Why Japanese autumn is 'autumn of appetite'?
It's still so hot in September in Japan. Japanese summer sometimes makes you feel like an endless agony. When the late September comes, it finally gets colder gradually. In autumn, there're so many foods are in the best season in Japan and they're amazingly delicious. Vegetables, Fruits, Fish etc. You cannot even name all of them. As Japanese summer is deadly hot, people in Japan are losing appetite in general. So, Autumn is the best time for Japanese people to explode their appetite!
TD Blog introduce 'must-eat' Japanese autumn foods for you!
Foods to eat in autumn in Japan
1. Saury Fish (Sanma 秋刀魚)
Sanma in Japanese is written as 秋刀魚. This can be read as 'autumn swordfish'. You can enjoy this fish all the year in Japan, but the best season is definitely autumn. Autumn Sanma contains much more fat. This is the secret of its best taste.
Squeeze a slice of lemon or Kabosu (Japanese citrus) on sanma fish and add grated Japanese white radish (daikon-oroshi 大根おろし) with soy sauce and eat it. It's a bliss!
Sanma goes very well with rice and beer. No kidding. In autumn, salary-men who are drinking beer with sanma fish can be seen in many Japanese bars.
You can get the best result when you use charcoal, of course.
2. Sweet Potato (Satsuma-Imo さつまいも）
Sweet potato is also a king of autumn taste in Japan. One of the most popular sweet potato dishes in Japan is stone baked sweet potato (Ishiyaki-imo 石焼き芋the picture above)
Simply just bite stone baked sweet potato, then you can feel happiness! You can see them at a supermarket (generally their stand is nearby the entrance) or at stall stand on the street (which is sadly quite rare these days).
The best way to find a location to buy it, it's simple. Follow the smell.
3. Persimmon （Kaki 柿）
Persimmon (a.k.a Sharon fruit) is a fruit which represents Japanese autumn. Autumn is also the best season for pear and grape in Japan. Having said that, persimmon should be the most common fruits in Japanese autumn. As Japanese like to see changing colour of leaves (紅葉 Koyo), the colour of orange & red is strongly connected to the image of autumn in the Japanese mind. So, persimmon makes us feel like autumn is in the air.
Light sweetness of persimmon really suits with a cup of green tea. Dried persimmon is also pretty popular in Japan. Please try this one if you prefer a sweeter choice.
4. Matsutake Mushroom (松茸）
The king of mushroom in Japan is 'Matsutake' without any doubt. The scent of this mushroom is exquisite. Matsutake is surely an equivalent of a truffle in the West.
You can eat simply charcoal-grilled matsutake mushroom, or mixed with rice. Add some matsutake in soup. As the best part of this matsutake mushroom is its scent, eat with less other spices & tastes is better. Enjoy original taste of ingredients as much as possible is a pretty common concept in Japanese cuisine.
The price of matsutake is very expensive and possibly makes you jump. Prices may vary depending on regions, the condition of matsutake etc, but normally one matsutake mushroom is between 3,000 and 5,000 yen. (20 - 35 pounds / 28 - 50 US dollars).
Not an everyday food, but it definitely worths a try. Because, it's a king!
5. Chestnut (Kuri 栗）
Chestnut is truly a versatile food which can be cooked in many different ways. In cold season in Japan, roasted chestnut stalls often can be seen everywhere in town. Its roasted smell is so irresistible and we often cannot buy one even though we didn't mean to do so.
Another popular chestnut dish is 'Kuri-Gohan' (Rice with roasted chestnut). Roaster chestnut makes rice a bit sweet and this is also a great autumn treat in Japan.
Feeling hungry now?
As mentioned earlier, Japanese people often call autumn as 'appetite of autumn' Now you see the reason. Don't eat too much when you visit Japan this season.
Thank you for reading!