Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Japan Food

While I am sure there is some Japanese food I like, we pretty well avoided it while we were in Japan. I don't eat sushi, Californian rolls, roll mops, wasabi, miso soup and balls of rice. These are what I have tried. Yet I like Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese food, as it is served in Australia and certainly for foreigners in Thailand and Vietnam.

But the fresh fruit and veg in Japan made me very angry, angry with Australia and Australians that we accept such appalling quality fruit and vegetables. The bananas in Japan were sublime. The lettuce crisp and tasty. A Jonathon apple like nothing you ever get in Australia. A pear, almost orgasmic. Oh, and the tomatoes. Not always great looking but soft, tasty and luscious. Cherry tomatoes, so sweet. We did try some more exotic f & v too. All good.

These are vastly superior to anything you may recall from your childhood, given from a neighbour, grown yourself, organic or bought at a farmer's market.

We are told in Australia that for various reasons, storage, shelf life, transport, that that is how our fruit and vegetables must be. Much is grown in Japan locally and sold in nearby towns, but fruit and veg are always seasonal. In the humid season that follows spring, and before the full on summer, how can tomatoes be in season? They must be greenhouse grown or shipped from way down south, thereby disproving the point that good f & v need to be robust to be transported.

Every piece of fruit or vegetable I tried was better than what we get in Australia. Shame on us for accepting crap (there, I swore, shows you how strongly I feel about it)

The Western food we ate in Japan was always good too, although I did not try a steak or lamb chops.

Once we had McDonalds, for breakfast. The Maccas in Japan offers very superior food to what we get here too. The burgers their did actually taste good, rather than being just a gut filler.

I really feel sorry for any Japanese person who comes to Australia and has to eat our crappy fruit and vegetables. Suppose our spuds are ok.


  1. I know what you're saying about Japanese food. I eat anything and everything. But somehow, Japanese (in Australia at least) just doesn't do it for me. That said, if I visited Japan, I'd eat everything in sight except for dolphins and whales of course.

  2. Oh, and on the fresh food issue. Yes, it's crazy that we expect "year round" produce in Australia. We should eat seasonal for many reasons, but we seem to have an expectation that we should have the same food all year round. I think it's a hangover from the old days of tinned fruit and vegetables, which were, perhaps, a hangover from the old days of being "Europeans in the Southern hemisphere". Lots of cultural cringe. It also amazes me that our rice growing distict, for example, is the Riverina, where it should possibly be in North Queensland. Ah well. The Australian climate is broad enough for us to eat a range of fruit and vegetables all year round. It's crazy that we import various oranges from the USA out of season, when our climate would allow them to be grown here also. Off my soapbox now...

  3. The work credo and seasonal produce thing would never pass muster with the supermarkets who run the whole show here.

  4. It's all relative. I missed the 'quality' of Australian fruit and vegetables when I was in Finland. Everything was expensive and only lasted a few days because they had already travelled such a long way to get there.

    Btw...did you see rockmelons in Japan? I was shocked to see them being sold for the equivalent of AU $250. They looked perfect though and were beautifully presented in wooden boxes.

  5. Although I have fairly broad tastes for food I too have never really warmed to Japanese food but if I were to visit there I would certainly give it a go.

    The only 'Japanese' meals I enjoyed in the past were back in 1977-80 when I lived in Hong Kong. We used to vist Macau regularly for weekend breaks and would often stay at the Hotel Lisboa where the Japanese restaurant served steaks cooked at your table by a Japanese chef that simply melted in your mouth they were so tender. Not sure that you could regard the meals as 'Japanese' but I always assumed they represented what the Japanese would get at an upmarket steakhouse in their own country.

  6. Back in the early 80s, one of my friends married a Japanese woman. Her family arrived for the wedding with their suitcases full of food. They were only staying a week.



  7. James, we didn't mention the war or whales. Your second comment is very interesting. Of course there is no reason for us to import any fruit and vegetables. The only issue I have with what you said is that Australia is not suitable for growing growing rice at all. We should import that at least.

    Correct Jayne. The power of Woolworths and Coles against growers needs to be pulled back big time.

    AR, I would guess pickling is big in Finland. I am trying to recall, we saw big round fruit, individually packed with bump netting over it. I can't recall what it was and I did not check the price. I expect fruit like this is as much for a gift as anything thing.

    Victor, maybe it is a people of a certain age who don't eat or like Japanese food. It amuses me to see tradies with their sushi boxes. I am sure Japanese and their chefs in Macau (arrogant US spellchecker is not accepting Macau)cater for their market well, but you just ain't gonna get a 400gm steak,which seems to be the fashion in some places here, not that I could eat that much.

    Salient comment Pants. Never shall the east and west meet. But given how wide spread spread western eating places are in Japan, and the number of Japanese we saw eating in them, the Japanese seem a bit adventurous now about food.