Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fire on the mountain

(Picture courtesy of AP Photo/Takaharu Town Office, Shuji)

This great picture of lightning has become 'photo of the day' on some Japanese online news. The lightning is pictured on January 27, during an eruption of Mount Shinmoedake in the Kirishima mountain range on the border of Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefecture. Smoke and ash continued to spew from volcano in southern Japan on Friday. (source: Mainichi News)
Saturday, January 22, 2011

Otaru Beer

Otaru is well known for its canal, fresh sushi, and Otaru Beer.
I was reading this article from Japan times:
"While Japan's major breweries continue to report flat beer sales amid an ailing economy, there is one Hokkaido-based beer maker that's brewing up a storm. Otaru Beer in the port city of Otaru has continued to flourish since its inception 15 years ago, with output growing at an annual average of 10 percent....
Ingredients used are all organic, with high-grade barley, wheat and hops imported from Germany to be combined with Otaru's soft, pristine water. The only other ingredient — yeast — is propagated by Braun himself and is the reason why Otaru Beer's draft ales and their bottled equivalents are only available within a 100 km radius of Otaru."
The news brings back memories of white Christmas trip around Hokkaido. I was on a one day trip in Otaru, exploring the beautiful streets with its irresistible sweets shops and came across this medieval theme cafe next to the famous Otaru Canal and then I found myself sitting on a timber bench overlooking the canal and sipping Otaru draft ale...
'nodogoshi ga ii...'

(Otaru Canal in snow, Christmas 2009)
Monday, January 17, 2011


One of my eating habits on the weekend is having brunch in the city. I am too lazy to wake up early and make my breakfast on weekend and my tummy wouldn't compromise till lunch time so having brunch around 11 AM is just perfect for me. One of my favorite places in the city for light meal is Mappen and last time I ended up slurping Ontama Soba, hot soba with Ontama (onsen tamago).

(Menya Mappen)

Talking about Ontama, a half-cooked egg originally cooked by dipping it into an onsen spring that's why it's called 'onsen tamago'. When you slurp an onsen tamago, the milky white egg and slightly set yolk would smoothly slide down your tongue and throat with a warm feel and you'd say 'oishii..!'. You can find the easy way to cook onsen tamago on the web, such us cooking it with rice cooker.

Talking about eating raw eggs, it was 6 years ago when I visited Japan for the first time, staying at my friend's house in Seki when his family prepared a dinner for us, it was the first time I ate raw egg, the Japanese way.
Get a hot bowl of rice, pour the egg over the steamy rice and dash it with a bit of soy sauce then mixed them all with a soup or Sukiyaki!
In Japan, eggs are specially checked to make sure that they are safe to eat raw. A high-tech machine taking care of the whole process automatically: cleaning the eggs, checking them for quality, sorting them for size and finally packaging them and sealing the carton. The latest machine can process 120,000 eggs in an hour! Take a look at the machine in action on Web Japan 
Monday, January 10, 2011

Deep Roasted Sesame Salad Dressing

It's summer now and one of my favorite foods during summer is salad, healthy and refreshing food that I eat not only during or after main meal but it's kinda snack for me, weird snack maybe?
Talking about salad, everyone has their own favorite dressing and mine is 'Deep roasted sesame dressing' from Kewpie (I assume everyone knows Kewpie mayonnaise). It's a rich flavor dressing yet comes with light aftertaste and perfect for someone who loves sesame.

(Deep roasted sesame salad dressing)

(My baby salad)

For all my need of Japanese foodstuffs in Sydney I always go to Maruyu, just a short stroll away from Town Hall.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Made in Nippon

As I mentioned on my previous post that I found Japanese restaurant on every corner of Auckland city, there are also some Japanese supermarkets in town where you can find Japanese foodstuffs, sake, as well as Japanese traditional products. I happened to visit two of them, one is Japan Mart in Newmarket and the other one is Made in Nippon on Queen street, Auckland City.

(Made in Nippon, Japanese shops in Auckland)

Once you visit here, you must feel like you are in Japan! That's what they said on their web and it's true! I felt like I was in Japan! The Japanese chocolates and biscuits on the shelves are so irresistible and on the upper floor they have all kind of Japanese sake including Umeshu, my favorite Japanese drink. I did buy myself a bottle of Choya Umeshu and a small can of Ohshukubai Umeshu (never tried this one before).

(Choya Umeshu)

(Ohshukubai Umeshu with real green ume inside the can)

Talking about Umeshu, I also tried the Kikkoman Umeshu while having dinner at Daikoku, I know that Kikkoman is famous for soy sauce and other cooking stuffs but never knew that Kikkoman also produces Umeshu and it tastes great too!

(Kikkoman Umeshu)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sushi Walker

First thing first, Happy New Year! Wishing you all the best!

Just came back from Auckland yesterday and now I'd like to share some Japanese things I came across in that city. I had heard that there are a lot of Korean and Japanese eateries and shops in town but it still surprised me as I found sushi and sake bar on every corner of the city. Most of the Japanese restaurants and sake bars do serve a wide range of imported Japanese Sake and Japanese beers like Asahi and Sapporo beer on tap. During my three-day visit I went to five Japanese eateries in town, Tanuki Cave and Kura Sake Bar (both on Queen st), Daikoku Restaurant and Fuga Japanese Brasserie (both of them on Victoria st West, Auckland Central), and Motto Sushi in Parnell Village. I am happy to say there was no disappointment but if I had to choose my favorite one I'd say Kura Sake Bar, the cozy ambiance and the fusion dishes are just perfect.

(Kura Sake Bar on Queen st, Auckland)

(Kura Sake Bar)

(Seafood lovers donburi from Kura)

(Pan fried white fish with butter from Kura)

(Asahi beer on tap from Kura)

(Daikoku Restaurant)

(Tofu Salad from Daikoku)

(Deep fried flounder from Fuga Japanese Brasserie)

(Agedashi tofu with steamed vegetables from Fuga Japanese Brasserie)

(Sushi and Tempura Combo from Moto Sushi)