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.


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.


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.


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

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


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!



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 >

NATTO (1 pack), cherry tomato, avocado, vegetable sprout or chives(optional), salt & pepper, Extra Virgin Olive oil, crackers, coriander powder
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.


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


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)


GOPAN - Rice Bread Cooker

Most Japanese use rice cookers called SUIHANKI. Most modern rice cookers have many features like a timer, pressure & steam settings, high heating efficiency iron pots etc. The price is quite wide, from ¥10,000 to over ¥100,000. Young Japanese woman use also rice cookers for soup, pilaf, boiled vegetables and so on.

Many Chinese tourists buy rice cookers in Akihabara, the famous “electronic town” where they often sell out. Companies that produce rice cookers’s stock have been on the rise, and product just can’t keep up with demand. The plants even continue production through the holidays.

Recently, rice bread cooker "GOPAN" has been developed by the famous electronic company, Sanyo. GOPAN is the first of its kind in the world, and has overwhelming popularity. Sanyo says it is unable to keep up with huge demand for its new cooker. The world’s first rice bread cooker GOPAN can deliver delicious fresh baked bread made from rice!

GOPAN offers a healthy and a happy rice lifestyle for the eater. GOPAN's good point is that you can easily bake rice bread from "rice grain" at home. Making bread from rice flour is not new, but few shops sell the expensive rice flour. Furthermore, the number of children developing allergies to flour are increacing, giving the GOPAN an additional benefit: "Rice Bread" without flour.

One of the reasons for developing this machine is to contend with the increasing the food self-sufficiency rate. Japanese self-sufficiency rate is about 40%. Most of flour is imported. We used to eat rice at every meal, but recently, the amount of consumerd rice has decreeced, especially among young people. They eat bread and noodles (pasta, Chinese noodles, and Japanese noodles such as SOBA and UDON etc.). Sanyo wishes to bring the rice back into young people’s diet. The GOPAN- putting rice back into the mouth of the young through bread.
Video of GOPAN


Six Senses Resorts & Spas - Phuket, Thailand

Wonder of human senses

The Six Senses Sanctuary(Six Senses Destination Spa) is dedicated to transforming the lifestyle of its guests through a complete immersion into a healthy and mindful living.  They offer structured and personalized programmes that blend holistic fitness activities, organic fishetarian spa cuisine, wellness education, self-discovery classes, and relaxation and renewal.

They offer a novel and internationally inspired Spa Cuisine in which they try to use as many ingredients from their own ecologically grown gardens.  There are wonderful fishetarian dishes served with only the best the sea has to offer.

We can also have a Raw Foods dining experience. Raw Foods preparation, also known as ‘Living Cuisine’ avoids the use of animal products. It is high in nutrients and minerals with a maximum cooking temperature of 42 degrees Centigrade (116 degrees Fahrenheit) is strictly observed. This raw food cooking method allows enzymes and vitamins to be preserved which cannot be achieved at higher temperatures. Raw Foods preparations contain a higher nutritional content, resulting in higher energy levels.

I am very much a meat- lover. Six Senses Sanctuary has no meat. They use only fish and vegetables & fruit. They do not use oil except olive oil. Also, only when you ask, will you be given butter or coffee. The only beverages they serve are herb teas, fresh juice and organic wine. There is no beer and coke.

I was worried, wondering if I could live four days without meat! However, It was no problem at all! I found that meats or vegetables are not necessary for me. The important thing is the taste which can satisfy my stomach and brain.

Just because they do not use meat in their cuisine doesn't mean that their dishes are simple. The technical skills of the chef and the fresh ingredients make us happy and give us a fulfilling cuisine. They prepare their cuisine in Chinese, Italian, French, Japanese and Thai styles.

I can live without meat in Six Senses resorts and Spa. Food and our senses are wonders!

Raw Zucchini "Cannelloni" filled with herb and nut cheese on tomato basil sauce

Stir fried local fish with rice noodle, kale, carrot and soya sauce


KUTANI porcelain - SAICHI’s Dish + MAURI’s Chocolate -

"KUTANI" dish made by Saichi Matsumoto.

KUTANI means nine valleys and is the name of an area and a village. The two characters that make up the word KUTANI consist of the character for "nine"(KU) and "valley"(TANI). KUTANI porcelain was born in 1655. I enjoy serving the chocolate from a wonderful pastry shop "MAURI" founded by Francesc Mauri in 1929 in Barcelona, with beautiful green & gold SAICHI’s KUTANI dish.



[Photo] Michelin 3 Star Restaurant in Kyoto, Japan "Arashiyama KITCHO"

March 3rd is Girls' day in Japan. Special sets of dolls called "OHINASAMA" are displayed and girls' health and happiness are celebrated.


Japanese noodle "SOMEN" - The thinnest noodle in the world

You probably know Japanese cuisine SUSHI and TEMPURA, however, do you know SOMEN? SOMEN is a Japanese noodle made from wheat and is much skinnier than other Japanese noodles.

How skinny it is do you think?
Noodles are eaten all over the world, from the Italian pastas, Chinese noodles to the numerous other types of Asian noodles.

When I visit noodle restaurants in Thailand, I can choose the noodle from 4 different kind of noodles and eat with 4 traditional seasonings as own taste. I love Thai noodle very much.
The Japanese noodle SOMEN is from ancient times. Now in Japan, people eat SOMEN daily, especially in the summer. However, in olden days, due to the difficultly of importing precious wheat, only people of the court could eat SOMEN. SOMEN has been a court cuisine for long time.

The Italian pasta “angel hair” is a famous skinny noodle. However, the world's skinniest noodle is in Nara. One of the SOMEN of famous SOMEN brand YAMAMOTO developed a 0.3mm SOMEN. In every 10g, 300 sticks are produced!

[Photo] See how skinny it is. A normal SOMEN is 0.9~1.3mm. This is 1/3 the size. The name of this SOMEN is "SHIRAGA" which means White Hair. From left: Italian Pasta "TAGLIATELLE": 6mm, "SHIRAGA": 0.3mm

I recomend using "SHIRAGA" in Soup.


Gaudí and Casa Calvet - Barcelona

Above, from top: Appetizer of the day
Seafood-stuffed squid, with baby squid sauce, vegetable couscous
Caramelized vanilla cream with pineapple and hazelnut tuile

Restaurant Casa Calvet - located in the building created by the Catalan Architectural genius Antoni Gaudí.