Posts Tagged With: liver

The “I think it’s still moving” kind of sushi

Lets explore three separate styles of cuisine that are notably popular here in Japan.

Yakiniku (sounds like yah-key-nee-koo) is a term which refers to “grilled meat” and was originally named for the Japanese interpretation of the Korean bbq. While it’s not as trendy as Sushi or Ramen, you can find several different restaurants specializing in this entertaining meal. Last year in Japan we happen to find one of the best in town… Flash back time!


This year we gathered some friends to try out a new stop up the road that seemed to be popular with the locals. A small problem, if you want to call it that, due to the lack of tourist in this area, the menu is only in Japanese. You’d think the pictures would be helpful… right?





To my left, Brandon and Jessica ordered what they thought was chicken and beef. What came out? Blubber and liver.




To my right, Kennedy and Lechich (navy friends aka- shipmates) ordered a thick cubed bacon. What came out? Layers of fat dividing red meat.



For my order, I played it unusually safe with fresh green Cabbage.



The total for four adults not including a few alcoholic beverages averaged about $18 person. My favorite part was the appropriate gum that came with the bill!


Next up we have a noodle based soup that was originally imported from China in the Meiji Period. In more recent decades, it has become a very favored dish in Japan. There’s a variety of options from soba, ramen to udon with flavors including but not limited to shio shoyu, miso, butter, reimen or hiyashi chuka. These meals range from $4-8 dollars depending on the size and quality. I haven’t had any this trip, but here’s a glance from a previous visit.


Time for my favorite… Sushi! Though we use the word “sushi” to refer to all of the scrumptious stuff that’s delivered on a wooden board, the word “sushi” actually refers to the sweet, vinegar rice. If you want more information describing in full detail the variety of combinations that grace the table for this meal, please google it.

For now, just know that it usually involves raw or seared fish, rice, sea vegetables, sauces and soy to create a beautiful mixture of flavors that pleasantly greet your taste buds. In other words, its simply delicious.

For our sushi experience, we got a group together at a local spot. This place has pictures on a huge menu, floating appetizers circling the bar and a very friendly staff.


After starting off with a warm hand towel, everyone continued by creating their own hot green tea. You put in the amount of powder desired, then use the fresh water spout to add blistering hot water.



We ordered a variety of fish to share around the table. From glazed salmon to garlic tuna and of course a few other pieces that we couldn’t figure out.


Next up, a gift from the waitress with a small cup of “surprise soup”. Awkward faces prepare for the first bite and although we still don’t know exactly what it contained, the taste wasn’t bad.



Since we’re on the note of mystery dishes, I saw that there was okra in some of the options… I love okra! We asked for “the best one” and out came a dish Gunkanmaki style with okra and what smelled like dirty socks dipped in expired peanut butter. Not my favorite.



For the grand finale, they treated us with their fresh fish specialty. It goes from swimming (literally) to your plate in less than 5 minutes! Once ordered, we watched them pull it straight from the tank to start the process!


They then “prepared it” by putting the raw meat on a small bed of rice (extremely tasty) and then serving the head and bones deep fried. The texture resembled an extra crunchy potato chip with a subtle fish flavoring. It was amazing!



Although ice cream, mochi and other desserts were offered, we went with a fresh fruit jello dish.


Total for this spread stayed under $13 a person! On the way out, there’s what appeared to be a colorful candy machine. Nope, it dispenses toys and puzzle games!


I chose to walk home for slight relief of my full tummy, which really only meant room for a new treat that I happen to see at a local mini mart! A green tea popsicle that hugged a sweet bean paste. I will say that although this is a “healthier option”, it’s not the best choice if you’re craving a good ol’ ice cream cone.


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“Do you have a menu with pictures please?”

We’ve explored the beautiful world of international markets, so lets now venture into the restaurant scene. As a backpacker, I’m conscious of when and where I splurge, especially when it comes to food, drink and entertainment. With that said, when friends meet up abroad or a group of other travelers are heading out for dinner, sometimes I’ll spoil myself and join them!

Unfortunately I’m not going to post about every country, but here are some memorable meals and unique bites from around the world.

I’m going to start off with a very colorful, protein packed salad in a cafe near Nice, France. Since the extent of my French is “Parlez-vous anglais?” (Do you speak english?) and “merci” (thank you), this was ordered by pointing at a tiny picture and a huge smile.


This accidental order in Paris came from my eagerness to try “carpaccio”, a plate of thinly sliced raw meat or fish. My innocent mistake was trusting the waiter and agreeing to a similar dish called “Tartare”. This however, is a meat dish made from finely minced raw beef or horse served with onions, caper, seasonings and sometimes a raw egg. Not the same my friends, not…the…same!



