Sweets – spiritual food in Japanese life

In a life, a person has ups and downs, life passes like the seasons. At happy, sad times, sweets are indispensable, which convey the mood of each person. On the day of Japanese Hare no iwai or preparing red bean rice, kouhaku manju, Tsuruno komochi, torikomochi. Torinokomori or three or five tortoise-shaped morigashi or crane. In addition, on the days of the Buddhist Party, there are dumplings for the seasons, Kagusa manjuu, black bean rice or cakes with daffodils, camellia or lotus flowers.

Indeed, sweets have truly become an indispensable food in Japanese people’s lives. And below are the types of cakes related to each specific event throughout the life of a person born in this Cherry Blossom.

Chakutai iwai: on the day of the fifth month of pregnancy, pregnant women will wrap a bandage on their abdomen and wish for a safe baby birth. This day is called the death day, based on the safety of dogs being born. Today there are sweets like Kouhaku mochi, Obijime dango, Sekihan.

Shussanshuku ceremony – a congratulatory greeting for the baby: at birth, the arch of the bow and arrow will make the devil run away thanks to the mystical power of the bow. On the third day after birth, the baby’s family will go to the neighbor’s house and give Obaki rice balls to them. Today there are Harawata sweets, Mitsume-ohagi, Torinokomochi or Sekihan.

Omiyamairi Ceremony: On the 31st day for boys and the 33rd day for girls after birth, the Japanese will have to visit the guardian deity, praying for a child without a disaster or illness. Kouhaku manju, Torinokomochi, Sekihan are often used on this Omiyamairi occasion.

Lễ Hatsusekku – lễ chào đón những đứa bé mới sinh. Lễ chào đón cho các bé gái được gọi là Momo no sekku, lễ chúc mừng cho các bé trai thì gọi là tango no sekku. Vào ngày này có các loại bánh Kashiwamochi, Chimaki, Sakuramochi, Hinaarare, hishimochi, kusamochi.

The unique Japanese cuisine culture

Japanese cuisine is the most famous in the world because of the fussy manner in processing and decorating each dish, the taste of Japanese food is usually elegant, gentle. It is suitable to the natural atmosphere of each season, bearing boldness own identity. Coming to Japan, you should not miss the opportunity to enjoy the unique and artistic dishes of the beautiful Phu Tang country of Japanese cuisine is also known as Washoku.

This is a very unique feature of Japanese cuisine, a subtle and harmonious blend of Japanese cuisine with Chinese and Western dishes. Therefore, you can’t help but be surprised when the Japanese table is filled with sausages, bread, … or the habit of drinking coffee in the morning.

Most Japanese dishes are very low in calories but ensure adequate nutrition for the body. The main ingredients used for processing are usually derived from soybeans, seafood from the sea and vegetables. Therefore, Japanese cuisine in addition to meet the needs of delicious food is very nutritious for health. It may be the same dish, such as ramen, but each region has a way of processing and bringing a distinct flavor.

A blessing on the occasion of the new year such as sake to eliminate evil spirits, prolong life, tofu with strong wishes, wish your family always happy with grilled cod eggs. Shrimp is central to longevity, long life. Sushi with sea bream instead of prosperous wishes, …

For Japanese food culture, they often say “itadakimasu” before eating rice. It means “to invite” as a thank you to those who have prepared for that meal. After eating, they will say “gochiso sama deshita” – meaning “thank you for the delicious meal”. When pouring sake, it will be poured to others and poured only for themselves when the bottle is empty.

Kazoku Ramen

Ever since I had to say goodbye to the love of my life (i.e. gluten), I’ve had to make do with poor substitutes and laughable facsimiles. The gluten free landscape has become more bountiful as of late, but the realm of wheat-free ramen has been fairly disappointing. So, when I learned that Kazoku Ramen, a restaurant close to my new place of employment, offered gluten free noodles, I was desperate to give it a try. Edmonton has been raving about its ramen restaurants for the past year and I’d automatically assumed that my allergy would exclude me from indulging myself–thankfully, I was wrong.

Kazoku is a new restaurant located in Mayfield/Meadowlark in west Edmonton. They’ve been open since October 2015 but I hadn’t heard much about them, other than from Cindy’s review on Let’s Om Nom. Of course, moving to the west end for work gave me ample reason to browse the list of restaurants in the area–thus, my first visit to Kazoku.

