Monday, January 17, 2005

koreean barbeque

we had a work dinner last night, spent quite a bit of time talkingabout kanji and japanese language. really interesting; ohkawa-sanexplained to me that the kanji in japan, korea and china is broadlythe same, as a result japanese can read chinese. the difference isthat the pronounciation is different. there are three levels ofmeaning - the symbol, the meaning and the pronounciation. i'm stillconfused, but it makes a bit more sense. i'm wondering if i shouldtry and learn some while i am over here?

other interesting thing is that a lot of the kanji adopts is shapefrom the subject that it is representing. for example, as with mostjapanese names, ohkawa's name means something; in his case it means'big river'.

on the food side of life, we had some korean barbeque last night;you've heard quite a bit about this already, but one thing that wasinteresting; we had a bean sprout (mung bean?) starter. i neverrealised, but the if the bean is left to sprout, it actually formsalmost a peanut like form at the base of the sprout. to me, thisactually tastes of peanut! it is a really nice dish and should besimple to make - we should check it out.

i haven't found anything on the web that talks to this point, but thefollowing page talks about sprouts:

something that i have been trying to learn over the last weeks isabout the soya bean - ( - ineed to dig into the joy of cooking and find out what the exactprocess is that can make a soya bean anything from sauce to miso totofu ...

questions, questions, questions ...

Thursday, January 13, 2005

chinese ramen

continuing this month's trip into japan food - as is the japanese way,i didn't get out of the office last night until 11pm, taro was stillworking and needed to come back so we decided to go for quick noodlesin a bar close to work. this decision was despite the fact that we'dalready gone to our favourite ramen noodle bar for lunch - the "ringerhut".

ramen is such an interesting food, as you know from tampopo and taro'sdiscussion about his and his brother's philosophy, ramen is deeplyrevered in japan. the bar that we went to last night operates in akind of niche, serving Chinese noodles. the essential difference hereis that the noodles are spicy. i do not normally associate Chinesefood with spice, but this is due to the fact that we mostly eatCantonese (south west) and Beijing (north) influenced food in thewest. other parts of china in fact have highly spicy food. when thechinese first came to japan, they came from the mountanous parts ofTibet (Titsen (sp)). this is one such region with spicy food.

the meal i had is called "tantanmen" (the "men" bit means noodles;hence ramen). it consists of thin noodles (overly thin for taro'sphilosophy and i have to admit not my favourite ... i don't have a philosophy yet!) served in a mild to hot soup according to taste. thesoup is left to cook over a full day, when you order a bowl, thenoodle is added to the soup to cook and served immediately. it wasvery good. two glasses of water and we were off in our separatedirections.

for more info:

chanko nabe

hey b, furthering my gastro tours; taro and myself went out to anizakaya last night for a meal called chanko nabe. this is traditionalmeal (more of a cooking method / philosophy) that is served to sumowrestlers. the usual gas burner is placed on the table with a potfull of cold water / broth and an assortment of fish, meats,vegetables (you know; the usual). this cooks over the period of about20 minutes at which point you eat all the main foods. you are leftwith the broth at which point you put in rice and egg (the restaurantwas out of rice - can you believe it? - so we had udon noodles). oncethese are cooked (signified by the egg cooking) you then eat the brothand rice as a was fantastic - captures the usual japanese approach to food -nothing wasted and very nourishing ...later, coops

check out:

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

for starters ...

i am sure that i will end up rewriting this in months to come; looking back and laughing at what i thought the blog would be (if it still exists). in the meantime - zarzamora began life while i was visiting tokyo. it was based on emails to blancs and a couple of friends. after a while, i got quite enthusiastic about the writing and decided to set up a blog so that i could at least record the mails that i had sent for future reference. it kind of grew from that.

i guess the main idea behind the blog is whether it is possible to learn how to cook simply by paying attention to what i do in the kitchen. there is a reason behind all this, but for the moment it will remain unknown (can you feel the suspense?).

so ~ every dish, all the preparation, every failed attempt ~ i won't document it all, but i'll at least try and think about them and investigate them sufficiently to gain some knowledge and hopefully pass on the more interesting ones ... enjoy & feedback to me your thoughts ...