Monday, February 23, 2009

More Kamakura

Rice crackers are probably my favorite snack food in Japan. They are light, crispy, flavorful, cheap and relatively healthy. In Kamakura, we went to a small shop where rice crackers were made fresh and sold individually for 50 yen each. As soon as I saw this, I had to try one.

The fresh rice crackers were warm and dipped in a sesame flavored glaze. The woman making them folded a small piece of nori (dried seaweed) on the bottom of the cracker. This helped keep my fingers from getting sticky and made for a delicious last bite. After enjoying our snack, we bought some small bags of rice crackers to sample different flavors. Our favorite flavor was Uni (sea urchin). They also had different curry, nori and pepper flavored crackers.

After our adventure at the rice cracker shop, we went off for more sightseeing. A lot more sight seeing, in fact. We did a lot of walking, viewed more temples and found the beach. Click here for more about what we saw.

The restaurant we went to for dinner was the perfect remedy for two tired, cold travelers. Horetaro, a restaurant specializing in okonomiyaki (savory pancakes),was a short walk from our hotel. Okonomiyaki are not like the traditional breakfast pancakes served on Saturday mornings. Instead, okonomiyaki are made with chopped vegetables, meat and seafood. The best part (aside from the taste) is that you get to make the food at your table.
The waiter brings the ingredients to the table in a bowl. Everything is raw and piled separately in the bowl, so the first thing to do is mix the ingredients to make a batter-like consistency. Once the ingredients are mixed, the contents of the bowl are poured onto a griddle in the center of the table. When the okonomiyaki are cooked through, they are transferred to a plate and topped with sauces and other Japanese condiments like soy sauce, mayonnaise, fish flakes, etc.

Brad and I tried two kinds of okonomiyaki: pork with wasabi (our favorite), and squid. The wasabi flavor was unexpected in a pancake but added a welcome bite to the dish. Enjoyed with some sake, this Japanese meal was a new and welcome form of comfort food.

Kamakura showed us a different side of Japan. We were introduced to "old" Japan through the many temples and shrines we visited and became familiar with some traditional and not so traditional foods from this little island. I hope to return to Kamakura to see what else it has to offer.

No comments: