Sunday, November 18, 2012

japanese food: breakfast

I got back from Japan this past weekend and am beginning to recover from the jet lag. Matt and I took hundreds of photos, many of them food-related. Needless to say, Japanese dishes will be the topic of many upcoming posts.

Let's get started with the first meal of the day!

bacon & egg sandwich
cinnamon set

Our breakfasts at our first inn in Tokyo were Western-style and plenty filling. It was so important to load up in the morning because we were never sure when or where we'd eat lunch.

The photo above shows our favorite combination to order. The sandwich featured a fried egg, cucumber, tomato, and what they called bacon (we would call it ham). The cinnamon set was basically french toast with cinnamon and powdered sugar. It was wonderful to start the day in the cozy, homey lobby at Andon Ryokan.

cold tofu, miso, rice, and pickled vegetables

We were incredibly fortunate to be able to spend a weekend in a Japanese home in the countryside near Mt. Fuji. That was when we had our first experience with a traditional Japanese breakfast. Every day we ate there was a little different, but all had plain white rice, miso soup, and pickled vegetables of some sort. Each breakfast involved large quantities of food that kept me full until lunch or even later. It seemed like quite a lot of work for our hostess each morning compared to what I might make for breakfast in the states, but she seemed to have a routine worked out.

miso, grainy rice with salmon flake, tamagoyaki, and pickled vegetables

The second day I was introduced to one of my favorite breakfast/lunch items, tamagoyaki (which means "fried egg"). Basically a lightly sweetened thin sheet of egg is rolled up and then sliced. This is also a popular item for bento lunch boxes. I intend to attempt making a version myself, but haven't tried yet. I wish I knew the actual names for some of the things I ate. I can just tell you that the rice had some small black beans, black rice, and millet mixed in and it was delicious. The miso soup had some sort of fried strips that softened in the broth like croutons.

grape compote
peach compote

One day we got to partake in grape and peach compotes homemade by our host's mother from fruit grown on their land. It was very sweet with a touch of cinnamon on the peaches. What a special treat!

sauteed eggplant, miso with tofu, rice, tamagoyaki, and aloe yogurt

I was surprised at how tasty aloe yogurt could be! The texture was quite a bit like peach yogurt.

Check back as there will be much more to come including fried foods and sweets.

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