Japan for thousands of years, we've eaten at low tables and sat on the floor. We've used chopsticks, and shared meals with family and friends. Today we continue many of these traditions.

Drinking Vessel made by Mushu Yamazaki


400 years ago, a very wealthy and influential Samurai called Maeda lived in Ishikawa prefecture. He began producing small eating bowls in beautiful lacquerware, and started exporting it around Japan. The regional cuisine industry grew and even today Ishikawa prefecture is still well known for producing beautiful lacquerware eating bowls.

Luxury travel is travel that allows people to experience another culture in a rare and meaningful way. It helps us discover and appreciate other cultures as well as our own. When we know what we appreciate and value, we continue to seek these values and experiences because they enrich our lives. Luxury dining is a personalized and pleasurable experience that reflects the unique history, culture and nature of a country.


Some hotels and restaurants are already providing these experiences. For example, in Fall, Hotel Kayoutei in Ishikawa prefecture makes a mushroom dish from wild mushrooms growing on the mountainside, and presents it with the brilliant red maple leaves for which the season is famous.

After dinner, travellers can enjoy a hot spring at an onsen overlooking the same mountainside from which the mushrooms were picked. A combination of personalized service, using local, natural ingredients and enjoying nature makes this experience a luxurious and cultural dining experience. It's difficult to express in words but this experience will enrich your life.

I would like to add, that there is a wonderful selection of Sake which is made of pure water taken from the mountain in Yamanaka onsen, wonderful local rice and with the use of village technology to give birth to this amazing SAKE.

2011/10/31

Pork sauté with SHIITAKE mushroom cream sauce




This is a wonderful sauce using SHIITAKE Mushrooms. If you can't get SHITAKE, you can use other mushrooms instead. This recipe is on the table in four simple steps. Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner.

Ururu's Recipe
Pork sauté with SHIITAKE mushroom cream sauce
Ingredients (2people)
2 slice of Pork, 6 brown mushrooms,  2 SHIITAKE mushrooms,  10 g of butter, nutmeg, salt, pepper, 2 Tbsp of white wine
[sauce] 100cc of fresh cream, 2Tbsp of raisin, 20 cc of white wine, 1/2 ~ 1tsp of coffee sugar (brown) or soft light brown sugar, salt & pepper

Directions
1. Put the nutmeg, salt and pepper onto each pork. Spread a little of white wine over the pork. Thinly slice SHIITAKE and brown mushrooms.
2. Heat the butter (5g) in a large non-stick frying pan. Cook the pork for3-5 minutes on one side until golden brown then turn it over onto the other side for 1-2 minutes and remove the pork from the pan.

3. Add in the rest of butter to the pan and cook the mushrooms for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine, raisin, fresh cream and sugar until syrupy. At the end, add salt & pepper.
4. Return the pork to the pan and warm it up. Place the pork onto the plates and divide the mushroom sauce on top.




SHIITAKE Mushrooms

2011/09/29

SHIITAKE Mushrooms




SHIITAKE is a type of Japanese mushroom. The word comes from Shii tree (Castanopsis cuspidata ). It is generally known in the world by its Japanese name, SHIITAKE. Recently, we can eat SHIITAKE at luxurious restraunts in the wold. SHIITAKE has a wonderful flavor and texture.

Here in Japan, SHIITAKE mushrooms are popular ingredients for Japanese cuisines. However, SHIITAKE has a wide range in price. Some of the famous brand SHIITAKE mushrooms are very expensive. My fovorite mushroom, INOUE SHIITAKE, a famous brand in NARA, is fantastic!

I recommend using an excellent SHIITAKE to make SHIITAKE BURGER.

Enjoy the flavor of SHITAKE mushroom!







2011/08/18

NATTO

NATTO is a traditional Japanese food and is popular especially at breakfast. It is known to be one of the most healthy Japanese food rich in protein and probiotics.

