- Prep 30min
ByThe Food in My Beard
Updated October 19, 2014
cups Bisquick™ Original baking mix
quart vanilla ice cream
package Japanese bean paste
Mix the pancake batter according to the instructions on the bisquick package. Add the sugar and mix well.
Mix the bean paste with the vanilla ice cream and return to freezer to harden.
Make mini pancakes in a frying pan, and stuff with the bean paste ice cream.
Nutrition InformationNo nutrition information available for this recipe
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How to master the crumpet
--- Join baker Paul Hollywood as he makes crumpets and other favourites in Paul Hollywood’s Bread, double episodes Mondays 8.30pm 6 July to 20 July on SBS Food and SBS on Demand. Catch the crumpet action on July 20 ---
Brown on the bottom, pale on the top, and marked with a myriad of holes . the simple looks of a crumpet do not at first suggest the chewy, cratered deliciousness of it, the butter’s-best-friend status it deservedly has in so many households.
Respected food writer James Beard, in his book Beard on Bread, declared he loves them for the “buttery heaviness”. British baker Paul Hollywood describes them as “crisp and golden brown on the outside, yet light and fluffy within”.
But perhaps my favourite description of a crumpet is this:
“Crumpets have holes for a reason,” says the introduction to a crumpet recipe in a yellowing paperback called the Sunset Cook Book of Breads. “How else … can a generous amount of butter properly permeate each moist and springy bite?”
A star of the pancake family, a crumpet is superbly satisfying to make. Here’s how to master a golden round, pockmarked with butter-ready holes.
First, the flour
“Use good quality ingredients - if you start with amazing ingredients you will end up with an amazing crumpet,” says Merna Taouk, the crumpet-loving chef behind Sydney’s Crumpets by Merna, which has been delighting Australia with sourdough crumpets since 2017.
“It is a 24-hour process. The crumpet batter is made in the morning, fermented overnight and then cooked on the griddle the following day for half an hour. We focus on using local producers - with Pepe Saya buttermilk, Olsson’s salt, Australian whole-wheat flours, Zokoko chocolate.”
Merna Taouk says memories of the crumpets she had as a child prompted her to start her business.
Josh Clements, the founder of Melbourne’s Holy Crumpets, which has pivoted to home delivery in the wake of coronavirus restrictions, agrees. “Crumpets have few ingredients so this pushes you to focus on where they’re sourced from,” he says of his passion – “perhaps even obsessiveness!” – for making a truly great crumpet. He suggests trying to source a local flour, and even better if you can get your hands on freshly milled flour.
Holy Crumpets are lovingly made over a 24-36 hour process
While crumpets do derive much of their appeal from their spongy structure, most recipes use plain flour, rather than bread flour. “You want to use a flour with a low protein, don’t use a strong baker’s flour,” Taouk says. Paul Hollywood suggests using a combination: “The strong flour’s extra gluten helps give the crumpets structure, whilst the plain flour keeps the texture soft and light,” he says in Paul Hollywood‘s Bread, when making his crumpet recipe.
Paul Hollkywood says making crumpets reminds him of his Nan and the ones she made when he was a child.
We asked Helen Tzouganatos, the host of SBS’s popular series Loving Gluten Free. Her advice for anyone adapting a recipe to make it gluten-free: “Use a good quality gluten-free flour because they vary greatly in quality and given flour is such a big component of the crumpet, there is nowhere to run and hide. Some gluten-free flours bake well whilst others will leave you with a crumbly mess. My favourite brands are Ardor Gluten Free (a Melbourne-based brand) or Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 plain gluten-free flour (the pack has a blue label)."
What about a vegan crumpet?
Most crumpet recipes use milk or buttermilk, but you can make great vegan crumpets – in fact, all of the Holy Crumpet crumpets are vegan, and Merna Taouk has a vegan version too. To make your own, try this recipe from popular blogger and cookbook author Jack Monroe.
Do you need crumpet rings?
To get the familiar round shape and a good rise, you’ll need rings of some kind. Crumpet rings are fairly widely available (try kitchenware stores and online retailers), and you could also use egg rings – it’s what Shane Delia suggests in his recipe for Moroccan crumpets with clementine marmalade.
Crumpets by Merna cooking in rings
The advantage of crumpet rings is that they are deeper, usually 2-2.5 cm. This allows you to cook a thicker crumpet since egg rings are usually 1-1.5 cm tall, and smaller in diameter, you’ll end up with smaller, shallower crumpets. You could also try making your own crumpet rings, or try using scone cutters, if you have several the same size. And you can use shaped metal biscuit cutters to create fun crumpets, too.
Don’t despair, though, if you don’t have any crumpet or egg rings. The spongy crumpet-like North African semolina pancakes below also make a fine vehicle for lashing of honey and butter (indeed, the recipe includes instructions for making a honey butter).
Semolina-style with honey and honeycomb
Attack with “vivacious turbulence”
Some good advice never dates. British baker Robert Wells wrote in The Pastrycook and Confectioner’s Guide including Hundreds of Modern Recipes, published in 1889, that “careful practice, and particular attention to the whys and wherefores of both hot plates and batter … will make a good muffin or crumpet maker”. His crumpet advice included giving the batter (yeasted, no bicarb) a “thoroughly good mixing”, let it stand for an hour, giving it another “thoroughly good beat”, and leaving it for another hour before cooking.
A little more recently – in the 1947 edition of his respected British breadmaking treatise Manna – Walter Banfield wrote that “provided suitable flour is used, this honeycomb-y, labyrinthine structures are fairly simple to make”. He, too, recommends giving the first stage of the batter a though beating – or as he puts it, “the batter requires attacking with vivacious turbulence”! The batter is left to rise for about 1½ hours, or until it is just about to collapse, and then a mixture of water and bicarb soda is stirred in.
