Along with going to school, doing homework, making sure I have clean clothes, and recording my thoughts on life in Japan in both my personal journal and this blog, there’s one more concern that comes up a few times a day: What am I going to eat?
I avoid eating out too often, especially at places like McDonald’s and KFC. For lunch, I sometimes have something made at my dorm, but if not then I don’t hesitate to get something from Rikkyo’s cafeteria, because their food is really good. For the most part, I like to make sure my diet from day to day is balanced, so the best thing to do is to prepare my own food.
Here’s a few things that I’ve had over the past few weeks:
This is a rather inaccurate representation of what’s in my fridge, actually. This photo was taken about a week after arriving in Japan, so I still didn’t have a lot of ideas for food. These days, I often have:
- uncooked chicken breasts (some are kept in the freezer)
- canned fruit–I mix cans of peaches, pineapple, and mandarin oranges together and put them in a container.
- ready made salads–Preparing salad myself is time consuming, and I don’t want to produce too much and let it go to waste.
- milk–This and the eggs are mainly for making pancake batter.
- tempura and korokke–I discovered that these are very, very cheap at the grocery store around 8 or 9 o’clock at night, so I refrigerate them and then heat them in the toaster oven when I want to eat.
This is my version of ‘oyakodon’ (親子丼). ‘Donburi’ of any sort is a bowl of rice with something on top, such as pork for ‘katsudon’ (カツ丼) or shrimp tempura for ‘tendon’ (天丼). Oyakodonburi, or ‘oyakodon’ for short, is a dish of chicken (親, the word for ‘parent’) and egg (子, the word for ‘child’) served on top of rice. A light sauce and some onions are usually included, but I don’t have time to cut up onions and things like that. So I used some leftover ramen soup powder and black pepper to season the chicken, and then to finish I poured a bit of sesame oil on top.
At one point, when I didn’t have any rice, I made udon (thick, white noodles) and put chicken and egg on top. I call it ‘udonburi’ =)
My typical breakfast includes a fried egg and a hash brown (in Japan they call it ‘hash potato’). At first I also made pancakes, but then I discovered that pancake batter can be used for more delicious things (which you’ll see below). So this particular breakfast includes onigiri, which is a rice ball–typically triangle-shaped–filled with some kind of meat or vegetable. I mainly use tuna since it’s pretty cheap and tastes good, especially when the tuna is kept in salad oil.
This was my first experiment with pancake batter. I had some chicken and extra batter in my fridge, so I decided to make chicken strips. They were pretty good, and very tender.
THIS. THIS IS GOOD STUFF. I’m not sure what to call it yet, but it’s DELICIOUS. Or, as they say on Japanese TV, ‘めっちゃうまい’ (‘meccha umai,’ or ‘really really delicious’)! I attempted to make funnel cake for breakfast just a few hours ago, but according to most recipes I didn’t have enough oil. So I decided to use as much oil as I could without dumping the small bottle I just bought the day before. I proceeded to follow the format of using a funnel, and just turned over the cake to fry the other side. When it was done, I used a paper towel to soak up the excess oil, and then topped the cake with pancake syrup and strawberry jam, since I didn’t have any powdered sugar.
That cake was the best thing I’ve ever cooked so far. I’m not sure what made the taste different from a regular pancake; I think it was either the addition of cinnamon to the batter or the canola oil, since typically I don’t use oil to make pancakes in a non-stick pan. But anyway, it was so good that it inspired me to finally write up this entry about food, which I had been too lazy to do before.
I’ve been thinking that I should eat more beef, but as I told Kenisha, if I want beef I’ll go to McDonald’s or some other restaurant. Beef at the grocery store, along with fresh produce, is REALLY expensive.