A Taste of Japan January 27, 2013Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Travel & Leisure.
Tags: Food, Humor, Jackfruit, Japan, Lecture, Lychee, Travel
We went to a travel lecture on Japan yesterday at the Island Library.
Paul Stonebridge, an avid world traveler who enjoys tasting “mystery meat” in market stalls on six continents and once ate a cat-sized rat in Romania, brought Japanese snacks for us to sample. Most looked edible, if not enticing.
I spotted two suspect offerings at the far end of the table. The gelatinous and unappealing appearance of both did nothing to spark my appetite.
They lacked the juiciness of a ripe peach, the sweetness of fresh pineapple, the bite of a crisp apple, the creaminess of banana, the burst of goodness from a fistful of grapes.
* Paul brought two flavors of “Shocking Popping Candy” ~ cola and green apple. Like Pop Rocks, the candy fizzed and sputtered a bit before melting away. But despite its effervescent nature, it didn’t wake up my taste buds.
Neither did the sweet rice cakes which came close to being tasteless.
* We sampled tasteless “Jello Shots” made with agar (seaweed) instead of gelatin. Sweetened with lychee, the four shelf-stable colors tasted identical with no discernible flavor coming through.
The preserved plums looked promising. My anticipation grew as I removed the outer wrapper to reveal . . . another wrapper. I removed the inner wrapper to reveal . . . another wrapper. When I finally reached the center, a small gooey glob of fruit presented itself.
The taste? Not as sweet as dates or as lively as figs; decidedly . . . prunish.
* Next up . . . salty crunchy snacks. The wasabi seaweed crackers lacked the sharp horseradish bite expected from anyone who has tried wasabi coated dried peas. Not an unpleasant snack, but definitely not addictive.
Same goes for the shrimp and the fishy crackers. In the bowl, they looked like snacks we might serve on Super Bowl Sunday. On the tongue, they tasted fishy.
* Last up . . . dark chocolate straws. Although promising in appearance, these dipped wafers didn’t provide the sensory satisfaction sought from chocolate.
* We left the suspect offerings ~ eel and jellyfish ~ stewing in their gelatinous juices for others to try.
What? Would YOU have given them a go? No. I didn’t think so.
After the lecture, we walked on the bay side of the island for about 2 miles.
A few intrepid souls were in swimming. I wasn’t tempted to get wet.
Aah . . . that’s better!
Have you ever tried any of these Japanese snacks? What did you think?