Hollywood, too, emphasises the importance of a thorough mixing: “It is essential to develop the protein strength in the batter and will ensure the crumpets develop their characteristic holes as they cook,” he says.
A bounty of bubbles
There are several secrets to getting what Hollywood calls “the crumpet's characteristic craters”. The use of bicarbonate of soda, aka baking soda, or less commonly, baking powder, is a big contributor to bubble it’s usually used along with yeast to give a double boost to the final honeycomb structure and bubbled surface.
Making sure your pan is warm (but not too hot – a low heat is best) before you add the batter is also a factor, but perhaps most important is the thickness of the batter. Start with a test crumpet you should see plenty of bubbles form on the top as it cooks. If not, the batter is too thick. Add a little more water or milk to the remaining batter and try again. (If the batter seeps out from your crumpet rings, it’s too thin.)
Don’t worry if it’s not as bubbly as a commercial crumpet: “Forget the sort you get in a packet. Homemade crumpets look different (usually having way fewer holes), and taste far better,” says SBS’s Gourmet Farmer Matthew Evans, who describes his crumpet batter as being like a “really runny bread dough”.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Unfried Crispy Chicken - The Mayonnaise and Panko Method
Sorry if I've bored with all my unfried chicken cooking again as I really like to find a recipe that can bake skinless chicken that is CRISPY!
Welcome to part two of my unfried chicken cooking*. baking these chicken along with Lena from Frozen wings and Joyce from Kitchen Flavours.
|Unfried Chicken Two - This is the crispy one! . but not low fat :p|
How to Make Taiyaki
Classic street vendor snack in Japan, warm soft fish-shaped cake with red bean filling. You can also use Nutella and other fillings.
It’s pretty simple to make Taiyaki.
- Make the batter.
- Heat the Taiyaki pan and pour the batter.
- Add the filling of your choice and cook!
It’s similar to a waffle making, but with a filling. What kind of filling should we prepare? Let’s talk about that next.
For the filling, sweet red bean paste (Anko) is classic and most popular, but these days there are other options such as:
When I don’t have time to make my homemade red bean paste, I buy and use a can of Ogura-An. The texture of the red bean paste is very smooth and easy to use.
Each taiyaki store and family has its own recipe and style for taiyaki, and my recipe leans toward cakey, fluffy pancake texture as that’s my children’s preference. I like mine to be on the crispy side like waffles. If you also like crispy texture, omit the egg and adjust the liquid amount for the batter.
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Japanese Food Favorites You Should Not Miss
This über-fresh tuna sushi at Maruyoshi in Osaka did not disappoint.
Our guide outlines 37 authentic Japanese foods and drinks that you can&rsquot miss during your trip. For ease of use, we&rsquove separated the guide into six categories:
We empathize with the temptation to only eat ramen and sushi when you travel to Japan for the first time. We love both of those dishes from Japan too. But you don&rsquot want to miss out on dozens of other amazingly unique Japanese dishes.
Traditional Japanese Food
Authentic yakitori has made its way around the world. We ate these tasty chicken skewers at Le Rigmarole in Paris.
There&rsquos no better place to start your Japanese food exploration than with traditional Japanese food. These are the dishes with popularity that extends beyond Japan.
We recommend starting with ramen (one of our personal Japanese food favorites). Then you should eat each of the following dishes on your Japan visit:
We slurped this bowls of ramen at Ryukishin, one of our favorite ramen shops in Osaka.
The Japanese didn&rsquot invent ramen. That credit goes to the Chinese who originally created wheat lamien noodles, ramen&rsquos inspiration. The Japanese, however, get credit for perfecting ramen before sharing this comforting noodle soup with the world.
For the uninitiated, typical bowls of ramen have savory broth, toothy wheat noodles, chāsū (pork), nori (seaweed), scallions and a softly boiled egg. Broth variations include miso, shoyo (soy sauce), shio (salt) and tonkotsu (pork bone). And this doesn&rsquot contemplate regional variations like Hakata ramen in Fukuoka or Hokaido ramen in (you guessed it) Hokaido.
&rarr Discover more of the best soups in the world.
The Instant Ramen Museum&lsquos dedication to one food item made us smile.
Our initial Japanese ramen experience at Ramen Street in Tokyo hooked us in but our ramen infatuation became a ramen obsession in Osaka. After slurping our first bowl at Ippudo at 2am soon after arriving, we proceeded to eat enough ramen to find our favorites. We became so obsessed that we visited the Instant Ramen Museum on the outskirts of the city during our visit.
We&rsquove since eaten ramen in cities like Budapest, Lisbon, New York and Paris. But there&rsquos nothing like eating ramen in Japan as we illustrate in our soup-filled YouTube video.
&rarr Read about the best ramen in Osaka.
Sushi in chopsticks are better than sushi on a plate but not as good as sushi in the mouth.
Sushi is simply sliced raw fish served atop a mound of steamed rice that&rsquos been seasoned with vinegar. As we demonstrate in our YouTube video, it&rsquos also proof that simple food is often the best food.
You won&rsquot have to look hard to find sushi in Japan. You can find it at 7-11 convenience stores, markets and restaurants. On the low end, sushi is affordable and accessible to all. On the high end, as shown in the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi, it&rsquos a three-star, life-changing experience.
&rarr Click here to watch the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi on Amazon.
Adventurous food travelers will want to try conveyor belt sushi in Japan both for the quirky experience and the variety of raw fish. Popular options include ebi nigiri (shrimp) hamachi (yellowtail), ikura (salmon roe), maguro nigiri (tuna), sake nigiri (salmon), toro (tuna belly) and uni (sea urchin).
