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Japanese Culinary ArtifactsHome >> Tools & Ingredients
I love to embrace a foreign civilization through its artefacts. Especially food artefacts, those utensils that serve to prepare meals and those edible concoctions durable enough for you to take home. India is rather fascinating in that respect, but in terms of quality and elegant minimalist design, Japan beats every other country I've ever visited.
Earlier this year I had a chance to spend several days roaming food and cookware markets in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, including Kappabashi-Dori and Nishiki Ichiba which I had already reported on. What did I bring back? If you are interested, please allow me to introduce, pell-mell, some of the motley cornucopia I bought here and there. Perhaps you will, as I and my friend Isidore Lucien Ducasse does, find all this as intriguing and «... beautiful as the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissection table.»
I have dreamt of this one. A oroshigane, the traditional wasabi grater made from wood and shark skin. That's right. Wasabi is not the crap you eat with sushi. That one is an industrial paste made from horseradish and green food coloring. Real wasabi has a mellower taste and its cost reminds you of French truffles. It is a big greenish phallic affair that only keeps for a few days wrapped in a wet towel in the fridge. Serious Japanese restaurants (not only sushi places) sometimes grate it at the table, so you know that it is the real deal. And for this they use a sharkskin grater as fine as sandpaper.
Dusting off excess flour from my pasta board with this handbrush will be like an act of art. Such a delicate and simple design.
Many nations transform bamboos into cookware, but how often do they look as lovely as this bamboo spoon (other side) ...other side)?
I never could stand salad. But now, with this plastic salad leaf bought in a restaurant props shop in Kappabashi-Dori, I can make you guys believe that I'll eat my steak with salad.
I bought three mock bento boxes filled with candies.
From what I could see, these are mostly bought by obese Japanese schoolgirls. They look more than they taste - this is mainly colored sugar. But eye candy - that it is!
Eyecandy with a taste. Sweet and sour, with a funny sumotori head looking at you as you eat them, I bought these candies at the train station in Asakusa, Tokyo.
One of the two hand-forged knives I brough back from my memorable visit of Sakai's mighty bladesmiths. Astonishing piece of steel that I will demonstrate with my modest knife skills in an upcoming video.
Feel bloated after eating too much sushi? I have what you need, bought in Osaka but imported from the US of A. Doubles as a handy tool to prick meats before marination.
A gift for the man who has everything. These scissors enable you to cleanly cut the top off quail egg and not make a mess. At last!
If you like it I'll take pictures of other items.