NATTO has a strange look. Although it is a type of bean, it doesn't look like one. (See the photo)

NATTO is made from soy beans which are fermented by NATTO bacillus. This is the reason it looks strange. It has a powerful smell, strong taste and a sticky texture. NATTO is usually served with a bit of soy sauce, long green onions, and a fresh raw egg on top. These ingredients can be mixed together before eating. For me,it is absolutely delicious and topping plenty of NATTO on rice is the best way of eating NATTO.

NATTO is a fascinating food for some people. They say that they can not live without NATTO. However, for some people, NATTO seems to be one of the most awful food in the world. It is the Japanese VEGEMITE!

Because of the strong smell, some people hate NATTO. They say that they can not even stare at NATTO and can’t get close to people who had NATTO. The smell of NATTO will make them crazy. When visiting Japan, if you have a chance you can comment that you like NATTO and you may learn more about Japanese food culture.

Recently, NATTO has spread even to the western part of Japan. The way we eat NATTO has more varieties today. We eat NATTO with bread, pasta, Japanese noodles and so on.

If you would like to try NATTO, I recommend NATTO as a canapé.

Ururu's Recipe
< NATTO & Avocado Canapé >


Ingredients:
NATTO (1 pack), cherry tomato, avocado, vegetable sprout or chives(optional), salt & pepper, Extra Virgin Olive oil, crackers, coriander powder
Method:
1. Slice the avocado and cut the cherry tomato in half.
2. Take the crackers (I used Cracottes) and Spread 1 tsp NATTO, 2~3 slices of avocado, tomato, and garnish with sprout or chives onto each cracker.
3. Add salt & pepper, extra virgin olive oil and coriander powder onto each cracker.




2011/06/27

Japanese pottery : Yae Ito

  “The Galaxy 銀河系”


















Champagne Flutes
シャンパングラス フルート







“Mother Earth 大地”


Japanese pottery: Potter Yae Ito
Photo / flower arrangement: Ururu Kaigo

2011/05/31

Royal Thai Cuisine Restaurant "Benjarong"

Thailand has a variety of colors in its towns and cuisine



We can find a variety of color from many different types of places in Thailand such asGreen (trees), Pink (taxis), Red (temple candles or Satellite TV antennas), Yellow (roofs, doors temple candles, and spices), Gold (Buddha icons and temple roofs), Orange ( the attire of a Buddhist priest) etc. Thai food also has vivid and energetic colors – Green (herbs), Red (chilies, curry paste, prawns, shrimp, watermelon shakes!), Yellow (curry paste) .



(See the photos: from the top : many kinds of curry pastes in the market.)



Thai cuisine uses variety of herbs and spices making it one of the reasons the Thai table is so colorful. Royal Thai Cuisine is wonderful. Thai porcelain, called 'Benjarong' is used as a part of the culinary experience.
The word 'Benjarong,' literally means 'five colors'. The painted decoration usually consists of 3 to 8 colors. So the Thai define their cuisine and heritage by serving the carved vegetables and the fruits together in the Benjarong.




When I talked with Mr. Surasak Kongsawat, the chief chef of the prestigious royal Thai cuisine restaurant (Frequented by the Royal family), " Benjarong" at Hotel Dusit Thani Bangkok, he said, "Thai cuisine is not only hot but also a delicate cuisine." The beautifully decorated cuisine with colorful carving vegetables and fruit - This is the Royal Thai Cuisine.

(photo: look at beautiful yellow roses made from carrots!)


Both Thai and Japanese people love noodles very much. I enjoy combining Thai and Japanese cuisine - Thai green curry and the Japanese thin noodle SOMEN. The SOMEN noodle is very versatile and can be just as good with curry as rice.



Ururu's Recipe

1. Boil SOMEN until cooked. (about 3 minutes) 2. Prepare Thai green curry using paste. 3. Serve the noodles in bowls with this curry and ENJOY!

for your reference: photos of Thailand photos of Thailand 2
Thailand has a variety of colors in its towns and cuisine (Japanese vergion)