Don&rsquot add wasabi, soy sauce or ginger to sushi at any high end sushi counter in Japan. Doing so is considered an insult to chefs who like to remain in control of the flavor experience.
We ate this generous serving of sashimi in a boat shaped vessel at a Naha market stall. Served atop thinly sliced daikon and with a dollop of wasabi and a shiso leaf, the raw fish was the star of the show.
People outside of Japan tend to lump sushi and sashimi together. However, these two Japanese food favorites involving raw fish are not the same.
Unlike sushi, sashimi does NOT have any rice. The only ingredient in sashimi is thinly sliced raw fish. Typical garnishes include daikon slivers and shiso leaves.
While it&rsquos possible to find sashimi made with meat or vegetables, the finest Japanese sashimi typically involves raw fish and seafood like ebi (shrimp), hamachi (yellowtail), eka (squid), maguro (tuna) and sake (salmon). More adventurous diners can also try aji (horse mackerel) and uni (sea urchin).
Order a side dish of rice if want some carbs with your sashimi.
Eating unagi (freshwater eel) at a sushi restaurant is a great alternative for people who don&rsquot eat raw fish. Japanese sushi chefs slather grilled eel fillets with a sweet and salty, umami-rich BBQ sauce before placing tasty eel morsels atop clumps of steamed rice.
Sure, there are other ways to eat unagi in Japan. One popular option is to eat unagi over a bowl of rice in a donburi dish called unadon. But for us, there&rsquos no better way to eat unagi in Japan than the way we ate it in Osaka sushi bars &ndash full of flavor and on top of rice.
Although unagi is available throughout the year in Japan, freshwater eel is especially popular during the warm summer months.
We ate these delicate tempura pieces during a kaiseki meal in Kyoto.
Leave your preconceptions about fried food behind when you order tempura in Japan as either a starter or main dish. Although tempura is deep fried, it doesn&rsquot taste greasy and it&rsquos not messy to eat.
Japanese chefs prepare tempura by precisely cutting ingredients like shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, lotus roots and shishito peppers before lightly coating them with batter and frying them in sesame oil.
Most people dip the crispy, savory treats in ten-tsuyu dipping sauce. Another option is to sprinkle on salt before taking the first bite.
The Japanese learned the art of tempura from Portuguese missionaries who traveled to Japan in the 16th century. The original Portuguese dish is called Peixinhos da Horta.
Yakitori became part of Japanese cuisine in the 19th century when street stalls starting grilling skewered chicken pieces over charcoal. Fast forward to the present and yakitori is now a staple at restaurants throughout the country.
Anthony Bourdain introduced Japanese yakitori to the western masses when he ate chicken skewers at Toriki in his Tokyo No Reservations episode. We later ate yakitori at Michelin-starred Bird Land located in a Ginza metro station across the hall from Sukiyabashi Jiro. Unlike Bourdain, we stuck with yakitori and skipped eating chicken sashimi during our meal. We ate some medium rare chicken during our meal instead.
Not limited to thighs and breasts, Japanese chefs grill skewered chicken hearts and cartilage, among other parts, over white binchotan charcoal to various levels of doneness. They then serve the skewers on simple small plates.
Be like the Japanese and drink beer with your yakitori. It&rsquos a winning combination.
We ate these udon noodles at Yayamato in Osaka. Beyond the noodles, the bowl was filled with clear broth and tempura.
If you confuse udon with ramen, you&rsquore not far off the mark. Both dishes feature wheat noodles originally introduced to Japan by China centuries ago. But make no mistake, ramen and udon are as different as they are similar.
For starters, udon noodles are thicker in size and whiter in appearance. They&rsquore often served in a simple dashi broth, though other various iterations, both hot and cold, feature eggs, stewed meat, curry and even shrimp tempura.
While we ate udon for breakfast at a popular Osaka fish market stall, the Japanese eat udon at all hours of the day and night. It&rsquos a comforting, versatile dish with as many potential ingredients and toppings as the imagination allows.
Use chopsticks and a spoon when you slurp udon in Japan so that you don&rsquot miss any bits or bites.
We ate these soba noodles at Matsugen in Tokyo, The server poured hot broth directly into our bowls at the table.
Soba literally translates to buckwheat and that&rsquos exactly the type of noodle used in this dish. Made with buckwheat flour as advertised, soba noodles are both longer and thinner than ramen and udon noodles.
Japanese restaurants serve soba noodles both hot and chilled, often with tsuyu dipping sauce. Simultaneously earthy and nutty, soba proves that ramen and udon aren&rsquot the only noodles worth eating in Japan.
The Chinese introduced soba noodles to Japan. Are you noticing a trend yet.
9. Agedashi Dōfu
We ate this firm yet silky agedashi dōfu at Tsuruichi in Osaka.
Agedashi dōfu lives up to a name that translates to fried tofu. But this dish is more than its name implies since Japanese chefs add touches like spring onions and dried bonito flakes as well as savory tentsuyu broth.
Both vegetarians and carnivores have been eating creamy, soft agedashi dōfu for centuries in Japan. The dish, usually listed in the appetizer section in Japanese menus, is now a staple across the country.
Tentsuyu sauce is a popular Japanese dipping sauce made with dashi, mirin and soy sauce.
10. Japanese Curry
Curry is Japanese comfort food that doesn&rsquot break the bank. Pictured here is katsu kare with tonkatsu
Most food travelers don&rsquot associate curry with Japan. The dish has roots in India, a country almost 4,000 miles away. However, Japanese Curry is ridiculously popular in Japanese cities like Osaka and Tokyo.
