So we’re in Japan right now, and figured that, given our previous history of highlighting food trends in foreign cultures, we thought that we’d talk a bit about what we’ve noticed in our (limited) voyages.
First, a note on the number of French patisseries/boulangeries. There have been so many! We were not expecting to find delicious french pastries all over Japan, on city corners, in train stations, and just about everywhere. At any of these bakeries, there is a specific procedure in place for picking out what you want to eat. Patrons pick up a cafeteria-style tray and a set of tongs, and use the tongs to place pastries on the tray. Then, when finished, they bring the tray to the checkout counter, where the pastries are wrapped, each individually, and placed in a larger bag.
Second, white bread. Every single one of these pastry shops has 4-5 kinds of highly risen very white bread. We’re still slightly puzzled by it, but have come to enjoy looking at these lofty peaks. We even bought some to try tonight, though we fear that we won’t be nearly as fond of it as the Japanese people seem to be.
Third, the Nishiki covered market in Kyoto is amazing. So many wonderful pickles, cooked items on sticks, and sweets. We grabbed lunch there today and tasted some eel, grilled mochi, pickled sea cucumber, and some onigiri.
Fourth, everything is adorable. The bento boxes are perfectly arranged to emphasize the shape of the contents, not to mention that the box itself may be a cute shape, like a peach, as seen below. Presentation counts here, thus the aforementioned use of multiple plastic bags for purchases. Other cute foods we have seen include donuts and fluffy chocolate pastries.
And fifth, the fruit. Fruit here can be incredibly expensive. Notice the 3,000 yen ($30) mango. Fruit in Japan is presented like a present: wrapped and offered in a gift box, another part of the emphasis on presentation that we’ve noticed. (Not that either of us would turn down a gift of beautifully packaged fruit, but we might feel a bit guilty if it were a mango and that mango had been so very dear in price.)
For now, we’ll be enjoying a Japanese dessert of our own making. Look for future missives from Tokyo.