wa-shoku (making japanese food in canada)


finally, finally the day i’ve been waiting for has come… GOBO. i found a fine-looking GOBO (known in English as burdock) at eastern market here in saskatoon. i’ve previously found gobo in winnipeg, toronto and vancouver, but i was only visiting, so i didn’t get a chance to cook them. i hadn’t eaten gobo for a long time, so my love for gobo grew and grew. when i found one at the market last week, i almost exclaimed “GO~BO~” out loud, but i managed not to react. if i’d been with someone, i’d probably have been talking about the beauty of gobo for a long time. gobo is a magical vegetable — my favorite. it’s crunchy, tasty, fragrant, and full of fiber. i’m so happy to have found it here.

after living in canada for six years, i figured out a little trick to make sure i can eat japanese food while in canada. my trick is: find similar ingredients in different country’s cuisines.

for example:

  • dutch bread is similar to japanese shoku-pan. (the portuguese introduced bread to japan in 1543)
  • english mustard is the same as japanese mustard (maybe we copied the recipe?).
  • pickling cucumbers are similar to japanese cucumbers.
  • tahini is shirogoma paste.
  • purple basil is aka-shiso.
  • hoisin sauce is similar to okonomiyaki sauce.
  • pomelo fruit is zabon.
  • watercress is basically mizuna.
  • etc, etc.

these connections make me happy. i find it more meaningful to be able to make japanese food using ingredients from other countries. as we eat together, the similarities between people are more apparent than the differences.

although my mom’s kinpira-gobo (burdock salad) is the best on earth, i did my best to cook it myself. finally my favorite wa-shoku (japanese cuisine) dish was on our dinner table. :) we had pinot grigio in sake cups. we had a good laugh. i even got to use my little japanese bowls.

the dishes i made:

  • top: steamed chicken breasts with mustard on blanched green beans
  • top left: kinpira gobo (sweet soy sauce flavoured) with carrots, sesame seeds and thai red chili
  • top right: horenso goma-ae ( boiled spinach with sesame)
  • bottom left: takikomi gohan (flavoured rice with gobo, renkon, carrot, tofu and sliced green beans for garnish)
  • bottom right: kakitama jiru (soup with egg and tofu and green onion for garnish)

my girlfriend mayu-chan makes delicious vegetarian wa-shoku. check it out! mayu-chan was kind enough to suggest sending gobo to me from toronto. i was very touched♥.

arigato mayu-chan.

Author: yuka

can you see this?

10 thoughts on “wa-shoku (making japanese food in canada)”

  1. YUM! That all looks delicious. It’s making me hungry – only 20 minutes until lunch so that’s good news. I’ve never tried cooking gobo myself but we eat it all the time. I also love goma-ae. One of the best things about living in Japan is definitely the FOOD.

  2. Your dishes all look yummy and also beautiful! I love Takikomi-gohan. Maze-gohan is also my favorite. They are very similar, but a little different. Oh, right, I’m so happy that you found gobo in Saskatoon. With gobo, I’m now trying to make other dishes than Kimpira. Any idea?

  3. >kat chan
    aren’t you lucky :) i hear the rainy season is finally over in japan. the weather must be so nice now. enjoy your stay in japan!

    >char chan
    arigato~ i was kind of worried that i wouldn’t be able to cook them well, but it turned out pretty good. thank you recipe books!!

    >mayu chan
    you must have a lot of gobo… (gomen yo~)
    how about gobo-salad with karashi-mayo? ton-jiru/buta-jiru might be good too, but it might be too hot to eat in the summer :D

  4. Mmmmmmm! Gobo is just about my favorite. Yuka, did I (or did Tim) ever tell you the story of what happened the time he and I were in the Moss Burger in Maizuru one evening, with the kitten? They’re probably still talking about it in Maizuru.

    We were eating kinpira gobo burgers, which taste so good that I’d fly to Japan just for those.

  5. Heh. One evening Tim and I went to Moss Burger on Rt. 27 in Nishi Maizuru. We were sitting at a table when I could hear a tiny kitty squeaky noise, and we looked around and could find it at first. It was coming from the light fixture above us – and it was a very young kitten and somehow it had gotten inside the light fixture. I covered the table with newspaper and stood on my toes to get it, which I did. I brought it to the Nishi Maizuru Police station (who were now used to me bringing in stray animals) but the best part was the look on the faces of the Moss Burger employees as I stood on the table. Oh yes. Whee!

  6. wow~ you’re so kind!! that must have been an active kitty! ahaha, i wanted to see the look on the employees. i can easily picture it just by thinking of my mom’s face when i stood on a table to dance :D “dame dame dame~~~!” :(

  7. Yuka – your meal looks beautiful and delicious. Of course, I am not familiar with the ingredients but when you are able to introduce me to more Japanese food, I will be happy. (I notice I cannot use a contraction in this comment box.) Enjoy fringing!

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