The Wonderful World of Shochu

Along with ramen and sushi, sake is a part of Japanese food and drink culture that is ubiquitous here in New York.  But as someone who spent the majority of my time in Japan in Kyushu, I sometimes wonder why shochu doesn’t get its fair share of the acclaim.  Down there shochu is the go-to drink, and since 90% of domestic production takes place at distilleries in Kyushu it is known as Shochu Island.


Portlandia's Noodle Monster

Last night IFC’s Portlandia Season 6 finale featured a tsukemen ramen monster taking over the town, with potentially disastrous results.  This monster was brought to life when leftover tsukemen noodles, intended to be just dipped and not soaked, were dunked into their broth due to a lack of refrigerator space.



This weekend I had the chance to check out the documentary Washoku at Cinema Village, where it will be playing through the end of the month.  It features interviews with sushi chefs and other Japanese food proprietors, and asks them about their philosophy, preparation and overall view of Japanese food.  Many of them in talk in detail about the sacrifices they make for their craft.


Food Culture - Ramen

One of the best ways to learn about a culture is through food. It's a way for you to eat delicious meal while also learning about the country from which the dish originates. Ramen (ラーメン or らーめん) is a perfect example of this food culture. It's one of Japan's most well-known foods, aside from sushi.


Sakura Season!

I am down in DC for my latest interpreting assignment, and the whole city seems to be getting ready for its cherry blossom festival due to start in exactly two weeks.  Of course, nature doesn’t always abide by man’s schedule, and some sakura were already starting to bloom.  This makes me wonder whether there will be any blossoms left for the duration of the festival, as last year most were long gone by the end.


Asian Food Blog: Springtime Sweets

The newest addition to the Hills Learning blog - Asian Food Blog A section devoted to introducing Asian dishes and giving step by step instruction for fool-proof Asian cooking. Since the weather is warming up and signs of spring are popping up all around, I thought it would nice to introduce some deliciously light sweets from China, Japan and Korea.


Konbini – Convenience Stores in Japan

Oh, how I love the konbini (コンビニ: it’s short for “convenience store” in English). Whether it’s Lawson, 7 Eleven, AM/PM, or Family Mart, they’re a reliable place in Japan for late night snacks, booze, and even a full meal. Plus you can also pay your bills there! Items are packed just so, and potentially embarasing hygiene items are double and even triple-bagged.


American Fast Food In Japan

Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for junk food. Since living in New York, my consumption of fast food has gone up dramatically, despite the wide array of quality food here. Now I’m not advocating that you visit McDonald’s or any of these other restaurants while in Japan, but sometimes you just gotta eat.


Fall Foods in Japan

America has some favorite fall foods like pumpkins and candy apples, and Japan is no different with certain dishes and ingredients strongly associated with autumn. How many have you tried? Satsuma-imo (薩摩芋): Sweet potato These are very similar to yams, though the flesh is softer and the inside is more yellow than orange.