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Sushi: Fingers or Chopsticks?

it's probably okay for the same reason it's okay to imply asian people are "uncivilized."

i'll never eat sushi with my fingers if the place doesn't have towel-type oshibori. those scented handi-wipes can give your sushi an odd flavoring.

Mar 24, 2008
uchinanchu in General Topics

osechi ryouri

Naw, the $300 osechi was from delica rf-1.

I finally decided to suck it up and make my own this year. Supermarket osechi is usually not that awesome to begin with and I can make better ikura and konbu dishes anyway (I've seen sujiko at both Nijiya and Uoki Sakai). Also, if I'm gonna spend $300 on something I can eat in a few hours I'd rather save it for sushi in LA, NYC, or Ginza.

osechi ryouri

I received a response from them (quite quick!). Their osechi is $300 for a 3 tier box (for 4~5 people). With the following included....

First tier
• Seasoned Prawns
• Roast Beef with Salted Olives
• Smoked Salmon
• Slow-Cooked Baby Abalone
• Marinated Herring Roe
• Rolled Kobe-Style Beef with Burdock
• Kombu-Cured Sea Bream

Second tier
• Pickled Daikon and Carrot with Dungeness Crab
• Bottarga (Mullet roe)
• Braised Burdock Root with Sesame
• Caramelized Dried Anchovy with Pine Nuts
• Sweet Black Beans with Candied Walnuts
• Mashed Sweet Potato with Chestnuts
• Pickled Chrysanthemums-Shaped Radish

Third tier
• Braised Medley of baby taro, bamboo shoot, carrot, lotus root, konnyaku, shiitake mushroom and snap peas
• Baked Omelet with Seafood Puree
• Baked Black Cod with Sweet Miso
• Minced and Roasted Chicken with Saikyo Miso topped with White Sesame
• Wrapped Kombu

I always assumed the kid was eating a mikan... but I guess that'd have to be one huge mikan.

osechi ryouri

Which part? That's a lot of text... looks like "OS-1" is a 3 tier jubako and the rest are single boxes. OS-2 is labeled "top" and OS-3 is labeled "regular." Ummm... my japanese is terrible and I can only make out a few things. Kuromame, kurikanruni, ajitsuke kazunoko, tazukuri, something with sweet bean jelly, kurikinton, some kind of stuff wrapped around poles(?), kamaboko, ikura... ok, now i'm going blind.

What I'm wondering is whether or not that OS-1 is supposed to last 3 days. I think that'd last me about an hour. What's even more interesting is that Nijiya seems to be selling sujiko from Alaskan salmon... 14.99/lb.

I emailed the address listed on RF-1's website. Hopefully they'll get back to me.

Also, melanie... you are mean.

osechi ryouri

Anyone know of a place in SF that'll be selling osechi for shogatsu?

Or, failing that, a large Japanese family I could blend into long enough to jack a few mouthfuls of kuromame, kombu, and gobo from....

Oh wait. Large Japanese family. I guess that's an oxymoron nowadays.

Ryowa @ Mountain View

chashudon is chinese roasted pork (chashu) over rice and maybe with some pickled vegetables or something on the side. japanese chashu usually isn't cooked with five spice powder or hoisin sauce tho.

Top Chef Finale! (spoilers)

you've obviously never met my relatives.

Oct 08, 2007
uchinanchu in Food Media & News

Good ramen noodles in SF?

i'm not so sure it's an attempt to cheaply "flavor" the broth so much as a palate preference. some of the good ramen i've had has been too salty for eating companions even though no extra salt or MSG had been added during the cooking (in most cases, the salt comes from the katsuo and konbu in the dashi that's added to the pork stock). additionally, i've noticed that japanese folk seem to have a higher salt tolerance than most... which is weird because watching people douse a bowl of rice with shoyu makes me shrink in sympathetic dehydration.

Good ramen noodles in SF?

i just saw some pics of momofuku's ramen. i'm not sure where you can get that style of ramen in the bay area... it doesn't really seem like a japanese style ramen. at least i've never seen peas in ramen before. it looks very fusion-esque.

in any case, i think the ramen people like in the bay area will probably be either too greasy or too salty for you.

Good ramen noodles in SF?

i second osho's opinion. if you're looking for top level ramen, then everything offered in SF will disappoint you (katana-ya currently being the top contender). there may be two or three places between san mateo and san jose that would do... otherwise you'll have to go down to LA.

btw... ramen that's not greasy and salty? might as well eat saimin or pho...

Sushi Zone

the specific hawaiian names are:

albacares (yellowfin) = ahi
obesus (bigeye) = ahi po'onui
alalunga (albacore) = ahi pahala

the name "tombo ahi" is a blend of hawaiian and japanese originally used by japanese fisherman who immigrated to hawaii.

