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Trails to Oishii Tokyo

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Today we focus on ginger. Often grated, finely chopped or even pickled, ginger is an indispensable ingredient in Japanese cuisine. The pink "gari" eaten with sushi is actually pickled ginger. The spice has become known for its health benefits in recent years, as it improves blood circulation and can even be used as a disinfectant. Let's find out more about the uses of ginger in Japan.

Our focus today is Hijiki, a variety of seaweed that has been consumed in Japan for over 1,000 years. Much like tea leaves, this nutritious, low-calorie food is often dried, and soaked in water before use. Hijiki grow quickly at the start of spring on rocky coastlines, and are only available for harvest for a few days. Dive in to find out more about what ancient Japanese considered to be a gift from the sea.

Our focus today is Hijiki, a variety of seaweed that has been consumed in Japan for over 1,000 years. Much like tea leaves, this nutritious, low-calorie food is often dried, and soaked in water before use. Hijiki grow quickly at the start of spring on rocky coastlines, and are only available for harvest for a few days. Dive in to find out more about what ancient Japanese considered to be a gift from the sea.

Hokkigai, or surf clam, has a special place in the hearts of the Japanese thanks to its thick meat, unique umami and nutritional value. It's great not only as sashimi, but grilled, deep-fried and more. Over 80% of the Hokkigai caught in Japan comes from Hokkaido Prefecture. We visit Tomakomai, a port city in Hokkaido, and discover the various ways Hokkigai is prepared and eaten there, from sushi to curry! We also find out how fishermen use safe, cutting-edge fishing methods to protect the species.

This episode focuses on Kanpyo - a white, stringy, and noodle-like food unique to Japan that is actually peeled and dried parts of a vegetable. Kanpyo-maki is a popular snack easily found in convenience stores. It is also used in place of string to keep foods in form. 90% of Kanpyo production takes place in Tochigi Prefecture, where one can witness exciting production methods, and taste various Kanpyo recipes from Japanese cuisine and sweets to French cuisine.

The Karei is a type of flatfish beloved in Japan. Karei is great as sashimi, of course, but also simmered, grilled, deep-fried, and more. In short, it can be enjoyed in a variety of ways through the year. This time, we travel to Oita Prefecture in Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's main islands, to discover a highly-valued type of karei called Shiroshita-karei. There, we talk to fishermen and chefs to discover what is behind the great flavor of this fish.

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