Another multicultural family happened to be my host in Yamashinden, Watauchi Wakaho, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. It was a quite unique experience. I tasted two unique life style, included food preferences under one roof. In morning, I always stuffed my stomach with those sugar-overloaded English breakfasts following the preference of the husband, which mostly the same with tea times and snacking cheat times outside. Meanwhile, lunch or dinner would be stuffed with more vegetables or various healthy and delicious Japanese foods (I know, Nao always lured all of us to live healthier life after the sugar-filled day foods). Oh, Lord, I couldn’t ask more. 🙂 ❤
I skip the English breakfast since it was quite dull and had never changed for two 12 days; butter, toast, spoonful sugar milky coffee, cheese, and salad.
I always grateful for having the breakfast. However, having dinner with the entire family member was kind of a food fiesta after a busy day. What was more, the lady of the house always made it for us, sometimes Rolly, the husband cooked the prepared ingredients.
First thing first, vegetables rich ramen
You hardly forget the first thing of everything. So do I.
I arrived around dinner time on the day before and I skipped the family dinner time. As a substitute, we had lunch together. Since Nao was a great lady who was busy managing the house while inside and got her hands full of energy-heart-time-consuming duties while at office, our first lunch together came out as simple as vegetables rich ramen (she said it was practice).
It might not describe well in the picture, but the taste of that monumental bowl of vegetables ramen spread with fine size beef was simply tasteful, fresh, and fulfilling.
Gyoza party the day after
Gyoza is Japanese name for dumpling. Weather was pleasant that day, which was a good day for frying outside your plenty of gyozas filled with generous beef and small amount of vegetable (carrot if I remember it right) and had miso soup as condiment.
As far as I remember, my entire hosts never took the nice weather for granted, they tried to have the best of it like having dinner outdoor accompanied by wine. From what I experienced a good day would always be a good friend of one or more glasses of wine. And for that time, Rolly told me that it was the wine that family treasure. They drank it for special occasion or when the atmosphere just felt right (I think I bring such just right atmosphere everywhere I went to help). 😀 😀
Beating the heat with Soba
Located in the highland and surrounded by lush greenery might one of many causes of the mild and fresh air of Watauchi Wakaho, compared to basin type Nagano city. However once in a while, the bright sun sill could generate the heat, so that one day, we had the cold noddle (soba) served on our plates. It was a perfect dish to beat the heat.
Or its variant, one of which was the signature of Nagano prefecture.
Mouthful savory curry rice
Since I first tasted curry rice at one of shop in Tokyo station, it has become one of my two most favorite Japanese foods to have in Japan and another one is ramen. My likeness to Japanese food and what was my favorite food were two questions that Nao asked me during our first meeting conversation. In couple days after I arrived, pork curry rice was served for dinner.
It was savory. Nao told me that for most of Japanese, making curry rice was a piece of cake. She made it seemed too easy to make, but I didn’t think so. I noticed she big-size chopped few basic curry vegetables such as carrot, potatoes, and onions. And then mixed it with the curry special packed spices, poured in water, and patiently slow stirred the mixture until it was perfectly blended.
I still think one has to have the skill to make such delicious curry rice.
I made it once, with the same spices, ingredients, and followed the steps. However, it tasted completely different and my other family members didn’t want to touch it anymore after one spoon. Great.
Nao actually asked me many times about my most favorite Japanese food and I couldn’t come up with much better idea than curry rice and ramen. Those two dishes might be like flipping one’s hand for Japanese, so she sometimes wanted to make sure what else I longed for. I got nothing else in mind. I remember I had curry rice more than the other dishes. Even when we had dinner outside. They chose curry rice restaurant.
And the other times we had it with their another treasure wine (remember a sign of a nice weather or feeling of celebration). I loved it. ❤ ❤ ❤
Plateful beef over fresh vegetables
When I stayed with them for few days, I also learned that Nao managed our meal full of nutrition from vegetables than beef. However when we had beef, she made sure that we would not run out of beef until we all got satisfied. Adding to that, she would never serve a plate full of beef without abundance fresh vegetables from our own garden, which we planted with our own hands, and took care with our own hearts.
And I would never leave them on table being un-photographed. 😀 😀
The serving was kind of satisfying for stomach, mind, heart, and soul.
More variant of mixed noodle
Noodle was one of the main menus yet my love for noodle always approved it. This type of serving reminded me of sister home’s favorite cook. It was similar, except media to cook it. We used special semi bowl fried pan, but Nao just used her favorite all purpose electric flat fan.
I recall that one lunch; Nao boiled the fiddle-heads that we picked up on the mountains. She’s a thoughtful person.
More beef meant much more vegetables
I mentioned above that once we had beef, Nao made sure plenty of fresh vegetables served along on the table, moreover on that day when she just attended nutrition seminar.
Farewell fiesta with barbeque
The special dish because it was served only on special purpose. We had it on my last night in Nagano. The whole things that revolved around BBQ time were awesome. It was one of the most memorable events during my staying in Yamashinden, one hilly village with all the richness it could offer.
Of all the dishes I mentioned above, none of it was dissatisfying, even for the simple soba that I never ordered in any restaurant that I had visit during my trip in Japan. All the meals were fulfilling and fresh. It was distinctively and exclusively being enjoyed in Yamashinden and only that way. 🙂 ❤
Anyway, do you have one or two dishes that could emotionally remind you about something?