Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Japanese Supermarkets are great fun to wander around in, just to look at the sheer variety of what`s on offer. Of course, many of the things on display are not the kind of produce you`d find in your local Morrisons - or even Waitrose - many seem difficult to know what to do with them. These giant Daikon radishes are a fixture in Japanese cooking. Each was about as long as my forearm.
Rose heads - I really don`t know what these could be for, other than decoration. Everyone knows how intricate and artistic Japanese food is, so presumably you need to go somewhere to buy the little bits and pieces that make your food that little bit more special. Some clever chefs can make `roses` out of a piece of carrot, but when you can buy them in a packet, it saves so much time. Only choice is, which colour?
The anti-plastic bag revolution hasn`t made it this far yet - in every shop you visit, a purchase results in a plastic bag as well, often an enormous one. I try and say "Iie" as much as I can, but in the Supermarkets are shelves of individually wrapped fish, vegetables, or fruit like these limes. The fish section of this Supermarket had a vaccuum-packed Parrot Fish, like something you`d expect to see in the Aquarium (and not the aquarium gift shop).
Speaking of fish, it`s a major component of the diet, so lots of fishy products on offer. Here we have some dried fish grindings with the consistency of sand. Good for adding instant flavour to soups or stews...
...or you could get the real thing, if you`d rather. There were packets of different sized dried fish on display, from tiddlers the width of your thumbnail to ones as long as your finger. I once went to a Japanese cooking class when I was in Sydney (see here), and before we cooked we had a tea snack of tiny dried fish mixed with flaked almonds. It was pretty good, although you kind of hoped the crunchy parts were just the almonds.