Sushi Zone

i think the current demand for honmaguro worldwide is boosting albacore consumption in japan nowadays. its lack of popularity as sushi was probably due to its texture (a lot of japanese prefer even their otoro a littler firmer than americans) and the fact that it changes color pretty quickly.

as for east/west of wherever, i'm not so sure fish labeling is that geographically tied. i've seen fish labled all kinds of crazy things with no obvious pattern involved. although, i wouldn't be surprised if the use of escolar as 'shiro maguro' was an east coast thing. the problem with waxy esters, how it was known as a 'garbage fish,' and the fact that japan considers it toxic and banned its use in 1977 might have something to do with it.

if sushi zone really is a 'hawaiian take on sushi' then the prominence of albacore on the menu shouldn't be surprising. albacore/bincho/binnaga is known as 'tombo (dragonfly) ahi' or 'bigeye tuna' in hawaii.

also, regarding canned tuna... in the US before the late 70s, the majority of incidental bluefin tuna in a commercial fishermen's catch was consigned to the tuna canneries. nowadays, most canned tuna is made from aku/skipjack with albacore representing the "higher end" of canned tuna spectrum.

Hungry for SF, coming from LA

odd... that doesn't quite look like hon maguro. is it half the head? or a baby one? honmaguro usually looks like this...

Japanese Pickles

you may also want to try uoki sakai market. they always have a good selection of whatever i need (beni imo and even matsutake when they're in season). they also have those maui brand pickles mentioned in another reply (btw, japanese pepper flakes are "togarashi").

you can basically pickle any vegetable as far as i know... joi ito (google for him and "nukamiso") wrote up a good nukazuke making guide a while back.

btw, "tsuke" means pickle and the "tsu" phoneme transforms into "zu" if placed after a noun. i.e. nuka-tsuke = nuka-zuke.

Hungry for SF, coming from LA

waitaminit... honmaguro kabutoyaki? like... the ENTIRE head? does he pull out the eyes for a separate dish? if it's the whole head, would i have to sign over my firstborn for a chance at it? how does he get the smell of kusaya out of his restaurant? could i get the kabutoyaki without having to smell any kusaya?

oh, so very exciting.

Hungry for SF, coming from LA

i'm not sure it's all due to population density. the community in SF is mainly a mix of old time nikkei and young-ish student-age nihonjin. gardena, on the other hand, is a mix of old time nikkei and salarymen + their families. also, regarding the "close-knit" comment (and this is purely anecdotal), nihonjin and nikkei communities rarely mix together.

if you want "authentic" food of a certain type, i'd say that most of the nikkei community (excepting the shin-issei and shin-nisei) wouldn't be able to help you out much. ignoring the fact that even modern kaiseki cuisine didn't start to take shape 'til the early part the of the 20th century, the multi-generational japanese american families of today immigrated during the 1890s - 1920s, were from the kansai region, and weren't of the economic class that had access to what's recognized as washoku today.

basically, japanese professionals (their salaries and discerning tastes) are what make possible "authentic" japanese restaurants of a "superior" quality. anywhere else, you mostly get home-style food cooked with varying degrees of skill.

and not to be nitpicky, but hyundai is a korean company.

one more thing... kappa and kyo-ya being the "French Laundry of SF Japanese Restaurants" is a really depressing statement.

best kobe beef in bay area

I Miss CHOWhound; Hate FoodieHound

excellent sushi in SF != decent sushi in NYC.

despite whatever culinary heights other cuisines may reach in SF, Japanese food offerings (not only sushi) in the city proper are pretty damned depressing.

Jun 24, 2007
uchinanchu in Site Talk

salt/sodium question

mushrooms naturally contain glutamate, not monosodium glutamate. MSG is the manufactured product first isolated from seaweed around 1908 in japan. glutamates are what's responsible for the umami/savory taste.

there is still no definitive evidence as to whether MSG is bad for you or not. most negative things you hear are based solely on anecdotal evidence and not empirical research (this doesn't include the effects on people with glutamate allergies). what is definitely known is that the substitution of MSG for salt in the diet can have positive health effects depending on one's usual salt consumption, but that pretty much goes for any salt substitute.

btw, any food product you buy with "hydrolized vegetable protein" in it contains MSG.

Jun 14, 2007
uchinanchu in General Topics

Fake Accent

here's an informative link about the Japanese senbei theory:

also, an alternative theory about chinese 49ers:

and also, what's with this?

"Hagiwara was fired from his job sometime around 1907 by Mayor James Phelan, who allegedly disliked the Japanese."

One of the leading proponents of the anti-Japanese movement in California at the start of the 20th century "allegedly" disliked the Japanese?

Jun 09, 2007
uchinanchu in Features

Korean vs. Japanese sushi [split from L.A. board]

Seoul standard romanization would be "odaeng," but i usually see it spelled "odeng." it's an adopted word from the Japanese "oden" (although, I think odeng in Korea has come to mean the fishcake [eomuk] instead of the entire nabe).

