Tag Archives: japanese

The Rest of the New Kitsap Restaurants of 2010 (Part 4 o 4)

This brings to a close our look back at the new eateries that have graced Kitsap in the past year, according to the the Kitsap County Health Department. If  you missed any, you can read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. If I’ve missed any, please let me know.

Seabeck Pizza (Silverdale) – The locally famous pizza chain that offers delivery by boat opened a sixth shop in Silverdale. The new spot is a bit more landlocked near the corner of Myhre and Ridgetop. I’m still waiting for the day when they’ll deliver to the city of Bremerton.
Location: 9919 Trident Lane, Silverdale

Seoul Korean BBQ – Kitsap now has two Korean restaurants with this more recent addition to the local food scene. (The other being Suzy’s Kitchen near Sixth and Callow in Bremerton). It offers Korean barbecue shared and cooked at the table, tried it over the holidays, and said the place did not disappoint.
Location: 10408 Silverdale Way NW, Silverdale

Shima Express – Though they’ve offered such and other Japanese fare on the Island for quite some time, Shima last year opened an addition for sushi and bento boxes on the go.
Location: 112 Madison Ave. N, Bainbridge Island

Taqueria El Huarache – This Mexican restaurant opened during the summer. They offer standard fare like fajitas and burritos that you’d expect at an American Mexican restaurant, but they also offer a few more authentic dishes, such as menudo and lengua as well as homemade Horchata.
Location: 19424 7th Ave NE, Poulsbo

The Daily Dish: I have to say this nearly every time I talk about this place. Pasties. It’s pronounced pass-tees. They’re not the things you find at local espresso stands. They hail from the midwest and they’re like pot pies you can hold in your hand in beef or veggie with a side of gravy for dipping. Plus, the Dish offers early morning breakfast muffins and fresh mini doughnuts with a variety of dipping sauces, such as strawberry cream cheese or chipotle chocolate. Doughnuts also are offered in “Donut Offense” size to serve about 10 shipyard workers (60 donuts) who forgot their badges, got promoted, engaged, etc. I’ve been looking for something with character to fill the old home of the West Side Burrito Connection, and early last year I did.
Location: 208 First Street (near the ferry terminal), Bremerton

Favorite New Year’s Foods

Taken while shopping in Uwajimaya for New Year's Food.
Taken while shopping in Uwajimaya for New Year's Food.

Yesterday, I went with my grandma for our annual pre-New Year’s grocery shopping trip to Uwajimaya in Seattle to gather the foods that we’ll eat to celebrate the New Year. We buy (or our family in Japan sends us) some of the traditional foods for osechi ryori (traditional Japanese New Year’s foods), such as sweet black beans (kuromame), sardines cooked in soy sauce (tazukuri) and other goodies. We also have our own family tradition: we set up a hot plate and make yakiniku, thin-sliced beef and vegetables. And the night before, we’re supposed to eat long noodles and spread salt around the house, for long life and stop evil spirits from coming in.

Other Japanese families celebrate by making mochi rice cakes, as they do every year on Bainbridge Island (this year’s Mochi Tsuki is on Sunday.)

So it becomes inevitable that New Years and foods are linked together in my head. It seems every culture has some sort of New Year tradition surrounding food, from grapes carried on New Year’s Eve in parts of Europe to black-eyed peas eaten in the South. Travel guru Rick Steves even hosted a show about International New Year’s Eve, and nearly all the guests mentioned some sort of food.

So with that said, I’d love to hear and share some of your traditional New Year’s celebrations involving food. What do you eat and why?

New Japanese Restaurant on the Menu for Silverdale

It looks like there’s a new Japanese restaurant in Silverdale. No, it’s not another sushi place (Hakata’s has that pretty well covered in Silverdale). It’s a teppanyaki style restaurant, where meats and vegetables are cooked over a hot, flat grill while you watch. It’s called Fujiyama Japanese Steak House & Bar has in the Town Centre plaza

According to local blogger and real estate agent Rich Jacobson, who was invited to a preview taste at the restaurant (and wrote about it. He says:

“… Fujiyami serves up a wide array of elements as standard with their dinner entrees. You get a bowl of onion soup, a tangy tossed salad, choice of white sticky rice or fried rice, teppan-grilled vegetables with shrimp, and your selected entree. Prices for the dinner faire were fairly moderate, especially given the entertaining aspect of meal preparation.”

