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“Taste of Japan”

Devour the 'SHUN'


While many people travel for various purposes from sightseeing, business, leisure, concert tours to shopping, I believe eating is definitely a significant part of the trip for many travelholics like myself. Searching for the perfect place and right food to fill in your rumbling stomach can be as important as finding your way through a maze of buildings and people who speak a different language, and as exciting as meeting and communicating with new people. Food can enrich your travel experience.

To help out travelers, there are dozens and hundreds of books and sites that tell you cultural and local dishes and recommended restaurants from affordable eatouts to places with once-in-a-lifetime prices. Some curious adventurers prefer just walking around and see what's out there. Either way, and not to forget those who do some grocery shopping in the local supermarket, it always helps to know what the seasonal foodstuff is, right?

Japan is a country of distinctive seasons, and these seasonal differences and varied geography from north to south, sea to mountains provide abundant food all year round. If you're still wavering over choosing a destination, taking into consideration where you can try out your favorite and/or local interesting food can also help you on your decision.

Here is a little guide to seasonal food in Japan. The food introduced here are not necessarily something unique to Japan, but you can get an idea of how they can be cooked and served in Japanese dishes.
Before you head for the eatouts, check out the delicacies of the season from vegetables, fruit to fish!


June - vol.1 -

Shiso (Japanese Basil)

- season:
June to September

- characteristic:
Shiso is a kind of herb leaf and can roughly be divided into two types, red and green (although referred to as blue in Japanese). The red ones are used as dye and seasoning, and is perhaps most known as the red dye for 'umeboshi' (Japanese pickled plum). Green leaves on the other hand, is used as sweet herb often served with sashimi or in tempura. The seeds are also edible.

- served...
leaves: with sashimi, with umeboshi, as tempura, as juice, as seasoning in various dishes
seed: oil, pickles, tsukudani (a cooking method boiling with soy sauce)

- main producing districts:
Aichi, Hokkaido, Kyoto

Endoh-mame (Sugar Peas)

- season:
April to early June

- characteristic:
Several kinds of sugar peas including kinusaya a thin kind which you eat the pod and peas together, snap endoh, greenpeas and others come in season in early summer. Endoh-mame is especially rich in food fiber, carotene, kalium, protein, vitamin B, etc. and is known to be the health food.

- served...
as pea-rice (boiled together with rice), as Japanese soup, as stir-fry, etc.

- main producing districts:
Kagoshima, Wakayama, Fukushima, Aichi

Sora-mame (Broad Bean)

- season:
April to June

- characteristic:
Although it does not originate in Japan, broad beans have taken root on Japan as a very popular snack to have with beer in summer. Many prefer to peel the skin and just eat the beans, but some just eat with the skin.

- served...
salt-boiled, as stir-fry, bean-rice (boiled together with rice), soup, etc.

- main producing districts:
Kagawa, Miyagi, Chiba

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