Saturday, December 11, 2010

Japanese foods outside Japan

In her latest cartoon in the December 5th issue of Mainich Shinbun (Japan's fourth or fifth major newspaper), Rieko Saibara, a Japanese cartoonist, reports "Japanese foods" she encountered outside Japan. (This particular cartoon can be seen on this page until December 19th.)

1. Katsu-don in India

Katsu-don is a bowl of rice topped with deep-fried breaded pork fillets. In India, it is stir-fried pork and vegetables soaked in the soy-sauce based marinade used for yakitori (skewed chicken).

2. Zaru-soba in Manaus, Brazil

Zaru-soba is soba noodle served cold on a bamboo basket (topped with shredded nori seaweed), accompanied with dip sauce made of soy-sauce, soup stock, sake and sugar. In Manaus, the dip sauce is black rice vinegar.

3. Cha-han in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Russia

Cha-han is Chinese-style fried rice. The good one contain little moisture in it. In Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, it is a bowl of vegetable oil with rice sunk on the bottom.

4. Norimaki in Myanmar

Norimaki is a sushi rice (with raw fish inside) rolled with nori seaweed. In Myanmar, rice is boiled with sugar only.

Well, these are rather extreme examples of wrong interpretations of Japanese foods outside Japan. But it explains why I don't want to eat Japanese foods outside Japan. Non-Japanese people that I meet outside Japan often assume I want to eat Japanese foods. That's totally wrong. It's much better to eat European foods (or foods of immigrants' countries such as Lebanon and Ethiopia) if I'm in Europe.

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