Jules on Tour

Japan, China, Laos 2014


1 Comment


I have only stayed in one place so far so cannot yet tell if this is typical, but the breakfasts served by the miniscule mother of the bed and breakfast owner make me almost want to cry they are so delicious and beautiful.

They consist of around eight small dishes, most freshly cooked, of delicately flavoured morsels of various kinds, all beautifully presented in little bowls and plates and carefully arranged to set them off to their best advantage.

Yesterday, there was a piece of fish, haddock apparently, that had been marinated in miso for two weeks, which gave it a very different texture, and then fried and flavoured with soy stock. Pieces of crispy fried tofu with ginger in  tempura sauce were in a bowl next to it, and in another one some pumpkin. There was miso soup, delicately flavoured with citrus and spring onion, and a tiny plate of tsukemono, which are Japanese pickles – cucumber and radish – and not at all like pickles in the UK. In between mouthfuls you could also have some sweet beans, of which I could have eaten a whole plate all on their own, or walnuts, sweetened and covered in a kind of seaweed, so they tasted salty, sweet and nutty at the same time. Egg and seaweed sprinkles are available for your rice should you require a further flavour hit. Plenty of lovely green tea to wash it down, and then some small pieces of fruit, carefully prepared and arranged on an iridescent plate finish it all off.

Today’s breakfast was tempura style, so the main dish was tempura of various vegetables, including carrot, onion, asparagus, pumpkin and sweet potato. The batter was incredibly light, and you had the choice of dipping each one in either salt or tempura sauce. The other dishes were: pieces of tofu in soy sauce with spring onions, miso soup with potato in it today, the rice was done in a kind of pilaff with mushroom, carrots and nuts, the standard tsukemono, a different kind of sweet beans (three kinds so far) and some more sweet seaweed walnuts. Strawberries to finish, and an orange to take away. Green tea.

And while you’re eating, traditional Japanese music is playing, and on the windowsill in front is a little shrine of various little figures and objects. The view out the window includes some old japanese houses along with the Tokyo Skytree, which a bit like the telecom tower except much prettier and also the tallest structure in the world.

OK some *some* may say Chinese food is better and Japanese food is boring, but perhaps if they had been treated to the ministrations of the miniscule mother they might think differently.


One thought on “breakfasts

  1. This reminds me of the Middle Eastern/North African breakfasts that people have from Morocco to Uzbekistan – multicourse affairs with bread, olives, salads, jams/honey, beans, eggs (boiled or perhaps fried), washed down with strong tea. I love them but of course modern life militates against these breakfasts because nobody has time to prepare them any more (except on peasant farms where they’re probably the only people who really need that kind of hearty start to the day anyway). Your typical Japanese salaryman probably wolfs down a coffee and a box of fried noodles before catching the bullet train – in my fantasy mind’s-eye vision of what life is like for working people over there…

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