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Hagarita -  the love of cooking and sharing food

Gimme some Kobe... beef

On our way from Hiroshima to Kyoto we decided there is no logical reason why we wouldn't stop in Kobe for lunch. Sure it's raining and cold, it's out of our way and the lunch special is more than $50, but it's Kobe we are talking about, Kobe, as in the place where people massage cows to keep their meat perfectly marbleized. oh,  it sure was...Our chef started by grilling some garlic on the skillet in front of us, then set up our plates so they were directly on the skillet to keep warm.

Next came the beef, and my, was it beautiful..

Starting by rendering some fat to grease the skillet and slicing the meat into pieces according to fat content, our chef was a skillful and accurate man, and we were salivating with our mouths open. Really.

Since $50 only gets you so little beef we had some tofu and vegetable grilled along side it, as well as some delicious fried rice that was made last, so it fills up only the little spaces in our stomach, those tiny cracks between the chunks of meat.

Both the rice and the sprouts were grilled in some fat, and to add some flavor he used all the access fat that was cut off the meat at the beginning. fried rice with tiny cubes of Kobe beef fat. Delicious!!

This was by far one of the best meals I had in the last month.

okonomiyaki, a very special "pancake"

While in Hiroshima we had to try the local specialty, Okonomiyaki. It starts as a crepe with a mountain of veggies and some meat on top, the vegetable slowly shrinks and then it's flipped and placed on a bed of noodles, then an egg and to finish it up, the special home-made sauce. Even better than the end result was sitting down to watch the long process of preparing this delicious food.

the udon factory

We are so hungry, driving through Fukuoka looking for a place to eat when we notice a spot that looks like it's popping, the parking lot is full, there is a line inside, this gotta be worth it.
An Udon factory, from start to finish, where they make the dough, cut the noodles, boil and portion, then you choose your size (Large please!!), get your perfectly soft-boiled egg and pick your deep-fried toppings from the buffet-like display.
Delicious, perfected udon, like no noodle I tasted before

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it's 5 am, let's go watch the butchering of a yellow fin tuna

It's 5 am, we have been singing karaoke since 11pm, our voices are done, our eyes are half shut. It's windy and cold and we really want to stay inside, but we said we are going to do it, so we did.Tsukiji market is huge, it supplies the majority of the world's fish and seafood, and though it is fascinating to walk through it and watch the men as they clean and slice, load their carts and speed through the narrow aisles, it also raises some serious questions about regulating fishing in Japan. It takes watching the amount of fish and seafood on display for one to ask themselves how long before there is no more fish to catch? And are we going to stop before it's too late? I would be lying if I said I wasn't standing there mesmerized by the colors and admiring the precise cuts and clean technique of the working, rushing men of Tsukiji. We spent about an hour and a half walking through and watching, there wasn't much talking, if anything an occasional wow! or ooohhhh... Handling fish is definitely an art form, especially when it comes to giant 100-150 lbs tuna, 5 minutes from start to finish, with a knife that is longer then my legs and is sharp as sharp can be, one cut length wise, two cuts to separate the spine, and voila !!!

These are some pictures from the butchering of yellow fin tuna in the biggest fish market in the world. As my jaw drops in admiration I make a little prayer that these sights won't be just a tale to tell our kids and grand-kids.

yakitori, everything one can wish for, grilled, on a stick

After a few hours of shopping at Kappabashi (restaurant supply and knife galore district) and a few more hours spent at ishimori (the #1 saxophone shop in japan) we met up with some friends for yakitori. Yakitori is marinated,grilled, everything you can dream of, on a stick. These pictures tell the rest...

kampai

fried octopus

scallions, peppers and yellow beans

squid legs

beef fat and onions

chicken meat balls and beef hearts

tofu

shiitake

sukiyaki, or, an endless pot of unbelievable deliciousness

After a not so long, yet tiring day of walking around Kamakura and visiting the shrines and statues we came back home to the best meal I had in Tokyo so far. Sukiyaki is made by placing cast iron pot in the center of the table. Into the pot goes some fat... as it renders you add some onions...

sake, sugar, soy sauce and some water.

The broth is now ready and we can start adding in the goods; tofu, shiitake, enokitake, greens, potato noodles, scallions and beef. Cook it all together and as you pick your food out of the pot you dip it in raw egg then eat it. It is so good!

I want to eat skuyaki everyday!!!!

As food come out of the pot and into our stomach fresh food goes into the broth, more and more and more until you think you are done, then, a little more and we are done.

sashimi

Yesterday we met up with the family for lunch near the famous Tsukiji market. Tsukiji is the biggest whole sale fish market in the world and it supplies about 50% of the world's fish and seafood. Clearly when dinning in tsukiji one should eat some fish. So we did. And it was the freshest fish I ever had.

Two cuts of tuna, salmon, crab, scallop, makarel, shrimp and eel.

yum.

With love (and appetite) from Japan

I'm in Tokyo and I can't stop eating. Unfortunately my stomach is not as big as I sometimes wish it was... But don't worry, luckily I'm accompanied by a man who loves food and for the most part always help me to finish my plate off.For our first meal we had ramen in Ikebukuro, the noodles were served it a thick pork broth, with a mountain of scallions and a perfectly cooked egg. We didn't know that Ikebukuro is famous for a certain type of ramen, where the noodles are served on the side and then dipped into the broth, oh no, it looks like we gonna have to eat ramen again... So incredibly delicious...

Later that day we met up with our friends Emi and Bill for dinner in Asakusa, after a quick visit to Sensō-ji, a beautiful Buddhist temple, we walked down a street filled with small cozy eateries, and had Emi choose the spot for dinner. Let me just say, she did not do us wrong, The food was unreal. We had some tofu in kimchi broth and slow cooked beef (both were cooked in a continuous broth - as they take soup out, they add stuff in, so you have a never-ending pot of goodness), asparagus and butter, seaweed and ginger salad, tuna sashimi and sapporo. a lot of sapporo.

Stay tuned, there is so much more to come..