Japanese-Inspired Banana Spongecake

Japanese desserts tend to be a bit lighter and less sugary than Western desserts. Also, bananas and banana-flavored treats are very popular in Japan. This banana spongecake is inspired by desserts we enjoyed throughout Tokyo. Enjoy!

Ingredients (Serves 8)

1 very ripe banana

2 eggs Continue reading

National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo Japan

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A visit to the Ueno cultural district in Tokyo, Japan would not be complete without a few hours devoted to exploring the National Museum of Nature and Science. Check out a sampling of the museum’s treasures below:

(Shown above: Yayoi Period human bones)

(Shown above: Crustaceans, Bivalves, and a cross-section of an ancient tree)

Admission is quite a value at 600 yen (approximately $5.30), which is significantly less than the cost of admission at many comparable museums around the world. The museum is open six days a week (closed on Mondays) year ’round. Be sure to check the website before visiting, in case of closure due to a Japanese holiday.

(Shown above:
A sampling of the museum’s impressive collection of telescopes and microscopes)

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Beautiful terrestrial and celestial globes made, unbelievably, from paper mache

The world is small. Have big fun!

Ueno Market

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Japanese Yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) and other grilled treats

Hopping off the JR train line at Ueno Station is recommended for any visitor to Tokyo, Japan. Ueno offers a concentration of world class museums and ancient Buddhist temples, many of which are accessible along the walking paths of beautiful Ueno Park. Today we explored an open air market in Ueno Park, and we were not disappointed!

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Japanese kindergarteners, looking spiffy in their school uniforms, were visiting Ueno Park on a field trip. So adorable! So well behaved! They melted my heart with their shy smiles.

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Aren’t these grilled fish interesting? At 600 yen (approximately $5.30) they were a fair price, especially considering that Ueno Park hosts many tourists.

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Non-food wares were expensive, but still fun to peruse. Aren’t these bonsai trees beautiful?

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Dango, a traditional sweet treat made from crushed rice, was delicious. At only 100 yen (approximately $0.89) for five bites, this was a very economical snack. It reminds me a bit of the Korean Garaetteok we made here at Crowded Earth Kitchen a while ago, with the addition of a delicious soy-based glaze.

Next time, we’ll feature photos from the fantastic Tokyo National Museum, also located in Ueno. Our world is small… have big fun!

 

 

Sushi Tokyo Ten

(Shown above: Shrimp with Salmon Roe, Akami and Toro Tunas, and Rock Lobster) 

Just outside of the busiest train station in the world sits Sushi Tokyo Ten. Simply entering the restaurant is a sensory experience, as a single step over the curtained threshold removes a diner from the chaos of Shinjuku Station and offers a calm and quiet, warmly lit enclave.

Sushi Tokyo Ten is a culinary adventure, perhaps especially for folks who think they know sushi. The reigning principle here is omakase, which translates as “I will leave it to you.” Over the course of two hours, skilled chefs prepare 20 different small plates for each dinner guest. Each plate is prettier than the last! At the end of the experience, diners leave sated and relaxed.

If you find yourself in Tokyo, I recommend spending an evening at Sushi Tokyo Ten.

Tokyo Train Station Bears

1029180200Hello again, fellow foodies and travelers. We’ve been busy exploring Korea and Japan! Throughout our most recent travels, we’ve logged many hours on trains. This means we’ve also logged many hours in train stations, which can be pretty cool places to explore! One evening, we channeled our inner five year-old and enjoyed a snack of these delightful, chocolate filled bears.

1029180203A bit like bite-sized, filled pancakes, these little bears are also available in caramel and custard flavors. A 14-count bag of these charming treats cost 580 Yen, or approximately $5.15. If the long line at the counter was any indication, we weren’t the only train travelers enchanted with these roly poly little pandas.

1029180202Stay tuned for more fun from Japan and Korea over the next few weeks here at Crowded Earth Kitchen.

 

Cookbook Giveaway!

cookbook-cover-imageThe Global Recipe Project Cookbook

Contest Ends May 30th

Two ways to enter:
1) Reblog this post!
2) Tweet a link to this post, and include @CrowdedEarthKit
———
Available on Amazon, 100% of the profits from The Global Recipe Project Cookbook will benefit not-for-profit organizations which feed people as a central part of their mission. Cooks and food bloggers from around the world have contributed to this amazing book. Over 170 recipes from 65 countries are included. Pick up a copy today, and support a worthy cause!
8″ x 10″ (20.32 x 25.4 cm) 
Black & White on Cream paper
136 pages
CEK Publishing
ISBN-13: 978-0998191607
ISBN-10: 0998191604
BISAC: Cooking / Regional & Ethnic / General

Review: Sushi GO!

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Bayview Bacon Sushi Burrito – Delish!

A new dining adventure awaits you on the Northeast corner of South Kinnickinnic Avenue and East Oklahoma Avenue in Bay View… Sushi GO!

For all of the dining options in Bay View – and there’s stiff competition here, my friends – sushi restaurants are still uncommon. There’s room in the local dining scene for a casually trendy place to meet friends for sushi and wine, and the proprietors of Sushi GO! are working enthusiastically to fill that space.

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California Roll (8 generous pieces per order)

You can, of course, find the usual suspects on the menu – ginger salad and miso soup, California rolls, veggie rolls, etc. If you’re an American sushi joint traditionalist, you’ll find these familiar comforts exceptionally well prepared. The ginger salad is lightly tossed with a flavorful dressing – no big glop of orangey-pink dressing here. The miso soup appears to be made with pressed tofu, and is quite enjoyable.

The real stars of the Sushi GO! menu are the sushi burritos. I’ll confess to being a former sushi burrito skeptic, because I was (wrongly) envisioning the football sized monstrosities at actual burrito chains. Well, get that out of your head. The sushi burritos at Sushi GO! are just the right size to be satisfying without being excessive, are made with well prepared rice and sheets of nori, and are filled with delectable combinations of ingredients.

Try the Bayview Bacon Sushi Burrito! As the menu says, this gem is filled with “Crab Salad, avocado, cucumber, bacon fat caramelized onions, [and] bacon.” The crab salad is excellent, and the bacon is a fabulous thick cut variety favored by connoisseurs. The Bayview Bacon Sushi Burrito is ah-mazing, and let me interrupt before anyone gets precious about “traditional” sushi ingredients. While exploring sushi offerings in every district of Tokyo, I saw Japanese diners relishing everything from fried eggs to miniature hamburger patties on their sushi. Anything goes. Anything. Bacon? Yes, please!

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Spicy Tuna Roll (8 pieces per order)

Amanda, one of the proprietors, was friendly and welcoming. She walked me through the menu, and even offered a generous sample of their Spicy Tuna Roll made with honey sriracha aioli (delish!). I visited at lunchtime with pint-sized diners, and she made them feel welcome.

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Pint-size Sushi Aficionado with a California Roll 

I can’t wait to return soon during evening hours for sushi and sake.

Gochisosama Deshita!

“It was quite a feast!”

Planning a visit? Check out SushiGoMKE.com or stop by at 2110 E Oklahoma Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207