Monday, September 20, 2021

Food on the streets of Tokyo | Traditional pastries and sweets

Until recently, Japanese food usually meant sushi, sukiyaki and tempura, but now Japanese gourmet cuisine makes name for itself  all over the world!  When it comes to Tokyo, there is absolutely no doubt that this is the best place on Earth for the gourmet’s soul. There are more restaurants per capita in the capital of Japan than in any other city on our great planet. Moreover, the food is not only tasty, but also healthy. What the centenarians of the Celestial Empire prove. A nice bonus is street food.  It is amazing by the taste, pleasant by the price  and astonishing by diversity.

So what  the streets of the Japanese capital treat ?

Mochi

Mochi in the ordinary sense is a rice cake. The authentic process of cooking mochi looks very unusual – one Japanese pounds rice with a huge hammer in a special huge wooden mortar. The other one  turns over this mass with hands, adding water to it, thus  kneading the dough. Moreover, rice  has to  be a particularly sticky variety of mochigome. They do it so quickly, accurately and in-sync that it captures. It looks very impressive. And as soon as the dough is ready, it is thrown into a special press machine, which automatically adds the filling to the middle of the dough, and then neat “cakes” are rolling out of it. At festivals and near the  temples, you can see how ready-made cakes are fried and stumbled on a stick, which is convenient to hold while the mochi is hot.

For many, it may seem a  bit  strange that we decided to include mochi in street food, but, believe me, in Japan they are sold at almost every corner, especially in the authentic Kyoto.

Dango

Dangos are mochi balls strung on a wooden stick and usually sprinkled with sweet sauce. This dessert is characterized by a wide range of colors and a variety of flavors, which is achieved by using different sauces. In Japan, every housewife knows how to cook dango. However, its technology is not complicated, and everyone can master it. These sticky, at first glance, unsightly balls can be your favorite dessert in the whole world. Dango dumplings, made from sticky rice flour and water, are steamed until round. Three or four dangos are served on a skewer and seasoned with a wide variety of sweet or savory sauces or flavored pasta.

This dessert can be easily called favorite food of children. Japanese sweets dango look so delicious that no tourist can resist the temptation to try them. As mentioned above, mochi cakes are the basis of this dessert. But the question of what the dango is still remains open.

Yakisoba

Yakisoba is one of the symbols of Japanese street food.

“Yaki” – means fried, the rest of word means  what exactly will be fried. As everyone used to think soba is a buckwheat noodle. Although there is soba in the title, it is missing itself in the dish. Let’s be clear: in Japan, soba can be called any thin noodles, even without buckwheat flour.
Therefore, Yakisoba literally is fried noodles. To make yakisoba, the noodles are fried in a special sauce along with small pieces of pork, chicken or beef, Chinese cabbage and carrots.

At festivals, it is cooked immediately in a large portion on a huge surface, like a stove, but it looks like it is fried on a table. The chef uses two special blades to make it convenient to mix a lot of noodles at once. Then Yakisobau is simply divided into small portions and give it out. Sometimes it is poured over  with mayonnaise, sprinkled with kotsubosi – kind of chopped tuna  or added fresh greenery.

Japanese have an amazing culture.

Food here  plays  almost a key role. They make a  cult of eating. The Japanese can spend hours talking about what they ate or what they’d   like to eat, and all kinds of tents with street food only heat up your appetite and new topics for conversation.

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