Sweet potato slider

The Things We Eat

I’d make a terrible food blogger. Last week, we made a miso hummus with naan in a lovely presentation. Today I made sweet potato ravioli for lunch using gyoza wrappers. A splash of shooyu and a drizzle of sriaicha made it look fit for a menu photo.

However, by the time I think about photographing these gorgeous dishes, they look like this:

An empty hummus bowl

An empty hummus bowl

You’ll have to trust that there was hummus in that bowl at one point and it was SO delicious that it was finger-cleaned once the naan was eaten.

One of the most common questions we received before leaving was “what will you eat?” We both follow an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet, meaning we eat eggs and dairy, but fish, chicken, etc. are out. The Japanese have a seafood-heavy diet. Sakana (fish) sneaks its way into places you’d never expect to find it. Unagi (eel) and ebi (shrimp) are also common.

My somewhat flippant answer was some variation of “probably the same things we eat in the US?” Eating out is definitely more of a challenge, but we’re not tourists. We live here and cook at home the majority of the time. The produce is excellent and tofu was already a regular part of our diet at home.

It’s not without its challenges, but a little creativity goes a long way. For example, hummus usually has tahini in it, adding to the creamy texture. We swapped in miso paste instead. It gave a unique-in-a-good-way flavor to the dip.

We did capture some amazing meals:

Veggie gyoza

Veggie gyoza

Sweet potato slider

Sweet potato slider with all the fixins

Miso Soup

First homemade-from-scratch miso soup

We’ve also made:

  • Black bean sliders
  • Soba noodle stir-fry
  • Soba noodle spaghetti with walnut meatballs

The cooking process itself has some challenges as well. We procured a gas stovetop, the common cooking tool in Japan, which has two burners and a toaster drawer, but no oven. This makes baking impossible, but presents another opportunity for originality. We’ve seen some pre-baked pizza crust and might try to make frying pan pizza in the near future.

The most frustrating one has been the lack of cooking spray. The aerosol cans can’t be brought on the airplane, but we didn’t expect that we wouldn’t be able to buy it here. It’s just not used.

“Non-stick pan” is now a dirty word in this household as we’re scraping eggs off of our frying pans most mornings regardless of the amount of oil used. Every opportunity for internet includes some variation on a search for “how the heck do I get my eggs to not stick without cooking spray!?!?”

We are definitely those weird people at the restaurant who take pictures of their food, so hopefully there will be more yummy things to share along the way!



  • Reply Amy Daraghy April 10, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Can you procure a cast iron skillet? That’s what I use to cook eggs. I don’t use cooking spray just a tablespoon or two of oil. The eggs won’t slide out leaving the pan clean, but a well seasoned cast iron skillet is a treasure.

    • Reply Robert April 11, 2014 at 11:19 am

      I’ll keep my eyes peeled. I loved our cast iron at home! I was trying to keep the oil use down, but seems like that might be the best option.

  • Reply Linda Haddan April 20, 2014 at 3:53 am

    We have an oil spray bottle gadget that I got at one of the kitchen specialty stores. Has to be primed often and Jerry prefers the commercial spray.

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