Posted by Patrick Maness
There was a time when people would get excited about trying a new international cuisine — Chinese, for example, or Japanese, Ethiopian or Italian. Plenty of people still get excited about going out for Thai, but the term is a bit generic. More than ever, people are interested in regional dishes.
This makes sense, of course. China, which is the third largest country by land area and home to 1.3 billion people, boasts a huge variety of foods. There are many differences between Sichuan, Cantonese, Shangdong and Zhejiang cuisines, much like Tex-Mex differs from New England seafood here in the U.S.
As more Americans are looking to drill down into the specific regional varieties of a country’s food — Venetian, Neapolitan or Lombard cuisines rather than just plain old Italian — they’re also looking to try some of the culinary innovations coming out of these countries. And one of the most inventive countries around is Japan.
Let’s look at a few options that could spruce up your restaurant's Japanese offerings.
In his café in Naygowa, Japan, Misuki Moriyasu concocted the ultimate hybrid food. A combination of what you should eat and what you want to eat, his salad cakes are just what they sound like: layers of vegetables disguised as a cake. Instead of frosting, he uses tofu and cream cheese blended with vegetables to encase the creation. Guilt free, delicious and worthy of all its buzz, these creations will likely show up on this side of the Pacific in due time.
A sushi mash-up
Americans can be pretty bold when it comes to mixing their foods, but sometimes, like when they put stuffed hot dogs into the crust of the pizza, it can get a little weird. Other ideas, like pouring milk over toasted bread (i.e: cereal), become mainstream. A lot of people are trying out the unlikely marriage of barbecue and sushi. That’s right, a bun made out of sushi rice, toasted sesame and seaweed, housing pulled pork, a beef patty, or more appropriately, some salmon and avocado. Will these sushi burgers become a thing? Perhaps.
The latest craze to hit New York is the raindrop cake. It looks like, you guessed it, a fist-sized raindrop. Inspired by the traditional Japanese dessert, Mizu Shingen Mochi, this playful treat is surprisingly easy to make. Though it's essentially flavorless Jell-O, it is creatively shaped, and while there’s a huge amount of initial novelty, it probably won’t have a lot of staying power.
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