Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Food in Trend

I wrote a while ago about Japanese food nationalism, that some of the so-called, so-sold and so-thought Japanese food aren't really Japanese. Well, this morning it was in the news that Japanese food, particularly sushi is really really popular in Moscow (and probably other parts of Russia too). So many people dream to become a sushi chef (we calle them sushi shokunin) and have their restaurants, and so many more like to enjoy sushi even though sushi by no means is inexpensive there. The news also mentioned that there are competitions for sushi chefs, and the participants as well as their art and ideas are truly amazing.
The chef I saw in this feature makes a lot of his original menus that are, from a Japanese point of view, extremely unique and unimaginable in a positive sense. The one he showed was called "fusion sushi" and as far as I can remember it had sushi rice, almond, salmon and chocolate sauce. I don't know if this is counted as a dish or a dessert, but more than I can't distinguish which it belongs to, I can't imagine what it tastes like. It sounds impossible, but since he came up with the idea and the final menu over several trials (I assume), and because there are people who like his other creative menus I bet it tastes pretty good.
I did say that authenticity is a difficult issue to talk about once something leaves its native origin and especially if it wants to be accepted from the destination it lands. But developing and changing is always a part of adjusting and adapting, of evolution in a way so I'd say this sushi chef's fusion sushi is something good. I even feel like it's outside of the authenticity issue. One of the judges for the sushi competition, an experienced Japanese sushi chef, praised the ideas of the fusion sushi chef that they are innovative, and also commented that sushi or whatever the food is should flexibly adapt to the culture it travels to.
Switching the subject to trendy food in Japan: doughnuts

It's not like we never had doughnuts before, but doughnuts are people's favorites these days. I mentioned Krispy Kreme Doughnuts causing a crazy fad in Tokyo, well, the fad and the crazy popularity of its glazed doughnuts kind of stimulated the other doughnut shops and now there's a doughnut battle emerging (not that it's that visible).The hottest doughnuts these days are the mochi-mochi doughnuts. It isn't the name of a particular doughnut or a brand, but is the name for doughnuts that have mochi-mochi texture. Mochi-mochi is an onomatopoeia for this texture that is sticky, glutinous, kind of opposite of crisp... how should I explain... I think the expression comes from "mochi", Japanese rice cake even though I don't think it's cakelike at all. Kind of like the texture of tapioka. Anyway, the mochi-mochi doughnuts are doughnuts that have a slightly glutinous texture when you eat them and they're good :-) Um, I can't describe any further in words... maybe you'd like a look at this website:
Mister Donut (Japanese)

Today's update on Japan Mode: Cherry Blossom Festivals in northern Japan

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