Season's Greetings: Autumn/Fall in Japan for Foodies

Tokyo Food Gourmet 2019.07.10
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食欲の秋 as the Japanese say. Autumn/Fall is the time to fulfill that apatite with all the delicious foods!
The best season for food in Japan?

Shokuyoku no Aki (食欲の秋) or Aki no Mikaku (秋の味覚)

Shokuyoku no Aki (食欲の秋) means that autumn is the season of appetite,
and Aki no Mikaku (秋の味覚) means that autumn is the season of flavours.
Either way, both phrases describe how nice the food is in this season, and they show how Japanese people look at the seasons.

So, shall we start looking into it?
Where shall we start...?
鰹(かつお)のたたき: Katsuo no Tataki is Bonito seared in flames from straw, and cut into bitesize pieces.

鰹、かつお: Bonito

Bonito is a fish that is deeply related to Japanese food.
It is used in many dishes in the form of soup stock.
Usually, the bonito used in these dishes are cured into what is known as 鰹節、かつおぶし: katsuobushi.
The process the fish goes through to become katsuobushi is so long, we'll have to go into some other time!

Bonito is in season during autumn, and again in spring.
The difference is that those caught in spring have lean meat, and those in autumn are fattier. Both are nice in different dishes, but the ones in autumn are nicer eaten raw. So if you have a chance, head down to try the bonito in Kochi, where they have the best bonito in Japan.
Steam grilled abalone on a ceramic pan.

鮑、あわび: Abalone

Believe it or not, shellfish like abalone has its season as well.
Abalone, in this case, is in its best from July to September.
 
Did you know that the word "tempura" comes from the Portuguese word "tempero"? Tempero means seasoning or flavoring. Perhaps coating the foods in batter felt like seasoning them, in a way!

天ぷら: Tempura

Yes, Tempura is also a food that is nice in autumn.
Why is that?
Although many restaurants try to use seasonal ingredients as much as possible, some of the tempura basics, the staples that never really change, are really in season during the autumn!


From prawns to pumpkins, eggplants and sweet potatoes, shiso leaves and all sorts of mushrooms, they all fall into the category of autumn foods in Japan. So next time you try tempura, see if there are any differences in the ingredients.
Wait! We're not done yet!
This is only a small portion of Japan's numerous autumn specialties! Look out for more information on everything you should be gearing up to eat when the leaves change colors, coming soon.

In the meantime, here's our autumn destination recommendation:
Try Nikko where you can experience the history and see the world heritage sites around the area. (Plus, the food is pretty good too!) Enjoy your gourmet experience in Japan!
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