You’ll have noticed that Kanako has never added a Ramen recipe to this blog. This scene, from the hilarious 80s Ramen cult comedy Tampopo, pretty much explains why:
A seemingly simple noodle soup with pork and a couple of vegetables, it turns out the intricacies of making a perfect bowl of Ramen contain multitudes. As the dish’s sprawling Internet following suggests, Ramen is the focus of some decidedly weird fetishism in Japan (and beyond). Particularly in Tokyo, Ramen draws a level of obsessive attention-to-detail that all but bars amateurs from even attempting it.
To make a long story short, Ramen is not home cooking. Unless you’re a pro, this is a dish best reserved for when you’re dining out.
Tampopo, by the way, is great fun. Though the way-over-the-top Ramen stuff is front and center, the film really is a must-see for Japanese foodies of all stripes – scenes lovingly send up everything from Rice omelette making to Beijing duck skin pancakes to Europeans’ incomprehensible aversion to making a slurping noise as they eat pasta.
Do rent it if you get a chance. But do be warned, while most of it is quite good natured, some of the sexier scenes stray over from merely offbeat to downright disturbing.
We just got back from the big sale at Angel Seafood. It was exciting! More than a store, you get to shop in a kind of warehouse where every single product has just arrived from Japan. All the staff during the sale was Japanese, as were 90% of the customers. Prices were wholesale prices, and the variety…just wow!
We came home with mochi (holiday rice sweet), frozen sanma (pacific saury, my favorite kind of fish), huge quantities of nori and wakame seaweed for extremely low prices, a ton of udon, impossible-to-find-abroad frozen ramen noodles, entire frozen squids, lovely mackarel, salmon roe, gobou, mozuku seaweed (another thing we’d never seen outside Japan) sake kasu (sake lees), aburaage for inarizushi, the biggest bottle of okonomiyaki sauce I ever saw for really cheap, a gallon jug of kikkoman soy sauce and a kg. bag of katakuriko (potato starch)…all kinds of things you never find in Canada.
We now have ingredients to keep putting new recipes on the blog for another month. It was great fun. And the sale runs through tomorrow, so do drop by if you have a chance. But be sure to bring a Japanese friend: the experience is certain to utterly baffle you if you can’t read Japanese labels.
Once a year, Angel Seafoods puts on a massive discount sale featuring all kinds of hard-to-find Japanese ingredients at amazing prices. This year’s sale will be on this weekend only.
You’ll never see this many Japanese people together in one place at one time in Montreal: the entire ex-pat community seems to come out for this. This is your one chance to find things like real, high quality Ramen in this city, for instance, sold frozen.
And no, this is not blog spam: Angel Seafoods is paying us nothing to post this. We’re sharing it because we know how challenging it can be to find some Japanese ingredients in this city, and an opportunity like this is not to be missed.
Angel Seafoods is out on Highway 40, not far from Ikea. (Here’s the Google Map)
Hi everyone: this is Kanako’s husband piping in for a quick note. Contrary to what you may have heard, I do not enslave Kanako with a whip and force her to stay in the kitchen cooking all the delicious meals you read about here: this whole thing was her idea.
What was my idea, though, was The Challenge: we’ve decided to try to go for one full month eating only things we cook ourselves. From scratch.
No take away sandwiches, no restaurants, no chinese take out, no ready meals and absolutely no KFC (which, you’ll be tickled to know, Kanako loves.)
Nothing like that. Just honest, home cooked meals for one full month.
We’re on week one, and it’s pretty hard work. I will point out that I do cook more than shows up on the blog: usually breakfast and/or lunch is my job. Kanako plans the evening meal and dictates the recipe, and that’s what ends up on the blog.
Thanks for stopping by, and keep coming back for all the details!
This blog is all about taking the fear out of Japanese cooking. Anyone can learn to cook delicious, healthy Japanese food that’s way more than just raw fish. Growing up near Kyoto, I spent years watching my mom do it: cooking for a family of five, on a budget, and turning out delicious Real Food day in and day out.
Now, I’m going to show you how to do it: because Japanese food doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be fresh, tasty and delicious.