In Spain, I usually find myself nibbling around town due to the ever so popular tapas or pinxtos. Clarification, “tapas” isn’t necessarily a particular type of food, rather a small portion of anything ranging with paella, croquettes, fish and peppers on toast, and so on. Pintxos’ are bites you pick up off the bar and bring back to your table to enjoy. Then, depending on how many sticks you have on your plate tells them how much to charge for at the end. Here are some of my favorite scrumptious snacks in Spain.





The course pictured below describes my opinion of the country it came from, Switzerland – clean, tasteful and proper.




Moving on to the hearty land of Germany, specifically the state of Bavaria. Even though I struggle to find lean and light meals there, I can still enjoy a plate of solid comfort food. My favorite is the warm red (or blue or purple depending on which German you ask) cabbage side dish. My not so favorites seen below are the flour and potato dumplings and pretty much anything that may have the word “wurst” in it.






Before I move on from Germany, I’d like to dedicate a short description and a few photos to the wonderful world of Oktoberfest! Continue reading if you’re up for a story or skip to the pictures to see a few options you may get during the traditional festivities.

The day I learned that the Bavarian language differs from the rest of Germany, goes as follows. My dear friend Carina, you all should know her by now, was attempting to help me order soup. She said she’d do her best since she doesn’t fully understand Bavarian. I asked for anything with vegetables “something that grows or is green” was my request and considering we had been at the festival since sunrise with nothing but a liter of beer, I was excited to consume anything! That was until… until we realized I had ordered liver dumpling soup.







Other appetizing dishes to coat the stomach while celebrating the largest people’s fair in the world!






Since I’m usually visiting my friends in Holland, I rarely explore and sit down at a legit Dutch restaurant. I have however, enjoyed the best falafel wrap while in The Netherlands!


Hungry in Hungary? (Curtesy laugh goes here) Expect meat, potatoes, salad and bread. Not to shabby!


Sword fish, greens, garlic butter and bread was the choice in Crete, Greece. Naturally complimented by the traditional Greek dessert of Baklava, Ouzo and fruit!



Heading southeast to Malaysia, I’m going to show you two different ways they can serve up the same meal. First we have the over portioned, grease covered greens aside fried fish.


After being served the plate above, I mentioned my disappointment to a new local friend who then invited me to a different location to show me how it’s “supposed” to be done.


My favorite meal in Malyasia wasn’t due to the taste, but the story that comes with it. If your remember the post of volunteering in Malaysia, then you’ll understand that this surprise dish was given and received with much gratitude. Thank you Marcel!



Jumping over major seas, I’m now bringing you to Central and South America. With several countries, many amazing dishes and unique treats, I’m going to narrow it down to just a few.

First up, Pupusas! These light corn or rice tortilla type patties are stuffed with your filling of choice, then topped with a spicy coleslaw! We were introduced to this savory snack while being treated by a few locals in El Salvador!



Costa Rica was easy. Just show me to the greens with a bit of fish and whatever drink comes blended, fresh and colorful. Pura vida!



Jumping down to Ecuador presents some of the tastiest soups and flavorful ceviche I’ve ever experienced! The rich spices, fresh fish and crunchy toppings make for an amazing treat for your taste buds.





Peru allowed me to feel joy when items like quinoa and sweet potato overruled the usual carbohydrates of pasta, corn and wheat. I love the ingredients of this country so much that I actually took a Peruvian cooking class!





I’m going to bring Argentina into the mix due to the impressive meal we were served last year in Buenos Aires. I’m generally not a huge meat eater, so for this steak to hit my tops picks says a lot for the quality at hand. Take a look at those veggies too!


In the waters northeast of South America sits one of my favorite islands called Barbados. Bajan cuisine includes a vibrant blend of foods with African, Indian and British influences. Not to forget one of my favorites, the amazing Roti from Trinidad!




Australia and New Zealand (I apologize for bulking you two together, but only for the sake of this post), brought many home cooked meals. Mostly fresh from the farms I was volunteering on or hand picked from the gardens that I helped harvest. No complaints here with the abundance of fresh vegetables and local organic meat!




Last but not least is the large island of noodles, fish, rice and other objects I don’t really know about (simply because my Japanese is as good as my French). Considering I’m wiring this post from Japan, there’s definitely more to come soon! For now, take a look at these mouth watering dishes!





Ill leave you with an advertisement that isn’t tempting, but certainly entertaining as it’s a bit different than the usual Big Mac add.


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