Monday, February 4, 2008

Japanese food


< -It may not look great but I made one of my typical Japanse menus.
There are many Japanese restaurants in Seattle area. If I include Teriyaki restaurants, there will be even more. I searched Japanese restaurant using Seattle City search. (http://seattle.citysearch.com/find/section/seattle/restaurants.html) I tried to search Japanese restaurant within 1 mile of Seattle downtown neighborhood. The City search found 55 Japanese restaurants. How about another ethnic food which is very popular to American? I tried Italian. I found 50 restaurants 5 less than Japanese using the same criteria. What does it mean? Japanese restaurants must be more popular than Italian? People don’t know how to cook Japanese food by themselves so they go out for Japanese? Or people think Japanese food is healthier than others, such as hamburger with French fries? Or Japanese food is really popular among Seattle residents?
I seldom go out to eat at Japanese restaurants. Being Japanese, I am picky about Japanese food. I am often disappointed after having Japanese dishes at the restaurants. It could be because I go to inexpensive Japanese restaurant. Once a while I found Japanese restaurants which I like their seasoning. I like Tsukushinbo in Chinatown and Haruko at Mercer Island.
I love cooking and my American born family (my husband and two teenagers) prefers my cooking to going out. Some of my American friends asked me what I cook for dinner and if I always cook Japanese. I don’t cook Teriyaki or Sushi often as American people think. I cook American, Mexican, Italian, Chinese, and more. I often have cooked rice though. When I cook Japanese dinner, I serve cooked rice with main dish made of meat or fish, cooked vegetable such as boiled spinach, and salad or fresh vegetable with sometimes Miso soup. If you pay attention what Japanese restaurants serve, you will notice they consist of Meat or fish, vegetables and cooked rice. One thing which I didn’t like about Japanese restaurant's combination plates is that they often include the both Sushi and cooked rice. I prefer one or another not the both. The worst thing is that I will eat the both. I hate waste food especially rice. My mother used to tell me if you waste rice, you will be blind. This is a prejudice remark. It was many years ago in Japan. I was young and ignorant. My mother told me she was very embarrassed that I had seen a blind person and asked her if he wasted his rice.
My older son often eats left-over rice with hot water(Japanese use hot green tea) and Japanese dried seasoning to make Ochazuke for his breakfast. Japanese people may think it is little strange having Ochazuke for breakfast. I grew up in Japan. My breakfast was a thick slice of toast with butter and homemade Jam and a cup of coffee. My parents in Japan seem to have the both toast and Japanese style breakfast (Rice, Miso soup, fish or ham, vegetables) together. If you stay in nice hotels in Japan which offer breakfast buffet, you will find the both western and Japanese breakfast dishes such as bread, cooked eggs, Bacon Ham, Roasted fish, vegetables, fruit juice, Milk, coffee and green tea.
I often meet Americans who are interested in learning Japanese language or visiting Japan. They love eating Sushi and have their favorite Japanese restaurants. Some Japanese food such as Teriyaki was transformed to meet American taste. For example, Teriyaki served as fast food is the North west American version of Teriyaki which is sweeter than Japanese traditional Teriyaki. Seattle residents seem to love Teriyaki. Teriyaki is inixpensive and usually fast to be served.
Although they don't serve traditional Japanese Teriyaki, I missed Teriyaki restaurants when I passed by Wyoming and Montana where I hardly find good Asian restaurants. At least in Seattle, I can find Teriyaki restaurant easily.

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