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Trails to Oishii Tokyo

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Over the years, Japanese cheese has evolved to win international prizes. It has a rich aftertaste and umami characteristic of all Japanese cuisine. Visit leading natural cheese factories in Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan's largest dairy producer, to discover the secrets behind enhancing quality and a process that involves burying cheese in the ground. Also, meet a young cheesemaker who strives to make his small town famous for blue cheese.

Our theme this time is the sweet red fruits that sparkle like rubies: cherries! In Japan, cherries are expensive, high-end fruits popular for gift-giving: one box can go for over 500 dollars. We visit Yamagata Prefecture, Japan's largest cherry-producing region, to see how its high-grade cherries are cultivated and selected. We also discover cherry-based desserts, French dishes and more.

The most appealing thing about Japanese corn is its fruit-like sweetness. Hokkaido Prefecture's large corn fields are home to many varieties, including one that's soft enough to eat raw, another with kernels as white as snow, and a flint corn with large, rich kernels. In addition, we showcase a popular cornbread which people line up for hours to get their hands on, unique French dishes that feature corn's sweetness and texture, and much more.

Japanese eggplants vary in size, shape, flavor and more depending on the climate in which they're grown. In summer, peak season, many varieties line the shops. We visit Niigata Prefecture, Japan's largest eggplant consumer, to discover its unique eggplant culture. That culture includes special eggplant cooking methods and even eggplants salt-pickled in clay! Plus, we learn about the deep connections between eggplants and ancient Japanese customs.

The Japanese are one of the world's largest egg consumers. Featured in sushi and sukiyaki, eggs are an indispensable ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Japan produces several thousand types of eggs with a wide spectrum of colors and taste, to be enjoyed both cooked and raw. This episode explores a poultry farm pursuing innovative safety measures, and tastes Japanese egg culture through Tamago-yaki omelets, a popular item among Tsukiji's tourists, and Tamago Kake-gohan, fresh steamed rice topped with raw egg.

Fu

Fu is a processed, flour-based food eaten in Japan since ancient times. At first glance, it may look like bread, but it has few calories and lots of protein. This mysterious food soaks up umami like a sponge, making it a treasured ingredient in dashi soup stock-based Japanese dishes. Travel with us to an over 400-year-old city lined with beautiful buildings and streets to learn more about the elastic, kaleidoscopic treat called fu.

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