Eat local: Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

Port Douglas, on the shores of Northern Queensland, Australia, attracts everyone from relaxation seeking urbanites to eco-conscious backpackers and nature enthusiasts

Port Douglas, on the shores of Northern Queensland, Australia, attracts everyone from relaxation seeking urbanites to eco-conscious backpackers and nature enthusiasts

 

Attracting everyone from relaxation seeking urbanites to eco-conscious backpackers and nature enthusiasts, Port Douglas is an intimate destination located on the shores of Northern Queensland.  Travelers can make their way up Flagstaff Hill to photograph the sweeping views of the Coral Sea or visit the animals at the highly acclaimed Wildlife Habitat.  Visitor frequently enjoy top-quality al fresco dining at any local restaurant or indulging in world-class spa treatments among the stunning scenery.  An ideal point from which to explore the Great Barrier Reef and the raw beauty of Mossman Gorge’s waterfalls, Port Douglas also offers access to the emerald jungles of the UNESCO-listed Daintree Rainforest, the oldest and continuously surviving tropical rainforest in the world.

 

The developers and owners, Susan and Alan Carle, of the Botanical Ark in the Daintree Rainforest, north of Mossman and Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia, met us when we arrived

The developers and owners, Susan and Alan Carle, of the Botanical Ark in the Daintree Rainforest, north of Mossman and Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia, met us when we arrived – they’re pictured here with a variety of the tropical fruits they grow and harvest on their property

 

Although you won’t come across a wooden vessel filled with animal pairs, a private visit to the Botanical Ark may evoke Noah’s biblical conservation efforts.  New York State transplants Susan and Alan Carle devoted the last 40 years to collecting and preserving tropical plants from over 40 countries, nurturing some 500 endangered fruit and nut species on their property in the Daintree Rainforest.  Every day, an estimated 200,000 acres / 80,000 hectares of rainforest is burned around the world, often destroying flora and fauna found nowhere else.  A small group of eight of us from the ship were fortunate to get an appointment for a private visit to the Botanical Ark.  After a welcome drink of Guanabana juice – it tastes sweet and sour, lightly creamy like a banana combined with pineapple, then it also has lemon-like acid and citrus notes; the creamy texture is like custard – accompanied by breadfruit chips (with salt), Alan gave us a detailed overview of the history and ethic of the Botanic Ark.  This was followed by lunch on the verandah of their home that featured fruits and vegetables grown on the property, along with locally sourced seafood and fish.  The Carles have won awards from Slow Food International and other accolades for their efforts and expertise.  Following lunch Alan guided us on an educational walk through the rainforest where he pointed out numerous interesting and unusual fruits and flowers, along with some highly useful rainforest trees such as bamboo and rubber.

 

The verandah dining table at the Carle’s home in the Botanical Ark where we enjoyed a luncheon of fresh local fish and a bounty of vegetables, salads and fresh fruits from the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

The verandah dining table at the Carle’s home in the Botanical Ark where we enjoyed a luncheon of fresh local fish and a bounty of vegetables, salads and fresh fruits from the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

 

Our luncheon plate with fresh local fish and prawns and fresh grown, local fruits at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

Our luncheon plate with fresh local fish and prawns and fresh grown, local fruits at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

 

For the non-seafood eaters, a vegetarian plate at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

For the non-seafood eaters, a vegetarian plate at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

 

Sweet potato salad with Macadamia nuts for lunch at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

Sweet potato salad with Macadamia nuts for lunch at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

 

A Thai- or Vietnamese-style salad of green papaya (with a side of chopped peanuts) for lunch at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

A Thai- or Vietnamese-style salad of green papaya (with a side of chopped peanuts) for lunch at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

 

Our main desert was Susie’s recipe and homemade Guanabana cheesecake with Passionfruit the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

Our main desert was Susie’s recipe and homemade Guanabana cheesecake with Passionfruit the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia; Guanabana, also known as custard apple, soursop and Brazilian paw paw, is the fruit of Annona muricata, a broadleaf, flowering, evergreen tree — the exact origin is unknown; it is native to the tropical regions of the Americas and the Caribbean and is widely propagated

 

The unpeeled fruits that were the last course of our luncheon at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

The unpeeled fruits that were the last course of our luncheon at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

 

Lychees, pink dragon fruit, mango, white dragon fruit and mangosteens as the final course for lunch at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

Lychees, pink dragon fruit, mango, white dragon fruit and mangosteens as the final course for lunch at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

 

Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is an exotic, tropical fruit with a slightly sweet and sour flavor.  I’s originally from Southeast Asia, but can be found in various tropical regions around the world.  The fruit is sometimes referred to as purple mangosteen because of the deep purple color its rind develops when ripe.

 

Just before our hike into the rainforest, Alan had us taste a lemon slice before eating some “miracle fruit” (Synsepalum dulcificu) and then tasting the lemon slice and finding it slightly sweet, rather than sour; the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas

Just before our hike into the rainforest, Alan had us taste a lemon slice before eating some “miracle fruit” (Synsepalum dulcificu) and then tasting the lemon slice and finding it slightly sweet, rather than sour; the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

 

Banana trees and other fruit trees in the Rainforest at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

Banana trees and other fruit trees in the Rainforest at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

 

The fruit of the Mamey Sapote tree grow low down and close to the trunk of the fruit tree; the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

The fruit of the Mamey Sapote tree grow low down and close to the trunk of the fruit tree; the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

 

Mamey Sapote (Pouteria Sapota) has its origins in Central America.  The rough skin of this large 10-20 cm (xx-xx inches) fruit protects one of the sweetest, richest fruits imaginable (Alan gave us a taste – quite nice!).  The smooth orange pulp is able to provide sustenance, or enrich and flavor ice creams, drinks and pastries (their book on the “Botanical Ark” contains some recipes for same).