History reveals that British traders introduced curry to the Japanese in the 19th century. The Japanese made the dish their own by creating curries with short-grain rice as well as local meats and vegetables.
After we tried katsu kare at a casual restaurant near our Osaka apartment, we returned multiple times to eat tasty Japanese Curry topped with fried tonkatsu pork. By adding sides of pickled vegetables and miso soup, we turned the cheap eats dish into a satisfying meal.
Avoid spillage by eating Japanese curry with a spoon.
11. Wagyu Beef
Wagyu beef is proof that seafood isn&rsquot the only protein worth eating in Japan.
Coveted around the world for its fabulously fatty texture and umami-filled flavor, Wagyu beef is the meat to eat in Japan. And though Kobe beef produced in the Hyōgo prefecture, not far from Osaka, is the most famous Wagyu beef produced, there are all kinds and grades of excellent Wagyu throughout the country.
Marbling provides the fatty texture that distinguishes Wagyu beef from beef produced in other Asian countries and throughout Europe. Priced higher than other Japanese food favorites, this beef is a splurge to try and a pleasure to eat on its own or part of a shabu-shabu meal in Japan.
Order Wagyu beef rare.This is NOT a meat meant to be burned to a crisp or cooked to well-done status.
12. Miso Soup
Tofo and sliced green onion are typical miso soup ingredients.
A combination of dashi stock and miso bean paste, miso soup is a popular starter at Japanese restaurants around the world. In Japan, it&rsquos a key element of the daily diet.
While basic miso soup has tofu chunks and green onion slices, better versions add veggies and proteins to the mix. Our favorite miso soup in Tokyo was filled with baby cockles (clams), a briny addition that elevated the basic broth to something truly special.
Don&rsquot assume that miso soup is vegetarian. Ask before ordering if you have an aversion to eating fish products.
We ate the creamy-dreamy bowl of chawanmushi at Le Rigmarole in Paris. The dish channeled Japanese inspiration in every luscious bite.
Custard fans won&rsquot want to miss chawanmushi in Japan. Unlike desserts like Spanish flan and Portuguese pasteis de nata, this Japanese egg custard is more of a savory meal starter.
Beyond eggs, chawanmushi ingredients include dashi, mirin and soy sauce, the same three ingredients in tentsuyu sauce. Some Japanese chefs add bonus items like shiitake mushrooms and shrimp.
Check off two items (chawanmushi and udon) from this list by ordering odamaki udon if you see on a Japanese menu.
Pan fried Gyoza dumplings, like these we ate at Hakata Daruma in Fukuoka, are a traditional starter at many Japanese ramen shops.
Gyoza is yet another Japanese dish with Chinese origins. But, unlike ramen and soba, this dish features dumplings instead of noodles.
Typically filled with a ground pork mixture, gyoza dumplings can be boiled or deep fried. However, pan frying is the most popular preparation with ramen shops and izakayas serving crispy pan fried dumplings across the country.
Japanese gyoza were inspired by Chinese jiaozi dumplings.
Japanese Street Food
Daryl was overwhelmed by the options at this Pombashi Rice Dog stand in Osaka. Can you blame him?
Snack food fans will have two problems in Japan. The first will be deciding among a myriad of fast food options at street stalls, convenience stores and markets. The second will be never wanting to leave.
We&rsquove got you covered with the first problem. The second problem is up to you because once you eat the following Japanese street foods, you&rsquore going to be hooked. It&rsquos inevitable.
We ate amazing takoyaki slathered with savory sauce and topped with dancing benito flakes at this Nishiki Market stall in Kyoto.
Without a doubt, Takoyaki belongs in the Japanese street food hall of fame.
Literally translating to &lsquooctopus balls&rsquo, takoyaki are little treats filled with octopus meat that vendors have been frying in special pans for almost a century. Originally a street food in Osaka, takoyaki are now available throughout Japan and in Asian cities like Hong Kong and Taipei.
We first tasted takoyaki in Hong Kong in 2009 before rediscovering the tasty octopus balls in Kyoto in 2013 and falling for them in Osaka in 2016. After we documented our infatuation in a YouTube video, we ate some more.
Part of the fun of eating takoyaki is to enjoy them piping hot, just off the grill. Pop them in your mouth and see if you&rsquore &lsquoman (or woman) enough&rsquo to endure the scalding burn.
&rarr Discover Kappabashi Street where you can buy special takoyaki pans.
We paired these kushikatsu skewers with beer at a random restaurant in Osaka&rsquos Shinsekai neighborhood.
Why eat &lsquomeat on a stick&rsquo at home when you can eat kushikatsu in Japan? Kushikatsu takes the street food concept to the next level by deep frying skewered meat cutlets, seafood and veggies like bamboo shoots, lotus roots and asparagus spears.
We first experienced kushikatsu in Osaka&rsquos Shinsekai neighborhood after a languorous session at nearby hot tub heaven Spa World. Later, we learned that this neighborhood was where the concept of eating fried treats coated with panko batter originated.
Don&rsquot double dip your skewers in the dipping sauce when you eat kushikatsu. As in the TV show Seinfeld, this practice is a no-no in Japan.
We bought this Okonomiyaki from an Osaka street vendor and ate it on the spot. It was gone in mere minutes.
Japan&rsquos Okonomiyaki is a pancake unlike any other we&rsquove encountered in the world. Made with wheat flour batter, julienned cabbage and bacon, this savory pancake typically has toppings like bonito flakes, seaweed flakes, mayonnaise and pickled ginger. A Worcestershire-like sauce completes the beautiful mess.
