Welcome! I’m in your corner of the world, and we HO’s from the PNW are a small but mighty bunch. Every add’l person is an exponential increase in our total number That said, I hope we hear from you from time to time on the regional PNW board as well as on the more topical what’s for dinner and so on boards. I’m located in Bellingham. College kid in Tacoma. Lived for about 6 yrs in a studio apt in SEA for work until covid. Near the I5-90 crossing. But since it was a work apt and I was alone, I didn’t do much more dining in the 'hoods than to occasionally grab takeout from the ID. Anyway, good to have you here!
Shizuoka, Japan (formerly in Tokushima, hence my handle). Shizuoka is famous for tea and wasabi. Fish (especially bonito) and citrus (of any kind) is big here, too.
There’s honestly nothing like that I have to say about me/myself.
Eating the original Pastéis de Belém at the shop of the same name in Lisbon. I loved all the food I ate in Portugal except for bacalhau. I felt bad about that because it’s the national dish, but I just couldn’t stomach it. I didn’t care for Port Wine either which I also felt bad about that too because Porto (Oporto) is the favorite city I’ve ever visited.
I’m a NY born, LA raised American on my 3rd stint living in Japan. I lived in Osaka from 1984 to 1987, Tokyo in 1996 and have lived in Japan continuously since 2009. 2009～2021 in Tokushima and now in Shizuoka since September 2021. I love food but am definitely not a foodie or gourmand. And although I live in Japan, Japanese food is not my favorite. That would be Chinese food. My favorite Japanese food is “kinpira gobo”, which is thinly sliced, sautéed burdock root in a soy sauce, mirin and chili pepper coating (not really a sauce, I’d say). Every family’s recipe is a bit different…sometimes salty, sometimes sweet, sometimes spicy.
I just read your post Tokushima and I found myself agreeing, strongly, about your bacalau comment. I have a Brazilian friend who prepares one version of bacalao andvi really love it! What I did not realize is that there are hundreds of bacalao recipes, each of them VERY different from the one I love! It is funny now but during my stay in Lisbon last week I searched in vain for that type of a dish and ate 4 different versions that were each different and each disappointing.
But I did find a good bottle of port! Though it’s strength and sweetness take a little getting used to.
Then I visited a touristy bacalao pastel place that was surprisingly tasty and it was served w a decent, not great, port.
I think the type of bacalao i was looking for was a Bacalao a Gomes de Sa with tomatoes, potatoes, boiled eggs and olives. Never found it though.
Thanks for the warm welcome! I’m currently based on the Island of West Seattle but went to college in B’ham and have fond memories of that lovely place. I’ll check out the PNW regional board!
I’m curious about how you and @ZivBnd had bacalou in Portugal. I don’t recall eating it there, but I find that hard to believe since I love trying it different ways. I grew up eating the Trini fish cake version.
There is a salt cod thread here somewhere if you’re interested.
I am from New York and lived in LA for awhile too. Now I am in the N. California Bay area.
WWU? My husband taught there for 15 yrs before just recently switching careers.
Welcome! What were your favorites in Birmingham? It’s changed an awful lot. some great places are gone, but lots of new ones
I’m assuming they meant Bellingham Washington but I can always be wrong.
Probably not wrong. Given they are in WA state, they almost certainly meant Bellingham and not Birmingham.
Love bacalhau, especially in cream. All the best ports remain in Portugal. I visited a bunch of port producers and did lots of tastings.
Mt. Fuji forms a dramatic backdrop for Shizuoka. Stunning views. Would love to visit the “big island” again but we are still taken with the small far southern islands.
Btw, we have a forum member living in Japan who likes to tackle complex recipes and produces beautiful dishes. His video clips are brilliant, too. He’s not around lately, though. (cteavin is his name, and IIRC, he’s also from CA.)
Yes, that’s right! Finished my undergrad there 15+ years ago.
Yes, as others said, Bellingham, WA, not Birmingham. I forgot that other places would certainly use the same nickname, oops
A youngster! We did a poll of average HO age a while ago and it looks liked the majority of folks were 50+ with a smaller chunk in the 40-50 range and a much smaller chunk younger than that. I graduated college in '95 Not at WWU.
I’m sure I had it more than one time, but the most memorable dish I had it in was “Caldo Verde”, the famed hearty soup (which is often referred to as Portugal’s national dish) of kale, potatoes and bacalhau (I’ve seen it spelled as you typed it “bacalao” as well.) and although some recipes/places use lingüiça/chouriço this restaurant used bacalhau. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant because I went to Portugal in 2005 and while I have a good memory, such details from 18 years ago are too hard to recall. I do remember it was highly rated and I was able to sit outside facing a busy pedestrian only street near a public square. I didn’t like bacalhau because not only was it fishy (which I generally find cod to be anyway), I didn’t like the preserved taste of it (living in Japan which has lots of preserved foods generally isn’t a problem, though.)
As for Port wine, in general I don’t like hearty/robust or sweet wines. I did LOVE Vinho Verde, though. Light, refreshing and quite different from any wine I had drank in the USA.
Thank you for your comment and for telling me about another forum member who lives in Japan and is from CA…I’ll look them up later.
