Summer is sometimes seen as a tough time to be in Japan. The heat and humidity can be sapping but the best way to beat the heat is to enjoy it and that, in Japan, involves eating. Here are five more summer treats that will make you love the season.
The secret to hiyayakko is its delicacy. Found in izakaya pubs all over the country, this simple tofu dish, garnished with negi green onions and a dash of soy sauce, is cool, delightful and smooth to eat. You'll often find grated ginger and fish flakes adding to the flavour. A versatile dish, don't be surprised to find slices of ham, wakame seaweed or shiso leaf as extra toppings.
Don't be misled by the simplicity of tomorokoshi. Grilled corn brushed with a soy sauce, mirin and sugar mixture is absolutely divine during summer. The rustic aroma wafting out from a yatai food stall as the corn is being grilled is addictive and the final flavour is a beautiful blend of the sweet and the savoury.
Beef shabu shabu's summer cousin is rei shabu, thin strips of pork meat served cool as a salad dish. When dressed in a ponzu sauce, you are in for a treat. The amiable texture of the pork simply loves the pizazz of the ponzu citrus juice dressing. And when coupled with ginger and tofu, you have the makings of a light dish that is inexplicably refreshing to eat.
It may very well be that my favourite summer dish in Japan are those takoyaki balls of batter and octopus. Forget the mayonnaise, Worcestershire-like sauce or the bonito fish flakes. That's great for winter. Summer takoyaki means only two things - negi green onions and ponzu dressing. I can't even begin to describe just how delicious this dish is in summer.
Morioka reimen is the king of summer foods in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture. The chilled noodles are chewy and almost translucent. You'll find them floating in a soup of chilled beef and chicken stock along with a dash of Korean kimchi and a slice of watermelon. Truly. The chewiness of the noodles, the kick of the kimchi and the sweetness of the watermelon just work.
All of these dishes are simple, refreshing and a perfect reminder to enjoy the heat.
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A Japanese Permanent Resident, I drool over proper soba and sushi while Japanese aesthetics ticks all the right boxes for me.With over 100 published articles on Japan as well as 5 English language books written in a traditional Japanese style, I also happen enjoy writing. Funny that...I'm also the Regional Partner for Tokyo, Japan's never ending capital, so if you've anything to say about Tokyo - or Japan in general - don't be shy and contact with me via firstname.lastname@example.org