Not surprisingly, food historians trace the Okonomiyaki&lsquos origin to Osaka, Japan&rsquos kitchen and a haven for junk food junkies. However, this ramped up Japanese omelette is popular throughout the country with each region adding tasty twists.
Unless you want to eat your Okonomiyaki on the go, find a restaurant where you can grill it yourself at your table.
18. Katsu Sando
We ate this tamago katsu sando at a a tiny food stand near Osaka&rsquos massive Umeda Station.
A katsu sando is a fried cutlet sandwich that&rsquos often but not always made with pork. Other katsu sando varieties like chicken can be equally tasty while variations like fried wagyu elevate the katsu sando to luxury status. With this in mind, we took a special trip to a recommended tamago katsu sando at Kitashin Chisand in Osaka.
&rarr Read our Osaka Food Guide.
Eating a sandwich filled with breaded and fried egg salad was a unique experience and one worthy of that special trip. Trust the Japanese to add a twist to an American food staple and make it their own. We wonder when we&rsquoll see a similar version back in the states. We&rsquore sure we&rsquoll eventually find one in a big city like New York or San Francisco. We just have to find it.
Order a katsu sando if you crave a western sandwich that doesn&rsquot involve beef or golden arches.
Triangular-shaped onigiri fill convenience store shelves throughout Japan. We found these onigiri in Osaka
While sandwiches are a relatively new snack food in Japan, rice balls called onigiri have been popular with samurai soldiers and commuting citizens for two millennia. Formed in round, rectangular and triangular shapes, these rice balls are a convenience store staple often filled with tasty bits and occasionally wrapped in nori (seaweed).
We ate enough onigiri to find our favorites which typically involved raw tuna or salmon. Other popular fillings include pickled plums, tempura and bonito flakes.
Try makng onigiri at home if you become addicted to the Japanese fast food favorite during your visit. No special equipment (except a nimble pair of hands) is required though a rice cooker will speed the process.
This tonkatsu gave us a quick burst of energy after we bought it at an Osaka food stall.
Pork fans won&rsquot want to miss tonkatsu in Japan. Not only does this deep-fried pork cutlet represent the Japanese take on European schnitzel, it&rsquos also a popular street food favorite that hits all the Japanese buttons.
The good news is that it&rsquos easy to find tonkatsu at snack stands, ramen bars and curry shops. The better news is that Japanese breaded and fried pork cutlets taste good on their own, in soup or with rice. And by good, we mean great.
Eat tonkatsu with sides of rice, sauce and shredded cabbage for a quintessential tonkatsu dining experience.
21. Tako Tamago
Each tako tamago skewer provides a double dose of protein.
Not your typical lollipop, a tako tamago is a skewer topped with a glazed baby octopus, but not just any glazed baby octopus. These octopuses have boiled quail eggs stuffed inside their heads.
Daryl couldn&rsquot resist eating this Tako Tamago skewer as we grazed our way through the Kuromon Market in Osaka.
When we first encountered a tako tamago stand at the Nishiki Market in Kyoto, of course we had to taste this unique skewer. We enjoyed the slightly sweet, chewy snack so much we ate a second when we encountered another tako tamago stand at the Kuromon Market in Osaka.
Don&rsquot be deterred by the tako tamago&lsquos strange appearance. It&rsquos a tasty snack. Just be sure to take a photo before you eat it.
Our friend Marie ate this taiyaki outside the Osaka Castle after she took this fun photo. | Photo/Marie Buendia @gooddayphoto
Despite its shape and name, a typical taiyaki doesn&rsquot taste fishy. The irony is palpable since the word taiyaki literally translates to &lsquobaked sea bream&rsquo and it&rsquos shaped like a lucky tai fish.
Another irony is that the taiyaki is isn&rsquot savory like the other Japanese street food featured in this guide. Instead, the fish-shaped cake has sweet fillings like red bean paste, sweet potato paste, chocolate and custard.
Consider it a lucky day if you see a taiyaki stand. It&rsquos a fun treat and, who knows, maybe eating one will bring you good fortune.
Unlike most Japanese snack food, the taiyaki hails from Tokyo instead of Osaka.
Regional Japanese Dishes
Blue Seal started making ice cream for American soldiers stationed in Okinawa in 1948. We licked this tasty cone during our 2018 visit to Naha.
While most Japanese dishes are available across the country, some are best eaten in the region where they were created. Be sure to try the following two dishes if your travels take you to Fukuoka and Okinawa:
23. Hakata Ramen
Eating this bowl of Hakata ramen at Hakata Daruma was a highlight of our visit to Fukuoka.
Although it&rsquos easy to eat Hakata ramen throughout Japan, there&rsquos something special about slurping a bowl in the coastal city of Fukuoka where it was invented. Originally sold to local fishermen, Hakata ramen is now an international dish served all over the world in ramen shops from New York to London to Bangkok.
Starting with flavorful pork bone broth, Hakata ramen has thin noodles that could be quickly prepared for those original fishing customers. Modern day customers can order kaedama (extra noodles) for a nominal charge.
Since toppings give Hakata ramen some extra zip, add beni shoga (pickled ginger) and karashi takana (pickled mustard greens) to your bowl if they&rsquore available .
24. Okinawa Soba
We used chopsticks to eat this bowl of Okinawa soba at Ganso Daito Soba in Naha.
Okinawa soba is an anomaly. Even though soba translates to &lsquobuckwheat&rsquo, this regional soup features wheat noodles.
Okinawa soba is also delicious as we experienced during our visit to Naha. Thick homemade wheat noodles reminded us of udon noodles while the broth reminded us of ramen. Ingredients like pork belly, fish cakes, sliced scallions and pickled ginger made the dish its own colorful, tasty thing.