Shizuoka does indeed have stunning views of Mt. Fuji and I feel lucky to be able to see it daily (as long as the view isn’t blocked by clouds.) BTW, if anyone is interested in seeing Mt. Fuji from the Shinkansen (bullet train) or from the flatlands in general, winter is your best bet. BUT beware, Mt. Fuji is NOT open for climbing in winter. As to why winter is the best time to view it, that’s because winter in Japan tends to be quite dry.
The only southern island I’ve visited in Japan is Kyushu (which I loved). I’ve been to all the prefectures there except for Oita (there are 7 in total, even though “Kyushu” translates as “9 states”. There 's a long historical reason for the discrepancy which I’ll not get into). I’d love to visit the umpteen islands that form the many archipelagos from the southern tip of Kagoshima on Kyushu to nearly Taiwan, but I haven’t had the time nor money to do so (domestic travel in Japan is quite expensive and as a resident I’m not able to buy/use the famed Japan Rail Pass…which is actually good on limited ferries & buses).
Lastly, Shikoku (where Tokushima is) is Japan’s least populated/developed of the 4 main islands (though many might say the same of Hokkaido, but it has Sapporo, a huge city). If one wants to see how Japan “used to be”, a visit to Shikoku (which translates as "4 countries) and indeed has 4 prefectures on it) might be in order. MANY tourists, both domestic & international go on the “88 Temple Pilgrimage” around Shikoku. It’s supposed to be walked, but many of the temples can be accessed by car/public transportation. I have never done it myself as I prefer not to do such long trips (I have visited some of the temples in Tokushima, though.)
Sorry for being (ALWAYS!) so verbose. I teach English conversation here and it’s a hazard of the job. Typing this out makes me fear that I likely do the same thing in my lessons. I hope I’m wrong about that!
We stayed in Shizuoka for 5 days in 2019. A calm relaxing respite from the hussle and bustle of Tokyo.
Great day trip across the bay to Numazu/Izu. Sakura shrimp was in season! Enjoyable day eating and wandering around the fish market, hot springs, bamboo forest. We got full value from our 3 day Gaijin transport pass, and just bussed, JR’d and boated all over the area.
Happy to take the Suruga Bay Ferry “home” at the end of fun-filled day (included with our pass). We splurged for the 1,000 yen/2pp upgrade to first class (living large!). We were the only pax on the upper deck!!
Cruised by Fuji as the sun sets. Must Must return, soon!!
I could see myself living in Shizuoka. You are lucky!!!
Even from just the photos, it looks like it was a wonderful trip! I’ll eat “sakura shrimp” in a tempura fritter made with them, but as I’m not much of a fan of eating shrimp shells, I wouldn’t say I seek them out of even like them. But they are a very seasonal delicacy here. As for the other items in your seafood bowl, I am not a fan of “whitebait”, whether it’s boiled/steamed or raw (both preparations seem to be included). It’s really sad that I dislike them because oddly enough they are famous and popular in Shizuoka AND Tokushima, especially raw and eaten in tiny diners right at the port. They’re just much too fishy for me. I do LOVE wasabi and am happy to see what appears to be the real stuff in that bowl, NOT the “fake” stuff from the tube which is usually just colored “western” horseradish.
The first time I came to Shizuoka, about 30 years ago or so, I went to the Toro Ruins here in Shizuoka city. I was served freshly pounded (still hot!) rice cake with grated daikon radish, freshly grated wasabi root and soy sauce. I must say that’s the best food I’ve ever eaten in Japan. The dish is called “karami mochi” (loosely translated “karami” means “spice flavor”) and if you ever have the chance to try it, I highly recommend you do (I must say I’ve never seen it outside of Shizuoka, though.)
Well, Shizuoka IS the Birthplace of Wasabi Cultivation, according to the Explore Shizuoka website.
Wasabi Kit Kat?? Why not?
My Sashimi loving wife brought back a few sourvenirs.
Yes, it is. It is also the birthplace of Japan’s green tea industry. Shizuoka used to be the #1 producer of green tea in Japan, but that title has somewhat recently been relinquished to Kagoshima Prefecture. Kyoto’s Uji area is also quite famous for green tea. But you’ll never (at least I’ve never) see tea here in Shizuoka labeled as “Uji～” because of pride and all. Yesterday was the first day of the tea auction season. Earliest day ever…thanks to (due to?) climate change.
Shizuoka (though not the city) is quite famous for melons, too. Especially a type of green-fleshed melon called “Crown Melon”. The central part of the prefecture around Fukuroi City is where they’re mostly grown.
from http://www.crown-melon.co.jp/english/ –
“Many VIPs also love Crown Melon. When the queen of United Kingdom came to Japan and ate Crown Melon, we got words of praise.” Perhaps it’s because the Crown Melon was born out of the British cultivar Earl’s Favorite?
(on a side note, have you noticed that English versions of any random Japanese website are all business? Besides unintentional weird translations, they’re so rigid, yet much less informative. I default to the Japanese version because they dive deep into esoteric knowledge.
Coincidentally, this Crown Melon page has a Google Translate option embedded in the top-right corner.)