What’s for Dinner?

Japanese Set Meal at Yayoiken (やよい軒) in Tokyo, Japan

The Menu

  • Sukiyaki beef
  • Grilled mackerel
  • Steamed chicken and seaweed
  • Noodles with nuts and Japanese mustard spinach
  • Miso soup
  • Cooked rice

The price of the set meal is 890 yen (tax included).

The Best Dish to Order on Any Sushi Menu Is Probably the Chirashi

Missy Frederick wrote . . . . . . . . .

Ambitious, deep-pocketed, serious sushi fans always order the omakase experience (the chef’s tasting menu) when they go to a sushi restaurant. Enthusiastic, open-minded sushi fans on a journalist’s salary (like me) order the chirashi bowl instead.

Chirashi, a collection of sliced sashimi set atop a bowl of carefully prepared sushi rice and garnished with a variety of extra touches, is a fixture of most sushi restaurant menus. Often costing about $18 to $30 (depending on the price range of the restaurant and what part of the country you’re in), it’s not a menu item one would describe as “cheap eats,” but it’s my go-to move, a more affordable way to experience some of the freshest fish the restaurant has to offer. And like a chef’s omakase, it also gives you a window into their particular style and talents: what garnishes they choose to use, whether they’re homemade pickles, rolled omelet, tiny vegetables and herbs, or bejeweled heaps of roe.

I love ordering the chirashi bowl to get an initial impression of a restaurant during a first visit — there’s a sense of adventure as you wait to see which fish selection will grace your plate, even though the dish itself feels comforting and familiar. But the chirashi bowl is even a better tool at restaurants where you want to become a regular. Once you build a relationship with a restaurant or particular sushi chef, sit at the sushi counter, and you’ll find that the chef might be inclined to send along something rare or special in your bowl. Chefs are usually more willing to customize chirashi bowls to your needs (I’m not a whelk fan, and the kind chef at the sushi bar down the street is happy to leave it off my chirashi).

Keep in mind your lunch or dinner doesn’t have to consist exclusively of chirashi. I usually order a few nigiri as an appetizer to get a sense of a chef’s skills in that department, especially if there are interesting-looking specials on the chalkboard (bonus points if the restaurant makes a good live scallop). If you really want some sort of festive roll to complete your experience, have one on the side. That flexibility is another hallmark of the chirashi bowl: As someone who’s generally more interested in the fish than the rice (but who doesn’t want to totally forgo well-executed sushi rice in favor of straight sashimi), I can also customize each bite as I eat it, usually leaving some rice behind.

There’s a time and place for the omakase experience: an anniversary, a visit to Japan, a splurge meal in a major city. But the beauty of the chirashi bowl is that it requires no special occasion at all.

Source: Eater

In Pictures: Food of Café Pushkin in Moscow, Russia

Russian French Cuisine

The Restaurant

Brick Oven-baked Pancake with Fresh Cream and Honey

The souffle-like fluffy pancake is available at Sushiro stores in Japan for 300 yen plus tax.

In Singapore, a Spanish Tapas Restaurant Teaches Diners about Japanese Sake

Lilit Marcus wrote . . . . . . . . .

The island city-state of Singapore may be small, but it’s known for exceptional food you can’t find anywhere else in the world.

What other places might call fusion is what Singaporeans just call food — the country’s mix of Malaysian, Chinese, Indian and British cultures have resulted in a wide range of culinary combos.

At Singapore restaurant Bam!, two other cultures have been melded into a new cuisine — Japanese and Spanish.

There, chef de cuisine Li Si and the rest of the team combine Japanese style, Spanish flavors and elegant presentation for a truly one-of-a-kind dining experience.

The restaurant’s ethos is “modern shudo,” or “the contemporary way of sake enjoyment.”

That means that sake isn’t just in a glass — it’s on the plate, too.

“We do actually use a lot of sake in our food,” says chef Si. “For making sauces, in our dressings.”

She says it’s common for guests to compliment a certain dish, ask questions about how it is made, and then express surprise that sake is an ingredient.

Staff members can answer questions about sake and recommend different varieties that diners might like to try alongside their meal. Luckily, with an 80-bottle deep sake list, there’s plenty to choose from.

One of the popular dishes at Bam! is an abalone congee with espardenyes. This ultra-rich dish mixes Asian favorites (abalone and congee, a rice-based porridge) with Spanish espardenyes, aka sea cucumbers.

The broth is made with dashi and the dish is finished off with jellied disks of salted egg yolk, crispy “egg floss” and spring onion.

The dish was one of the first things that chef Si, a Singapore native who spent several years working in Spain before returning to run the kitchen at Bam!, came up with at the restaurant.

And for the pairing? In Si’s eyes, nothing pairs better with seafood than sake, especially when you’re trying to bring out notes of sweetness.

Source: CNN