Order Okinawa soba with extra ribs or stewed pig trotters if you&rsquore feeling adventurous.
Unique Japanese Meal Experiences
This yakiniku spread at Tsuruichi in Osaka was just enough to feed us and two friends.
Part of the fun of eating in Japan is trying new dining experiences. We recommend that you plan ahead and participate in one or more of the following culinary activities:
We pulled out the stops when we grilled our own steak during a yakiniku dinner at Tsuruichi in Osaka.
Not surprising based on its name that literally translates to &lsquogrilled meat&rsquo, a yakiniku dinner involves grilling meat on a tableside griddle. If it sounds familiar, that&rsquos no coincidence. This Japanese style of eating was inspired by Korean BBQ restaurants located in Seoul and Busan.
Rolling up our sleeves, we joined two friends at an Osaka restaurant for a yakiniku dinner filled with freshly grilled Wagyu steak and sides like Japanese agedashi dōfu and Korean kimchi. Not only did we eat well, but we also had a lot of fun.
Check the menu before you place your order. Our lettuce was oddly expensive. While we enjoyed making lettuce wraps, the price on the bill wasn&rsquot a pleasant surprise..
We let our hair down at this Osaka izakaya.
The word izakaya loosely translates to &lsquotavern&rsquo, &lsquopub&rsquo and &lsquobar&rsquo&hellip and that&rsquos exactly what you should expect when you visit an izakaya in Japan. This type of restaurant is casual with a friendly vibe. In many ways, izakayas are similar to diners prevalent on the American east coast but with Japanese food on the menu instead of meatloaf and club sandwiches.
We like to order a range of small plates when we eat at Japanese izakayas. Some of our favorites dishes include yakitori, tamagoyaki (egg omelettes), kara-age (fried chicken) and fried potatoes. If you&rsquore craving Japanese comfort food, a neighborhood izakaya will surely be your happy place.
Plan to drink biiru (beer) with your izakaya meal. Whether you order it in a bottle or from the tap is up to you.
Our kaiseki meal in Kyoto was a feast for all five of our senses. Pictured here is one of nine dinner courses that paired yuzu and firefly squid with miso and fresh bamboo shoots.
A kaiseki meal is the ultimate way to experience food in Japan. Typically spread over a few hours, this type of meal pleases all five senses with each detail choreographed in advance. Although kaiseki meals follow a strict traditional structure, the experience is utterly relaxing for food travelers who have the means to splurge.
We took the culinary plunge in Kyoto, the epicenter for kaiseki dining. Our multi-course kaiseki meal included nine pretty plates topped with seasonal ingredients cooked to perfection. The chef was so attuned to details that he even garnished one of our plates with a freshly plucked sakura (cherry blossom) branch.
Indulge in a kaiseki meal when you stay at a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) in Japan. Otherwise, make a special dinner reservation at a restaurant like we did.
Shabu-shabu diners cook their food at the table. Pictured here are typical shabu-shabu ingredients.
Evoking the sound of meat cooking in a pot of hot broth, an interactive shabu-shabu dinner is a fun way to spend an evening in Japan. While the shabu-shabu sounds comes from swishing chopsticks in a big pot, the fun comes from cooking and eating food at the same spot.
&rarr Click here to buy a nabe pot on Amazon and make shabu-shabu at home.
Typical shabu-shabu food includes thinly sliced meats like chicken, pork, tofu and seafood as well as veggies like cabbage, onions and mushrooms. Cooking these foods in hot broth and dipping them in savory sauces is all part of the process. Eating them is the tasty reward.
Like many aspects of Japanese cuisine, shabu-shabu was inspired by China and born in Osaka. In this case, the inspiration came from Chinese hot pot popular in cities like Chengdu and Chongqing.
Japanese show their fun side when creating desserts like these Halloween-themed donuts we encountered in Osaka.
Desserts are rarely boring in Japan, a country where some sweet treats have histories that span the centuries. While it&rsquos fun to explore wagashi (traditional Japanese desserts), it&rsquos equally fun to sample modern Japanese desserts.
We ate a lot of desserts in a half dozen Japanese cities. These are our favorites and the six you shouldn&rsquot miss:
If you visit Japan and don&rsquot eat matcha Kit-Kats, did you really visit Japan?
Candy in Japan is both wonderfully colorful and colorfully wonderful. Options range from simple chocolate bars to gummies that look like sushi. But for many who travel to Japan, Kit-Kats are the Japanese candy holy grail.
Kit-Kat bars in Japan are similar to Kit-Kats sold around the world except that the variety of flavors goes way beyond milk, white and dark chocolate. In fact, Japan has more than 300 flavors! Some like cherry blossom are seasonal while others like matcha are available year round.
&rarr Click here to buy a variety pack of Japanese Kit-Kat bars on Amazon to sample at home.
We ate this lush slice of cheesecake at Kaka Cheesecake Store in Fukuoka.
We first realized the popularity of cheesecake in Japan when we saw a line snaking around a Tokyo block near Shibuya Crossing and realized that it was people queuing for cheesecake. Prior to that observation, we thought that cheesecake&rsquos popularity was specific to New York City.
As it turns out, cheesecake has been popular in Japan since it debuted as a dessert in Fukuoka in the 1940&rsquos. We tasted-tested a slice made with four types of cheese for &lsquoresearch purposes&rsquo during our Fukuoka visit and found it to be lighter and spongier than its New York cousin
Greek bakers get credit for inventing cheesecake more than 2,000 years ago. Both the Japanese and American versions are 20th century creations.