The restaurant is cozy but with plenty of table space and featuring an adorable wall painting of a godzilla chewing on a piece of narutomaki. The menu is brief but well-stocked, featuring a handful of traditional Japanese appetizers (think gyoza and edamame), tempura, ramen bowls, curry, and rice bowls. The server was a little quick on the draw, asking us what we wanted less than one minute after handing us the menus, but I assume that’s because lunchtime at Kazoku brings in the hoard of regulars, each one knowing exactly what they’ll have that day. We needed a little longer to decide, finally settling on the gluten-free miso ramen with pork shoulder char siu and the Japanese char siu rice bowl. (Note: the miso ramen is the only soup that’s gluten-free. While they have gluten free noodles, the soup base for most ramen bowls includes soy. Celiacs should also note that the char siu marinade may include trace amounts of gluten, so this restaurant is much more suited to those who are gluten intolerant.) 

Miso ramen noodle bowl

For only $13, you get a huge bowl filled with delicious soup, noodles, delightfully salty meat, and all the fixings: a half soft-boiled egg, shredded nori, bamboo shoots, corn, toasted sesame, green onion, and narutomaki. Kazoku prides themselves on including fresh ingredients in all of their dishes, including hand-picked pork, free range chicken, and locally grown produce–and it shows. The flavours are amazing. My miso ramen, despite having a smaller portion of noodles than normal (thanks, gluten-free), was excellent. I couldn’t help but finish the bowl, even with the possible risk of me falling asleep at my desk afterwards.

Japanese char siu rice bowl

The restaurant does, however, close on Tuesdays–holding inconsistent weekly hours is just one of the things smaller, independent restaurants tend to do. When I showed up there on a Tuesday at lunch, it was entirely my fault for not checking the hours beforehand. That still didn’t keep me from being disappointed that I wouldn’t get an excellent bowl of ramen that day (though I have learned my lesson since then).

In any case, if you’re in the area or feel like making the trek to the west end, I recommend you swing by Kazoku, say hello to the naruto-nibbling godzilla, and sit down to a steaming bowl of delicious ramen.

Kazoku Ramen
16518 100 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5Y 4Y2
(780) 483-0448

3.5/5

Volcano Restaurant

Volcano is in a great location for those living south of Whyte Avenue–easily accessible by Calgary Trail and Gateway Boulevard, the restaurant offers both Japanese and Vietnamese cuisine in a well-decorated, spacious building. The combination of Asian flavour offerings is unusual but not unheard-of in our city, where one can get Korean short ribs at many Japanese restaurants, or enjoy a Pad Thai served up alongside a Curry Laksa.

When we arrived at the event, we were greeted with a glass of prosecco and given a chance to grab a seat at one of the many tables. The food samplings were laid out in platters: sushi, sashimi, and maki on one side of the table, short ribs, spring rolls, and pork chops on the other. The divide was interesting but not unwelcome–it’s nice to be able to pair cool raw fish with a cooked item or two.

I took a little bit of everything, grabbed a sake caesar, and sat down with my plate of goodies. Everything was good, although the short ribs will always come up tops for me. The tuna sashimi was light and fluffy, as it should be, and the unagi maki was filled with flavour.

We were lucky enough to witness the ribbon cutting ceremony, introduced by Ingrid Schifer de Dennis from Schif and the City and followed by a brief speech from the owner of Volcano. The event also had a photo booth set up by Mojo Photo, which was a great way to document the occasion (other than the usual flurry of tweets and food photos, of course).

I haven’t had a chance to try the full menu yet, but I’d rate Volcano as a tasty, reliable Japanese/Vietnamese restaurant based on my experience at the grand opening. I don’t feel like I can give it a fair rating until I dine there on a regular night, so my apologies for not including the usual wine glass ratings at the end of this post.

The prices are in the mid- to high-range for a sushi restaurant, so I’d estimate prices to be around $40-50 per person for sushi (depending on how much you can eat) and around $15-20 per person for Vietnamese. They also offer a variety of Western and Chinese dishes, including brunch omelettes and chicken stir fry. The menu on the website doesn’t appear to be working at the moment, but you can view their full offering on SkipTheDishes.ca.

Volcano Edmonton
4226 Gateway Blvd.
Edmonton, AB T6K 7J1
(780) 756-2218