Do you know the beauty of Washoku?
Washoku is known for being healthy, its taste bringing out the best flavor of the ingredients and it has a beautiful presentation, but there are more highlights. There are a wide variety art of cooking in Washoku including ones that are “grilled”, “cooked in broth” and “deep-fried” , as well as “sashimi”, “fermented food” and “stir-fried”. This is because Washoku is developed in different areas of Japan with local specialties and seasonal ingredients, and the food culture varies from one area to another across Japan. In addition, there are Japanese dishes uniquely developed from foreign cuisines such as curry and rice and ramen.
The beauty of Washoku is this wide variety, but it is also worth noticing other small details of Washoku such as the cooking process and utensils that chefs use.
This article of IS JAPAN COOL? introduces Washoku appealing to the five senses and includes unique sights and sounds that can be experienced in the process of cooking. The video cannot let you actually feel and taste the food, but we hope it will show you the depth and the variation of Washoku.
“Tempura”, the popping sound lets you know the best timing to eat
Among all Washoku, one of the most popular is tempura. It is a dish where seasonal ingredients such as seafood including fish and shellfish and wild plants are coated with the batter made from eggs, flour and water and deep-fried.
Mr. Yoshiaki Shimizu, the master of a tempura restaurant “Seiju” located near Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, loves sesame so much that he became a professional tempura chef, cooking tempura in a large amount of sesame oil.
When deep-frying tempura, the pitch of the popping sound of oil goes up higher and higher.
By using five senses such as the sound of oil, the weight of the ingredient in the oil, how the bubbles are coming out, how the ingredient is floating and how it feels when touching it with chopsticks, Mr. Shimizu takes the tempura out of the oil at the perfect time when it tastes the best.
Seiju selects and buys the best ingredients to suit the time and season and they actually sample the ingredients to make sure that they are satisfied with the taste before serving them to the customers. We suggest you see the details that the professional chef pays close attention to on the video in “IS JAPAN COOL?”
“Vinegar”, a vital seasoning ingredient for Washoku
Rice vinegar plays an essential role in Japanese food including seasoning Shari (rice) for sushi.
The vinegar maker Iio Jozo in Miyazu, the town with the famous scenic spot “Amanohashidate” is located, about 2 hours ride by train from Kyoto.
Seeking the best flavor of vinegar and its safety, Iio Jozo makes rice, the basic ingredient of vinegar, by themselves and even has a sake storehouse to make sake or rice wine which is the intermediate process of making vinegar. From rice to sake, and then sake to vinegar, it is very unique even in Japan for a maker to handle all the process from making the ingredients of vinegar to making the finished product.
This video shows how rice vinegar is made after a long process with an explanation from Mr. Akihiro Iio, the fifth head of the maker, on what he focuses on when making rice vinegar.
A tour *to see the process of making vinegar is available at Iio Jozo
*See the website of IS JAPAN COOL? for details.
What is “IS JAPAN COOL?” ?
This is a community site where ANA, the Japanese airline companies, introduces the COOL culture of Japan from their unique viewpoint. So far, we have introduced themes including “Tokyo”, “Okinawa”, “Kawaii”, “Cosplay”, “Traditions”, “Shopping”, “Ramen” and “Anime”.
This is the content requiring participation where the essence of cool represented by each theme is introduced in a short video and viewers rate Japan from a viewpoint of visitors from overseas with a COOL or NOT SO COOL button,.
So far, what has been rated as COOL includes “Japanese hospitality”, “Hi-tech toilet”, “Toybox kawaii shop shows people power”, “Hot spring” and “Cool terrace in Kyoto summer”. Ranked highest as COOL was “Japanese hospitality” and the videos watched the most were “Discover” and “Traditions” (as of February, 2015)
Let’s go experience Washoku with ANA
For many people, the in-flight meals of ANA might be the first experience of tasting Washoku. Business class meals are produced by “THE CONNOISSEURS”, a team specialized in in-flight meals that consists of distinguished chefs and ANA’s exclusive chefs. You can enjoy a specially prepared course meal of Washoku which will be delicious on the airplane.
In addition, “Daichi (soybean flavored ramen)” and “Soraton (pork flavored ramen)”, both of which from a popular ramen restaurant “Ippudo”, are provided as a snack in business class and first class on flights to and from Europe, North America and Asia. This special menu has been made only for the in-flight meal and is not available at any Ippudo restaurants in the world including overseas and Japan.
*Based on the information as of March, 2015. The content of the menu and the flight route this menu is provided in are subject to change.
Japan has many places where you can enjoy delicious food including Hokkaido with delicious seafood, Osaka the food town and Fukuoka popular with stalls. If you want to travel through Japan to find delicious food, you cannot go without a reasonable ticket “Experience JAPAN Fare” *exclusive to visitors from overseas.
This is a super reasonable ticket with which you can use all the domestic flights in Japan that ANA operates for 10,800yen per flight. This ticket is available not only for flights that fly in and out of major airports including Haneda (Tokyo) and Itami (Osaka) but also for flights between Sapporo (Hokkaido) and Okinawa. Therefore it is even possible to enjoy a bowl dish with fresh seafood on top in Hokkaido for breakfast and healthy Okinawan cuisine in Okinawa at night. The airfare for a flight between Sapporo and Okinawa is usually from 44,000yen to 73,200yen, so you can see how reasonable this ticket is. (Standard airfare as of March 31, 2015)
*The following three requirements must be met to use “Experience JAPAN Fare” :
1. You live outside of Japan.
2. You have a nationality and a passport of a country other than Japan.
3. You have a round-trip airplane ticket to Japan.