31. Honey Toast
This loaf of honey toast caught our eyes at a karaoke bar in Tokyo&rsquos Akihabara neighborhood.
Honey toast is a dessert that&rsquos meant to be shared. Japanese bakers caramelize a loaf of white bread with honey and butter before decorating it with toppings like ice cream, fruit and whipped cream. This dessert is also called brick toast, probably in reference to its weight and shape.
Originally invented in Tokyo&rsquos Shibuya neighborhood, the fanciful dessert is available throughout the country in cafes and karaoke bars. You can find honey toast in Japan if you look for it. Just don&rsquot try to eat it alone.
Order honey toast if you happen to be in Japan for your birthday. It&rsquos ideal for this type of festive celebration.
We bought this dorayaki in Osaka and then we ate it.
The dorayaki is a wagashi pastry that connects two pancakes with red bean paste filling. It&rsquos also a pastry with a past.
Legend attributes the dorayaki&rsquos creation to an ancient Samurai named Benkiai. For many years, the pastry was just one layer until Usagiya, a Tokyo confectionary shop, created a sandwich version in the early 20th century.
Usagiya&rsquos version has become the global standard. We even ate a sandwich-like dorayaki in a Paris ramen shop.
&rarr Click here to watch the movie Sweet Bean on Amazon. We were inspired to try a dorayaki after watching this movie at a film festival.
33. Fancy Fruit
These melons are a bargain at around $100 each. Maybe you should buy them both.
Would you spend $100 for a special piece of fruit? How about $1,000? In Japan, both of these prices are realistic when it comes to certain fruits like Yubari King melons and Sekai Ichi apples.
Sure, there are less expensive fruits available in Japan. But it would be tacky to give those as gifts to your hosts. Plus, they might have blemishes.
We don&rsquot actually recommend eating expensive fruit for dessert. Instead, take a photo of the price tag and tell your friends about it later.
Four mochi cakes are better than one in Japan.
Popular all year long but especially at New Year&rsquos celebrations, mochi cakes have been part of Japan&rsquos culinary culture for centuries. And, surprise surprise, mochi is yet another Japanese food inspired by China.
&rarr Discover 100 more of the best desserts around the world.
These tiny treats have a simple list of ingredients that includes rice, water, sugar, and cornstarch. However, mochi flavors run the gamut and include fillings like black sesame, chocolate, matcha, red bean, strawberry and vanilla.
Try mochi filled with ice cream for a refreshing dessert that won&rsquot melt in your hands.
Bars in Japan are a great place to drink while mingling with locals.
Considering the variety of Japanese food options, it only makes sense that Japan has a myriad of drinks both with and without alcohol.
These are our three favorite beverages to drink in Japan and the ones you shouldn&rsquot miss during your trip:
We encountered this matcha powder at a Tokyo sushi bar and put some on our sushi after confusing it with wasabi. We laughed in embarrassment upon being corrected by fellow patrons. We never made that kind of matcha mistake again.
More than just an ingredient in Kat-Kat bars and mochi cakes, matcha is the powder used to make Japan&rsquos most traditional green tea. Japanese people have been drinking this calming beverage for centuries and its culinary importance can&rsquot be overstated.
Food travelers can drink green tea for breakfast, with sushi or at a Japanese tea ceremony. They also order matcha frappuccinos at the country&rsquos ubiquitous Starbucks locations. In other words, green tea is anywhere and everywhere in Japan.
In addition to its many health benefits, matcha contains caffeine if that&rsquos important to you. (It certainly is to us.)
We drank this Japanese sake at Raku in Las Vegas.
Known as nihonshu in Japan, sake is Japan&rsquos second most popular alcoholic beverage after beer. Made with just four ingredients (rice, koji mold, water and yeast), sake is a fermented beverage. However, unlike wine and beer, sake is equally enjoyable to drink whether served cold or hot.
Although we imbibed sake at Japanese restaurants in Montreal, Las Vegas and Philadelphia prior to our first trip to Japan, we never truly appreciated the beauty of drinking quality sake until our kaiseki meal in Kyoto. What a revelation! It&rsquos no wonder that the Japanese have been drinking sake since the third century.
Sake is a great edible souvenir that you can drink at home and add to cocktail recipes.
37. Craft Beer
Beer Belly is our favorite craft beer bar in Osaka. The Tenma bar serves a variety of food as well as tasty brews produced by Osaka&rsquos Minoh Beer.
Beer has been popular in Japan since Dutch traders introduced the malty beverage back in the 17th century. A staple at izakayas and sporting events, beer is more popular than every other alcoholic beverage including sake.
While commodity Japanese beers like Asahi, Kirin and Sapporo are available at sushi bars around the world, these aren&rsquot the best beers to drink in Japan. Instead, beer enthusiasts can enjoy a growing selection of Japanese made craft beers like Minoh and Hitachino.
Craft beer isn&rsquot the only reason to frequent bars like at Beer Belly in Osaka. You can also enjoy local favorites like this plate of duck tataki.
We&rsquore pleased to report that both craft beer breweries and craft beer bars have grown in popularity since Japan deregulated beer production in 1994. Just like food, the Japanese make great craft beer that pairs well with Japanese snacks.
Say kanpai when when you toast in Japan. It&rsquos the Japanese equivalent to saying &lsquocheers&rsquo.
Massive cocktail pouches
Blue Amber Design KC/Shutterstock
The forced closure of bars and restaurants back in March led to many states legalizing to-go alcohol sales for the first time, turning every city into New Orleans. This led to places offering cocktails to go in massive 17-ounce (and sometimes even larger) pouches, much larger than a traditional drink serving, making this summer the summer of adult Capri Suns. Once you start drinking craft cocktails in the street, you can never go back.
