Hontou ni hisashiburi desu ne! It’s been a long time since my last Culinary Adventures (TM) blog–six months, in fact. You might even have been fooled into thinking that maybe I settled down and decided to give up trying all the interesting new foods that Japan has to offer. Well, never fear, because I’ve been as fearless as ever in my non-stop quest for new and exotic culinary experiences. So without further adieu, allow me to share with you a few more of the comestible masterpieces that I’ve discovered in my time here…

Seafood Heaven

First, let me share with you a portion of a dinner that a friend from church shared with us.  Here we have (clockwise from top left) shredded grilled squid, fully edible little 2-inch fishies, and whole baby squids with mustard for dipping (lower left). Man, this was one awesome meal. We ate other things too, I’m sure, but I have no memory of them because these three dishes were so good. I don’t know how they prepare the fish, because you can just eat them whole and they taste great. And yes, you eat the squids whole, too. The eyes were a little chewy, but overall it was good eatin’. Yum…

Eel bones

And here we have something that I guarantee that no other American on the face of the planet has ever tried, let alone even conceived of: deep-fried eel bones. Yup, you read that right–deep-fried eel bones. They were salty like potato chips, but crunchier and better for you health-wise, according to a Japanese friend of ours. I was surprised at how good they were, especially considering that I always just throw the bones away when I cook. Maybe I should start deep-frying more! 🙂

Raw chicken

Now here’s a dish that would not only be considered gross, but would probably be totally illegal and incredibly dangerous in America– chicken sashimi. In other words, slices of raw chicken. Yup, they sear the outside and bring it to you still quite raw, give you some soy sauce and some wasabi , and say “go to town!” It was actually good, but I have to admit, it didn’t taste like chicken. It tasted like raw fish. Personally, I find it incredibly ironic that so many other kinds of exotic meat “taste like chicken”, but that chicken itself in this case “tastes like fish”. Go figure…

Fried cartilage

Ah, yes. Here’s yet another tasty treat that no American has ever dreamed of– cartilage nuggets. I know, I know, it sounds gross; even I was taken aback the first time I was offered some. But now I’ve come to realize that the Japanese, true to their unique culinary genius, have found ways of making even cartilage taste really, really good. And not only is it good either grilled or deep-fried, but it’s loaded with calcium and other stuff that’s really good for you, or so I heard. Crunchy good for you! 🙂

Fresh scallop

Ok, here’s a really special and delicious dish that Jen and I were going absolutely bonkers for– grilled super-jumbo scallops. We were introduced to this incredible dish in Iwaki, which is a harbor town renowned for its seafood. A friend of ours took us to the seafood market, where they were actually grilling these things fresh, to the point where they open up and you can snap the shell in two. It’s served on the half-shell, like so:

Fresh scallop on the half shell

It was huge, and unbelievely tender and delicious. I’m telling you, this was probably the best seafood we’ve had all year (and we’ve had rather a lot recently!). Soooooo good…

Mike Popcorn (TM)

Had enough? Ok, just one more, and I guarantee you’ll like this one (I know I did). It’s Mike Popcorn™!!! Yup, my good friends at the Japan Branch of the Frito-Lay Corporation finally decided to give in to my incessant requests for a self-titled snack food of my very own. It’s good, too–perfectly popped and lightly cheesy. I must admit, I was originally hoping for something more like Fritos, except 3 times as big with loads of bean dip on the inside and named “Mike-Os”, but hey, I’m happy with what I’ve got. And you will be too, when you try Mike Popcorn™. So why not try some today? After all, as I always say…  Cheesy, Dry, and Refreshingly Original. That’s the Mike Popcorn™ way.©

Thanks (as always) for reading! And thanks for buying lots and lots of Mike Popcorn™ , the Refreshingly Cheesy snack that nets me .01 cents in royalties every time you buy a bag! 🙂 So until we blog next, farewell and happy eating!

-Mike

This blog brought to you by Mike Popcorn™ and the Frito-Lay Japan Corporation, a division of the Matsumoto Heavy Snack Food Manufacturing Concern, L.L.C.