If they serve my favorite Japanese grill dish, okonomiyaki, and if they do it well, I may just be in heaven. I’ll be trying it out myself sometime after the holidays. If any of you go, please tell me how it is.

A Japanese Solution for a Cooling Hot-Weather Meal

Japanese somen. Photo by Shinzui via Flickr.
Japanese somen. Photo by Shinzui via Flickr.

On days like these, I crave one food (besides ice cream, which isn’t food, it’s just heaven): Japanese somen.

It’s a very basic dish of cold noodles dipped in a soupy sauce.

But it’s not just any noodles. Eating somen noodles is like eating cool strands of earthy, salty silk. They’re white wheat noodles, thinned by stretching the noodles until they’re about half the diameter of angel hair pasta.

You can do a variety of things with the noodles. The LA Times offered some suggestions early this month.

But my favorite way to eat it is the simple, traditional method. You dip the noodles into small bowls of sauce — called tsuyu — with some chopped scallions and a touch of wasabi or ground ginger paste. It’s the way I eat it with my grandma, sitting at the kitchen table, so factors outside of taste alone play into my preference, but it’s still pretty good and refreshing.

She boils the noodles in the mornings, which only takes a couple minutes, drains them and rinses them under cool water. She then picks up big mouthful-sized clumbs with chopsticks, twirls them into circles, arranges them on a draining tray and places ice cubes all around it.

She used to make her own tsuyu, using soy sauce, mirin, shiitake mushrooms and other ingredients, though I’ve yet to get a recipe. (There are a variety of recipes like this link online. Just type in how to make tsuyu.) But in the past few years, she’s been pretty happy just using the premade concentrates. You can find bottles at Central Market in Poulsbo or for a wider selection, you can head out to Uwajimaya in Seattle.

Gathering Around a Hot Plate for Yakiniku

Two plates of yakiniku being fried up.

Sitting around a table making yakiniku has to be among my all-time favorite eating experiences. The word itself describes it: yaki, meaning grilled or fried and niku, meaning meat.

It’s a meal where everyone joins in to cook (or should, but usually one person ends up taking charge of things), adding pre-cut veggies and thin-sliced meat to a table-set grill or hot plate. When the veggies and meats are done, , dip them in a savory sauce and eat.

It’s pretty simple, and the act of everyone gathering around trying not to burn themselves makes for a pretty fun time. It’s something my family has done every New Year’s Day for as long as I remember.

The prep work of cutting up the veggies is the hardest. Onions, mushrooms and cabbage and zucchini are good, but any grilling vegetable works. For the meat, ask to have the meat sliced very thin, about the width of deli meat, and guess about a half pound to a pound of meat per person.

Yakiniku from the sauce to the rice.
Yakiniku from the sauce to the rice.

Oil up a hot plate, turn on medium high and start with the onions and zucchini, or other items with long cooking time.Add the rest when the onions are half done, and add more as you feel like. Pick what you like, dip in a small bowl of sauce, maybe get a bite of rice to go with it and eat.

You can purchase yakiniku sauce at various Asian Grocery stories, but you also can make your own sauce. Here’s one I found on About.com

1/3 cup soysauce
3 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
1 tsp grated garlic

Grind sesame seeds. Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir well.

Munching on Comforting, Chewy Mochi


I like Christmastime and all, but the thing I look forward to the most is the week after. That’s when our family kicks into gear for a New Year’s Day celebration.

My grandma and I go on a big shopping trip to the wonder of an Asian grocery store that is Uwajimaya in Seattle, buying all the little foodstuffs we’ll eat on New Year’s Day to celebrate our Japanese heritage and be all together as a family again. I’ll blog more about that later.

This week also begins the glut of gooey goodness: mochi. For those who’ve never had the stuff, it’s rice that’s been mushed and mashed into a glutinous mass, made into patties and either eaten plain or formed into a variety of little goodies.

When I was a kid, my grandma and other Japanese ladies from around the peninsula would get together a few days before New Year’s and sit around someone’s kitchen.

They’d wait for a machine to grind and mix up the mochi rice, and when it was done, the hot steaming, glutinous blob would be plopped on a floured spot and, as if they had no feeling in their hands at all, they’d grab little blobs and form them into row upon row of little patties. Other times, grandma just rolls it out and cuts it into squares that you can eat right away or freeze. Continue reading