In Japan: part 1

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Crackling has just returned from a holiday in Japan. Yes, the food was amazing.

There is so much to tell and to explore about my time in Japan, food wise, but to start here is a simple story about one chilly day in Osaka.

Crackling and entourage took lunch with Maeson,  frontman from Anglo/Japanese Rock super-group MuddyApes


We had lunch at one of Maeson’s favourite family restaurants in Shinsaibashi area of the city.  Public Kitchen was like a Crouch End cafe with out the pushchairs that served simple, fresh and extremely healthy traditional Japanese meals. Our lunch included plenty of vegetables including an autumn pumpkin stew and brown Japanese rice known as haiga-mai. It is partially polished and still retains all the nutrients of the germ without tasting like wood chip. I will be using this meal as a springboard to examine Japanese cuisines over the next few weeks. I would have liked to post a complimentary story about feasting on sake and grilled meat on sticks in a Shibuya ikazaya post-Muddy Apes gig, but this was a family holiday. Maybe next year.

The Kuromon Ichiba Food Market was a few blocks away so Crackling strolled through the city streets to get to know lunch’s ingredients and their suppliers a little better.



This market is not a tourist attraction, cooks throughout Osaka buy their ingredients here daily. The open workshops and elderly artisans are real and functioning. I wonder what will happen to their knowledge and traditions when they finally disappear. There is so much to say and ask about the market that it needs at least one post to itself.

I am yet to attempt even the basics of Japanese cookery, it’s on the cards but there are no recipes to share just yet.  If you can’t wait for Crackling, head over to Muddy Apes and Feeder bass man Taka Hirose’s instructional inspirational blog


However, if you are interested in the science and production of Japanese staple ingredients, such as kombu, pickles and rice noodles, and finding out why they are so important in terms of function and flavour in Japanese cuisine, you can take a look through Crackling’s Science section over the next few weeks.


Japanese Pickles


Rice Noodles


Hida Beef

Ramen Broth


Dashi and Bonito




Jah, Matta



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