There isn’t anything called “french fries” in Japan’s MacDonalds menus. Instead you will find a word “ポテト”, which is a direct english translation for the word “Potato”. Perhaps because they have difficulties translating it into hiragana. Japanese has weak tolerance against spicyness and that explains why they only serve ketchup without chilli. As I don’t really fancy ketchup, I have been eating MacDonalds without any sauce since I arrived in Japan 2 years ago….
Luckily, we still use the word “french fries” for french fries. The only difference is the kind of sauce we have in Singapore. As compared to Japan, Singapore’s MacDonalds does provides a great varieties of sauce, e.g ketchup, chilli sauce, sweet chilli sauce ….
The most common way Singaporeans counts the bills is by folding all of them into halves and count using two fingers brushing the notes upwards. (Too bad, I will find a illustration soon !). If you go to any part of Singapore, most of the vendors will first keep your note and return you the change later.
Just as what the Singaporeans are doing, most of the shops in Japan will give you the change first before keeping the note. Perhaps it is a way of politeness and service so that the customers does not need to wait too long for the change. Also, they have a particular “counting money in your face”, to make sure you got all your changes. Well, watch the 2nd method of counting in the video, it is exactly the way they count the monies.
When there is something which is unwanted, you can just sell it to the Garang guni man that “patrol” around the neighborhood, who will sounds a bell while on the patrol. The Garang guni man will then examine the used items and will offers you an unexpectedly low price for the goods, which in most of the case we will accept as the used items means not value to us anymore. Perhaps a dollar or two.
The scenes are quite different as compared to Singapore. Japan has a set of recycle laws that prohibits it people from throwing off used items unnecessary, especially on electrical appliances. Instead of getting paid for your used items, you would have to pay certain amount of money, considerable high to get rid of it. For instance, a 60cm x 60cm x 60cm mini refrigerator would cost around 2,500 yen to be disposed, while the refrigerators alone cost only 5,000 yen. Weird ?
This is one of the food that represents Osaka – Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き）, which is like a cabbage pancake fried over a Teppan (Hot plate). Though the cooking method is the same, there are many kinds of fillings and sauces you can choose from. I went to a shop in Namba with one of my taiwanese friend (Who discontinued her studies and went back to Taiwan) and she was saying that this shop has been around for decades and their cooking style are a bit different from other shops. So let take a peek at their making process…
Osaka Botejyu （大阪ぼてぢゅう）
Making process of a Okonomiyaki
A cabbage mixture is placed on the Teppan as base, and the shrimp on top.
Next, the bacons are placed in, which the cabbage mixture comes in again.
Spreading it evenly, to make sure it looks round & (yummy)
Say ‘Cheese!’ Close up view of Mr. Okonomiyaki
Last but not the least, an egg is beaten on the top to serve as the crust. Please note that in other shops, eggs are usually not added in. That is why we called this shop a bit of special. Served with shop specialty sweet sauce and Mayonnaise.
When you first sees the word ‘curry’, which taste would come to your mind first ? Spicy right ? Well, if you have not eaten before Japanese-style curry, it is not spicy at all, in fact, I would say it is tends to be sweet. Japanese themselves possess a weak tastebud for spicy food that they have adapt most of their cuisine to suits the mild tastebud.
The 1st curry house I visited was Fukujima Top Grade Curry House (福島上等カレー) and there wasn’t any waiters bringing over the menu, instead you could just simply purchased the tickets of the dish which you preferred through the ticket vending machine. I think it is really good for travelers who had difficulties speaking Japanese.
This is the one I have ordered – pork cutlet curry rice. The special part was the pork cutlet is deep fried and then curry gravy is poured over the rice and the cutlet itself.
In order to ‘excite’ my tastebud, I challenged on the hot spice powder which can be found laterally on the table. The instructions reads … “It will become one time spicier after one shake.” I did 7-8 times and I can feel the kick coming in. Sorry, can I have more water please ?
Motsunabe (もつ鍋) is another Japanese-style hot pot similar to Shabu shabu (しゃぶしゃぶ), with the main difference in ingredients, which are beef or pork offal. The soup is put to boil with the offal, together with vegetables to complete the dish.
It becomes from this…
VVVVV VVVV VVV VV V
to this !
The taste ? It is like eating chewing gum but in the end part, you would need to force it down your throat. In order to smoother your throat, best is to down it with a beer ! It might not be as bad as I have described though, but for those who hates or dare not eat offal, you have just missed a japanese cuisine.
As mentioned by one of my teachers, Motsunabe (もつ鍋) was popular among normal salary men because it was inexpensive. Normally these guys would gather together after work, where they will start to eat and drink the night away …
Shabu shabu (しゃぶしゃぶ）is a variant of Japanese-style hot pot, which are available all year round, though it is eaten mostly during winter times to keep away the coldness. Most of these restaurants operates like buffet, houdai (放題) which allows you to have free flow of ingredients for 90 mins or 2 hours, depending on the restuarant itself. In addition, they also have a la carte menus which can be included in the buffet course, of course at additional charges.
There are many style of soup base available and the one shown below is so-called yin-yang pot, where one is spicy while the other is just plain chicken stock.
Let’s introduce the ingredients used… Usually thin slices of meat and veggies varieties. You can try all the veggies into the pot at first as it takes a longer time to cook. As for the meat, after the soup start boiling, dip the meat until medium rare and it is ready to be eaten, (not true for chicken meat though). It is quite a Japanese culture to eat a half-cooked meat and so don’t be surprised by that !
Oh, nearly forgot about it. You need to dip it in sauces, called tare (たれ), which would make the food much more tastier. Usually used are gomatare (ゴマたれ), which is sesame sauce or ponzu (ポン酢), orange juices with vinegar. (Sorry, I will make up the photos for the sauces again.)
To prove that it is delicious, look at the mess we made in the restaurant ! Well, there are 2-3 big eaters around, and the waitress make it in time to do the clean up.
Sorry guys, I was slacking around too long that I did not even bothered to update my blog !!! Just joking, busy recently and had little time to linger with my blog. So today I am going to talked about the food culture in Osaka. Simple to say, as listed below …