Food-O-Rama | Japan | Living in Mexico

Food-O-Rama

After our walkthrough of the Tsujiki Fish Market, we were joined by Elizabeth Andoh, a gourmet food writer. An extremely knowledgeable cook and author, she led us through many shops that offered a huge variety of foodstuffs, identifying exotic ingredients and explaining how to use them. The area around the Tsujiki Fish Market is similar to Berkeley's Gourmet Gulch, except that Tokyo's is much bigger.

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Here, Elizabeth is holding forth on the role of finely-ground beef in Japanese cuisine.

In a butcher shop I saw some of the best-looking beef steaks I think I have ever seen in my life. Some even may have been the world-famous Kobe Beef.

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But probably not. Doesn't cost enough. The New York Strip Steak on the lower left is priced at ¥1575 per 100 grams, which works out to about $62 per pound at the current Yen/Dollar exchange rate. The marbling in this meat looks gorgeous, but the Japanese don't age their beef, so it tastes sort of bland. Just as well. Forty years ago i could have eaten that stuff with impunity. Today, just looking at it makes my coronary arteries tense up.

This woman sells dried fruits, candies, rice crackers, nuts and other dry foods in cellophane bags. She really knows how to sell. Get the product into the customer's hands. Get it into his mouth. He'll buy.

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She gave me a handful of dried blueberries. Boy were they good! I wound up buying a bag. When there were no customers, she would hide behind a stack of cardboard cartons in the back. Whenever anyone leaned in to look at her wares, she scuttled out with a bowl of samples in her hand. She closed most of her prospects.

For more pictures of exotic food, check out this flickr photoset.
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