AnkoJapanese Sweet Bean Paste
Rinse the beans in a colander. Place them in a large bowl with a plenty of water to cover the beans. Let them soak for 3 to 8 hours.
- Drain and place the beans in a deep pot with a plenty of water to cover the beans. Bring it to a boil. You will see a lot of foams forming on the surface. Put the beans in a colander and rinse them well with running water to remove foams. Clean the pot and fill with fresh water, place the beans back in a pot and bring it to a boil.
- Repeat step (1). This time after rinsing the beans, add 1300cc water( 5 + 2/3 cups) and bring it to a boil again. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally, or until the beans become so tender that you can break it with your tongue. (Be careful not to burn your tongue.) Add a little water as necessary. Stir more frequently toward the end.
- When the beans are completely soft add 1+1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer at low without a lid, stirring very frequently until the mixture becomes somewhat thick.
- If you can see the bottom of the pot when you scrape with a wooden spatula, it is ready to remove from heat. Paste will become harder as it cools. Keep it in the refrigerator overnight.
Japanese Sauces and Dressings
Japanese Restaurant Style Ginger Dressing
This is one of the most popular recipes on my blog. It’s also one of our favorite salad dressings. This Japanese carrot dressing is sweet and tangy which makes it the perfect accompaniment to cold vegetables.
Ponzu sauce is a mixture of soy sauce and ponzu, which is a citrus fruit similar to lemon. It’s often used as a salad dressing, dipping sauce or marinade.
Also called Japanese barbecue sauce, tonkatsu sauce is very smoky, sweet and savory. It’s used in the same as barbecue sauce is used in the US – for grilled meats, sandwiches, and as a dipping sauce.
Japanese tartar sauce is a little different than American tartar sauce in that boiled eggs and Japanese mayo – which has more umami – are used. The result is a sauce that’s more punchy and creamier in texture.
Last but not least, teriyaki sauce is Japan’s most famous export next to sushi. No explanation is needed aside from the fact that my version is less sweet and more savory. Give it a try, you’ll love it.
Types of Red Bean Paste
There are mainly two types of red bean paste in Chinese cuisine – mashed and smooth. The key difference is whether it contains the bean husk or not.
The mashed red bean paste is the most common for home cooking and is the one I include in the recipe below. You only need to boil the azuki beans with sugar until very soft, then smash them to the texture you prefer. The finished paste will have a consistent thick texture that is easy to shape, and contains some whole and broken beans.
The smooth red bean paste is a bit of a hassle to make and normally can just be purchased from a Chinese or Japanese market. For smooth paste, the azuki beans are boiled and mashed without adding sugar. The mashed beans are diluted into a slurry, then strained to remove the husk. To make the texture of bean paste smooth and gooey, a substantial amount of sugar and lard (or vegetable oil) will be blended into the paste. This is the reason you find that supermarket red bean paste has a better mouthfeel than the homemade kind.
If you cannot easily find pre-made red bean paste your local Asian market, I highly recommend you to make it at home. It is much healthier this way, and you can adjust the amount of sugar to your taste, and you can select high quality azuki beans to make the paste taste great.
I really, really wanted to make a durian mille crepe cake like the one I had in Malaysia, but nobody else wanted the house to stink. so I settled for making a mango version.
And before you ask, it's got 20 layers.
Mille crepes have been around for so long, it's about time I made one. It's also the first time I've made/ worked with gel paste as a decorating medium. I guess it could have gone worse. I'm a little out of piping practice too (the cakes I've been making over the last few months haven't required any intricate piping work, I'll need to crack out the dehydrated mashed potato and polish up my skills a bit when I have a moment).
You're going to need a bit of patience with this cake, as it takes time to make all the pancakes and layer them up, and some setting time for the cream too. Other than the time it takes, this is a pretty easy cake to make.
Remember, the size/ height of this cake will depend on the size of your frying pan. I used a relatively small one (about 6-7" in diameter).
-3tbsp caster sugar
-225g plain flour
-Pinch of salt
Ingredients for Mango Cream:
-300ml double cream, whipped until soft peaks form
-200ml fresh mango purée (rough, so there are still small chunks)
Ingredients for Piping Gel:
-2tbsp cold water
-4tbsp glucose syrup
-2tbsp mango purée (smooth)
-Extra water for thinning out
-200ml double cream, whipped until soft peaks form with:
-2tbsp caster sugar
1) Make the crepes first: whisk all the wet ingredients together in a jug and sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Gradually whisk wet intro dry until you have a smooth, runny batter.
2) Very lightly oil a small frying pan (I brush oil on with a bit of kitchen paper), and preheat on a low to medium heat (not too high, as you don't want to brown the crepes too much).
3) Pour in a little batter and swirl until the bottom of the pan is thinly coated (this takes a little practice to figure out the right amount for your pan). Cook for just a minute or two until dry, flip over, cook for another minute and put the crepe on a plate.
|You really don't want it to brown much at all.|
4) Repeat this until you have a stack of crepes (I had 20 perfect ones and three dodgy ones from the first few attempts).
5) Leave your crepe stack to cool completely. In the meantime, make the piping gel: stir the cornflour and water together until combined, then dissolve the syrup into the mixture. Microwave for a minute, stir, and if it's not completely translucent zap it again for another 30 seconds (mine just needed a minute).
7) To make the filling, fold the mang o purée into the cream. Assemble your crepe cake by taking a crepe and placing it on a serving plate, spreading 1tbsp mango cream thinly over it, covering it with another crepe, and continuing until all your crepes have been used up. Cover the top and sides with the remaining mango cream and smooth down the sides.