Last weekend, I finished reading Matthew Amster-Burton’s Pretty Good Number One, a travelogue slash memoir slash love letter to Japanese food. Funded by a Kickstarter campaign, it’s a book I’m sad to say I missed getting on board with, but I’ve now done my part by putting down $4.99 on Amazon. More on the book in second, but needless to say, it was the inspiration for the chicken katsu we had last night for dinner and for the asparagus w/ sesame-miso vinaigrette in today’s post.
Posts tagged ‘Japanese’
On Saturday, I texted my mom: “We’re at Obon in Seattle!”
It’s kind of crazy that we’ve lived in Seattle for almost 5 years and never been to the Obon festival here. Or as Seattle calls it, Bon Odori. It’s a Buddhist festival of remembrance, but for me, it’s always been more of a cultural event than a religious one. As a kid, Obon was synonymous with summer and it was about teri burgers and wontons and Okinawa dango and corn on the cob and snow cones and winning goldfish at carnival games and watching the bon dancing. And pretty much it still is. Even in a different city. You just don’t realize until you’re an adult how much those simple things connect you to so many other people.
Some nights you just need a little detox, a light dinner to take the edge off days-in-a-row of too much rich food, or a little too much imbibing. OJ calls that meal, “Japanese Dinner.” It’s clean — simply cubed tofu topped with green onions and drizzled with soy sauce, served with rice and quick pickled cucumbers.
Is it Japanese? Yes, but it’s probably Korean and Chinese, too. It took David Chang to tell me, “Hey, why don’t you make that with noodles instead of rice? And add some ginger, too.” And Japanese Dinner, Momofuku style was born.
It’s perfect for a personal detox or just on a damn hot day. I know there have to be a few of those ahead of us this summer. On the noodles, some soba has a horrifying amount of sodium. I use Hakubaku brand, which is made in Australia, but is available locally in Seattle at both PCC and Uwajimaya. I’ve never seen their ramen here, which, I love you guys, but “Japan-easy.” Really?!!
The usukuchi (light soy sauce) you can do without, low-sodium shoyu works as well and no HFCS.
If you ever want to know the backstory on a fruit, David Karp is your man. Last year, he wrote about the arrival of the dekopon, a Japanese variety of mandarin, just entering the market in California and I was all over my local stores in Washington trying to see if they’d carry them. No such luck.
So when Karp heralded the arrival of this year’s dekopons, marketed as “Sumo Citrus,” in last week’s LA Times food section and it coincided with a trip down south to visit a friend, I knew we had to find a Whole Foods in her neighborhood.
If there’s a Starbucks on every corner in Seattle, right next to it is a teriyaki shop. We have more teriyaki joints (most of them unmemorable) around here than any other place I’ve ever lived. In fact, there’s one right next door to Aloha Ramen, which just seems crazy to me. But there’s no contest — you want to go to Aloha Ramen. You think you want chicken teriyaki? No, no, you want karaage, Japanese fried chicken, right next door.