Thursday, February 28, 2013
The scary cuisine of Japan
- Mark Grosberg <XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX>
- Japanese food
- Thu, 28 Feb 2013 09:39:40 -0500 (EST)
I know you've never liked Japanese food because it's out there. But I recently stumbled upon a Japanese cooking show on YouTube. Search for username runnyrunny999. He tries to dispell the myth about Japanese food. His food is cooked and some of it looks good although I suspect if you try any of his recipes you'll have to find an Asian market for some of the ingridients.
The show is also funny. It's probably worth your time checking out a few episodes.
It's been twenty years, but the experience I had of a “traditional Japanese lunch” is still seared into my brain. I was invited along by the Japanese Language Department at FAU (I was friends with about half the department, which wasn't hard considering it consisted of about six people) to attend “lunch” at a nearby Japanese restaurant.
Now, I've always been a bit leary of Japanese food because of sushi (“Squid eyeballs, people! Squid eyeballs!”) but I was assured that sushi would not be served. What was served, however …
I've blocked most of the food from that “lunch,” but there are still a few items that still strike out in my nightmares from time to time. There was the “soup,” which consisted of a small bowl with about a ½ inch of liquid and … cubes … of … stuff … sitting in the liquid. The liquid wasn't deep enough for “floating.” And yes, these were perfectly cut cubes. Of what, I have no idea. Vegetable matter most likely.
Anyway, the only non-cube item in the bowl was a bit of deep fried tofu. Extremely crunchy on the outside, totally liquid on the inside, and gag-inducing in me. Most unpleasant.
Then again, I'm not the most adventuresome of eaters.
Okay, with the “soup” out of the way, the next nightmare item I remember was some form of egg dish. Only, it wasn't in a dish but a desert glass (a cross between a Sundae and a champagne glass). The eggs were … scrambled, I guess. With … stuff. That's the thing—most of the food that day was “stuff.” What? I have no idea. Just … supposedly edible things with off-putting textures and flavors.
I remember a dish with some chicken that was okay (the chicken; not the rest of the dish) but otherwise, the entire “lunch” was a horror show of horrible textures and questionable flavors.
I was lucy to make it out alive.
So it was with trepidation that I viewed runnyrunny999's cooking videos. The curry soba noodles were—oh sweet Jesus that's what those cold slimy dark colored noodles with the questionable white “sauce” at that “lunch” were—soba noodles!
Oh, wait … sorry about that. Flashbacks. Where was I? Oh yes, the curry soba noodles were (I can get through this) interesting (I didn't realize that curry paste was a curry spiced roux) but I'm not sure if I would eat the resulting dish. Shudder.
The tonkatsu looked edible and I might actually make beef bento lunch box. So far so good. So let's see what's involved with a Japanized-Korean style pizza? I mean, it can't be that bad bad, can—WTF? Did runnyrunny999 just say “bait?” Yes! He said “bait!” He said “whitebait.”
And what exactly is this shirako stuff? It's … um … I just lost my appetite. Yea, I definitely lost my appetite.