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Trails to Oishii Tokyo

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Onions are eaten throughout the world, but in Japan, they're cooked with original techniques and used in a variety of Japanese dishes. This time, we bite into some of those dishes, including one available for just a short time in spring and another that features onion leaves. How have onions influenced Japanese cuisine? Join us to find out!

Pumpkins are known around the world, but Japan's are known for their strong, sticky-sweet flavor. They are eaten throughout the year in many ways, such as boiled and fried in tempura. Japan has over 30 types of traditional pumpkins, which originated in Portugal, took on many unique forms thanks to Japan's varied climate, and all have their own interesting shapes and textures. Join us to discover where pumpkins are grown and the simple ways in which they are cooked to retain their delicious flavor.

Japanese rice is known for its strong stickiness and sweetness. In Japan, where cooked rice is eaten without seasonings, focus is placed on the deliciousness of rice itself. In spring, planting season, farmers pray to the deity of the harvest for a good crop. In fall, people around Japan celebrate the delicious new rice. Some even have festivals! In Japan, rice is more than just food: it's connected to religious beliefs and culture. This time, rice, which continues to be loved by the Japanese.

Sanma is a fish that glitters like a sword. In Japan, Sanma is both extremely popular and reasonably-priced, at around a dollar per fish. Rich in umami-packed fat, Sanma is delicious when grilled with just a punch of salt. It's also great as sashimi, in soup, and much more. This time, we visit Kesennuma, a famous Sanma port in Tohoku, to learn all about this autumn treat. Why do the Japanese fall prisoner to Sanma's charms every fall? Dive in and find out.

This time, we focus on sea cucumbers. When you see one of these bizarre-looking creatures, you may wonder who first thought of eating them! But they're actually considered a delicacy on the level of caviar and foie gras! They can be eaten raw, of course, and when dried, they sell for high prices abroad. Their dried innards are a perfect match with sake! Join us as we visit the harsh winter seas to see how sea cucumbers are caught, and to learn more about this winter delicacy.

The sea urchin, a thorny, mysterious sea creature whose umami-packed meat is beloved in Japan, is used in sushi, traditional cuisine and even desserts. We visit the beautiful coast of Iwate Prefecture in Tohoku, northern Japan, to see the innovative ways sea urchin is cultivated. We also see how locals, including a railroad bento lunch box shop, use fresh sea urchin to create dishes you won't find anywhere else.

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