You're kind of defeating your own argument with those first few examples... pickled daikon is takuan, sliced omelette style egg would be tamagoyaki... all things found in makizushi. It's not necessarily the ingredients that differentiate the two (my mom used to put spam or vienna sausages in hers).

As a lifetime eater of both, the two defining differences between gimbap and makizushi as I see it would be 1) the use of gim (with its salt and sesame oil) instead of nori, and 2) the lack of vinegar mixed in with the rice.

May 22, 2007
uchinanchu in General Topics

Korean vs. Japanese sushi [split from L.A. board]

Gimbap is an adaptation of makizushi from the colonial period, but it's not Japanese food so it's not considered sushi. That's like asking if a burrito is considered a crepe.

Some comments on previous posts...

In some parts of Seoul I've seen "cho bap" used as the term for sushi, but that's just the korean pronunciation of the hanja/kanji for "sushi" (i.e. vinegar rice) much like maekju/mugishu. Most sushi restaurants I saw in Seoul the last time I was there use "sushi" in their names.

I used to think hwe (seoul standard is "hoi" i believe) meant "raw" as i'd often see "saengseon hoi" as well as "yuk hoi" (raw beef and egg) on menus, but i just looked it up and it apparently it means sliced fish or minced meat. which confuses me as "saengseon hoi" would be "fish sliced fish." I guess that would make sense as "yuk hoi" is "beef minced meat"...

Interestingly, the hanja for "hoi" is the same as the one used for "namasu" in japanese... which is a dish supposedly imported from China during the Heian period.

The style of slicing fish into "thin translucent slivers, and arrang[ing] it on a very big platter" is called "usuzukuri" (thinly sliced) in Japanese. It's mostly done with shiromidane and I almost always see it as a course in those expensive ass fugu extravaganzas.

Proper Korean etiquette entails you not lifting your bowl while eating. I've been scolded (and scalded) before.

According to Andrei Lankov (NK studies prof), the whole makizushi/gimbap thing began during the colonial period.

One thing I noticed is that Koreans, especially in Busan, LOVE their chewy seafood. Squid and chewy fishes everywhere! So that might be one of the reasons you'd get almost frozen fish at a Korean sushiya... more of that chewy texture. It might also explain the use of chojang... if you can't taste the fish in the first place 'cause it's near frozen you're not really losing anything by eating it with vinegar and gochujang.

If you're ever in Seoul, the Korean word for "takuan" is "danmuji." My ex-gf has been scolded about that one.

If anyone wants to look up ggaenip like I did, it's plant genus is "perilla." Sweet, something new to eat.

May 22, 2007
uchinanchu in General Topics

Onigiri, good for long hikes?

onigiri rice is not sushi rice. at least not traditionally. sushi rice is normally short grain rice mixed with sushizu or sushinoko or whatever crazy recipe/technique your itamae has invented or been handed down.

"traditionally," onigiri is made from short grain and medium grain rice, much of the time either salted or mixed with minced katsuo or sake. the ones with fish-type ingredients mixed into the rice almost never contain the more common umeboshi filling. they recently (several years ago?) started coming out with odd fillings like "tuna and mayo" or "natto and cheese" but i haven't really tried any of those.

if there aren't any japanese markets near you, you might try a korean market. samgak gimbap (samgak is... "three corners"? my korean sucks) are very similar to onigiri, but are usually made from unsalted rice filled with "spicy tuna," gimchi, or your regular gimbap ingredients wrapped with korean nori (gim). those don't keep very well though... i think oxidation in combination with the moisture in the rice rancidify the lipids in the sesame oil.

May 09, 2007
uchinanchu in General Topics

Tuna Poke?

Hawaiians eat seaweed. Depending on the type of fish, different kinds of limu are used...

Aloha festivals' poke contest is the biggest in Hawaii, as far as I know. You can find the recipes of some of the winners here:

Apr 23, 2007
uchinanchu in Home Cooking

Genki Ramen - Thumbs Up!

tonkotsu is supposed to be made from pork bones.

i.e. ton = pork, kotsu = bone.

a good way to remember the difference between tonkotsu and tonkatsu is to remember that "katsu" is short for "katsuretsu" which is a japanization of the english word "cutlet".

Where can I find Kurobuta Chops in the Bay Area?

kurobuta is not japanese for berkshire. much like kobe is a type of wagyu beef, kurobuta is a type of berkshire pork.


"All Kurobuta pork is Berkshire but not all Berkshire can produce Kurobuta pork.

The Berkshire breed is well documented as having superior meat quality when compared to other commercial pig breeds but Kurobuta pork is one step higher as the 'best of the best'.

Japanese scientists have studied the genetic makeup of Berkshire pigs and have developed gene technology that allows the Berkshire breed to be further divided into 4 genetic sub-types: North Island, South Island, Western and Oriental types.

The Oriental type is the basis for successful Kurobuta production. The fat composition is soft, white and flavourful and the meat has a fine, rich texture that is tender and juicy. Many people describe Kurobuta as the Kobe Beef of pork production."