Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category

Fugu, The Poisonous Fish Japanese Are Dying To Eat – Japan

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Some of the Fugu’s (or Blowfish) internal parts (ovaries, liver, intestines) and the skin and eyes are 1200 times more poisonous than cyanide which means, chefs that deal with the fish must have gone through intensive training and earned a special license. In Tokyo they will be relaxing that law in October to allow izakayas and even supermarkets to buy and sell already pre-prepared fugu. I am not a big fan of this ugly, prized fish, after tasting many styles of cooking including Sashimi (raw) to judge from. Apart from its slightly crunchy texture I find it quite tasteless, although texture and consistency can be more important to Japanese than taste in some instances, and I suppose the element of danger when eating it counts for something.  My first experience was in Osaka where they have many Fugu restaurants.  It is the only dish that cannot be served to the Emperor!

A little off topic but . . . my daughter really enjoyed eating tentacles from a live squid below:

Robata RuBi An – Yonago, Japan

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Robata RuBi An
52 Chamachi, Yonago, Tottori
Tel. (81) 08 59 32 0021
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 18:00-22:00; Closed Sunday

Mr. Hirofumi Gion took over his father’s coffee house and made it into a Robata-style restaurant, specializing in fresh seafood, as he had the foresight to see that too many coffee shops would be opening in the area. He only offers daily catches of fresh seafood and when the catch runs out – he closes.


Agora Restaurant, Yonago – Japan

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Agora Restaurant

Nogawa Bldg. 1st Flr., 14 Chamachi, Yonago, Tottori
Tel. 0859-32-2267
Opening Hours: 11:30 – 14:00  18:00 – 21:30 Closed Monday

Agora is a fairly recent addition to the dining scene in Yonago, along with Cous-Cous and some others. It is a one man operation with the chef acting also as waiter, wine steward, table runner, pantry man, and dishwasher. Granted, it is one of many chef owned micro-restaurants popping up all over Japan and only has five seats at the counter in front of the open kitchen and one table seating a maximum of four however, it takes a lot of precision to get all of the timing right – and he does. The cooking is very good and as I have just stated, there was no real waits for courses to arrive. Bravo!


Mos Burger, Japanese Burgers, Targets Korean Market – Japan

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Mos Burger, established in 1972 operates outside of Japan in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and now Korea.  Mos Burger was the first to develop the teriyaki burger and a burger using a bun made out of  rice (rice burger).

Korea has two distinct markets for burgers: the inexpensive fast-food market dominated by McDonald’s and the upper-tier burgers captured by Kraze Burger; Mos Burger is going to position itself somewhere in the center of these two groups.

Japanese Are Making Some Outstanding Cheese & Wine Too! – Japan

Monday, November 14th, 2011


Pictured above: goat cheese to be wrapped in shiso leaves

I have been following the evolution of Japan’s artisanal cheese production, which keeps increasing each year as Japanese are learning about wine and how well it pairs with cheese. Japan has been producing wine and cheese in small quantities for many years now. They offer goat cheese wrapped in shiso leaves appealing to the Japanese market, as well as a selection of French classics.

Japanese Should Take Advantage And Eat the Bounty of Wild Game Killed as Pests – Japan

Monday, October 10th, 2011

OPENharvest:  An Art project in Oakland, CA by OPENrestaurant (see

An amazingly large number, more than 450,000 wild deer and boar are killed as pests each 
year in Japan for the damage they cause to rice field and other crops. But even harder to believe, is that only 10%
 of this wild game is eaten. With the performance of Nippon Gibier, chefs from
 OPEN Harvest and chef Fujiki will spit roast several whole wild boar over charcoal. A demonstration of the butchering of a whole deer will be accompanied by a video of 
the deconstruction of a whole maguro (tuna) drawing a comparison between two wild foods. They also hope to play a video of the hunt and capture of the very same wild deer and boar on a large screen.

Japanese: “It Is Our Cultural Right To Eat Whale” – Japan

Friday, October 7th, 2011

VIDEO Sea Shepherd Ship Rams Japanese Whaling Ship

The Sea Shepherd (a conservation society) has again launched Operation Divine Wind, which is the common translation for Kamakaze. Japan’s Asahi News has confirmed that in December 2011 the Japanese whaling fleet intends to resume whaling in the Southern Ocean International Whale Sanctuary. This according to Sea Shepherd’s founder Paul Watson is an insult, after anti-whale hunting nations contributed so much to help Japan in their time of need during the tsunami that caused the Fukushima – Daiichi disaster. Read more here

Below is the end result: Sashimi of Antarctic Whale being served in a Tokyo restaurant.

Photograph by Koji Sasahara, AP








Matsusake Mushrooms, Autumn Is Here! – Japan

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

By Emi Kagawa

The Matsutake Mushroom is not so much about taste as it is fragrance, it has a very faint, in some cases, almost indistinguishable earthy, pine scent. They are hard to find and are usually hidden under leaves at the foot of a pine tree. Each year it is becoming harder to find enough of them in Japan to meet demand, to supplement the supply they are also gathered in Korea, China and the Pacific Northwest coast of North America.

Prince Hotels, Japan

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

Prince 1

Prince 2

Prince 3


Michelin Guide Director Jean-Luc Naret Resigns, Five New 3-Star Michelin Restaurants Added in Japan

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe (Image Credit: ©Michelin Guide 2011)

Two important announcements have been made recently from the Michelin Guide:

(1) Jean-Luc Naret will step down from his official post as director of Michelin Guides at the end of the year, he will remain as a consultant for some time afterward.

(2) Five more restaurants have been added to the Japan Michelin 3-star roster recently as the French guide gives top billing to two establishments in Kobe, one in Kyoto and two in Osaka.
The winners are Ca Sento and Komago in Kobe, Nakamura in Kyoto, and Kashiwaya and Taian in Osaka. That brings the total for the cities to 12. Another 44 restaurants and two ryokans (or Japanese-style inns) win two stars as Michelin adds Kobe to the guide for the first time.

Japan is challenging France in terms of three-star restaurants. Factor in the 11 such awards in Tokyo last year and the current total for Japan is 23, compared with 26 in France. The next Tokyo guide is scheduled for Nov. 24, and the addition of the cities of Yokohama and Kamakura suggests further gains.
“It’s always difficult to compare countries in terms of gastronomy and I’m not even going to go there,” Jean-Luc Naret, director of the Michelin guides, said last night, “But in Japan, the quality and consistency of the produce is absolutely incredible. And the chefs transmit their skills from one generation to the next.
“Some of the restaurants are centuries old and in others there are younger chefs who are using the skills they have inherited to try something new,” he said. “To anyone who questioned that Japan could be that good, I’d say just take a plane and come experience these restaurants. They deserve to be recognized.”

The usual Michelin criteria is used for awarding stars no matter what country or city: product quality, preparation and flavors, the chef’s personality as revealed through his cuisine, value for money and consistency over time and across the entire menu, Michelin said. The criteria are adapted to each type of cuisine, notably Japanese cooking styles.