 

Flowers in the Rainforest at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

Flowers in the Rainforest at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

 

The welcoming (and farewell) display of fruits grown and harvested at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

The welcoming (and farewell) display of fruits grown and harvested at the Botanical Ark, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2020 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Eat Local: Vigan Empanadas, City of Vigan, Philippines

As we were touring the City of Vigan in the Philippines [see our previous blog post of the same name) enjoying colonial architecture, we passed by Irene’s Vigan Empanadas, a small hole in the wall café just beyond a well-preserved two-story house

As we were touring the City of Vigan in the Philippines [see our previous blog post of the same name) enjoying colonial architecture, we passed by Irene’s Vigan Empanadas, a small hole in the wall café just beyond a well-preserved two-story house

While exploring the City of Vigan by foot, we passed by Irene’s Vigan Empanada café.  For an afternoon snack, we headed back there to sample the Vigan empanadas.  They were prepared on a custom basis – we chose the pork empanadas [see the photo, below].  We thoroughly enjoyed them, noting a huge difference in having a crispy rice-flour shell, compared with the traditional wheat-flour pastry shells of Spanish empanadas.  Like our guide book, we would also recommend Irene’s!

 

“In between exploring the UNESCO-designated city of Vigan, make time to try the local Vigan empanada, sold by vendors on Calle Crisologo and in the surrounding streets.  The town’s signature delicacy starts with a shell made from a rice flour mixture that is hand-kneaded thinly on a banana leaf.  The filling is made with shredded papaya, grated carrots, bean sprouts, egg, and seasoned pork longganisa.  The empanada is deep-fried and served with Ilocos vinegar.  While pork longganisa is the traditional filling, many cooks add their own creative spin and make them with beef, chicken, crab, and bagnet.  Vegetarian varieties are also available.  Locals eat empanadas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack.  A 40year tradition, Irene’s Vigan Empanada is one of the best places to enjoy one of these savory snacks.” – The World In Currimao, Philippines

 

The late afternoon shadows gave the entrance to Irene’s Vigan Empanadas a sinister appearance -- but when we came back to try some empanadas, we were pleasantly surprised by the café’s coziness and the friendliness of the staff

As we were touring the City of Vigan in the Philippines [see our previous blog post of the same name) enjoying colonial architecture, we passed by Irene’s Vigan Empanadas, a small hole in the wall café just beyond a well-preserved two-story house

Here the chef is preparing a Vigan Empanada from scratch on a banana leaf; once the rice-flour dough is filled, it is fried for a few minutes in the fryer, City of Vigan, Philippines

Here the chef is preparing a Vigan Empanada from scratch on a banana leaf; once the rice-flour dough is filled, it is fried for a few minutes in the fryer that is behind, and lower down than the selection of cooked empanadas, City of Vigan, Philippines

 

Although it was only mid-afternoon, a number of patrons were enjoying snacks of Vigan Empanadas at Irene’s in the City of Vigan, Philippines

Although it was only mid-afternoon, a number of patrons were enjoying snacks of Vigan Empanadas at Irene’s in the City of Vigan, Philippines

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2020 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Kyoto Highlights (Part III), Honshu Island, Japan (2019)

We began our third day in Kyoto, with a tour of the Koho Nishiki Textile Studio, led by the master Nishiki silk weaving artist and art director Tatsumura Koho (the third generation artisan to own and direct the nationally acclaimed family studio)

We began our third day in Kyoto, Japan, with a tour of the Koho Nishiki Textile Studio, led by the master Nishiki silk weaving artist and art director Tatsumura Koho (the third generation artisan to own and direct the nationally acclaimed family studio)

 

“Woven on takabata looms since they were introduced from China over 1200 years ago, silk mon orimoro (design figures incorporated into the weave, itself), is exquisite, luminous, luxurious and multi-colored.  The high precision and skill level required to weave this fabric and the resulting extraordinary beauty and quality demands that it be distinguished from ordinary brocade by giving it a distinctive name, Nishiki.  In the Japanese language, the idiographic character used for Nishiki is a combination of the symbol for woven cloth combined with the symbol for gold, implying that the value of Nishiki is equal to that of money.

“Since ancient times, the word Nishiki has been used as an adjective to indicate great beauty as in the term, ‘Nishiki Autumn,’ to describe a colorful landscape in fall.  Nishiki, as a work of art, represents the pinnacle of silk weaving, rarely found in the world.  Historically, it has been highly coveted by the Japanese people, and remains a great source of national pride as an example of Japanese beauty.  Nishiki is created through the combined skills of numerous craftsmen, involving a broad range of technical processes that require time and patience. The work of Koho Tatsumura can be compared to that of a conductor who gathers together craftsmen like musicians in an orchestra, to complete each musical piece.  As the silk threads, each shining like gold, combine with one another, they come to harmonize as a brilliantly colored, dazzling, sublimely created Nishiki creation.

“The superb visual-textural feeling of silk’s infinite variations and hues, enhanced through processes cultivated over a millennium, is translated into works of art that will always draw our affection, regardless of the era.  At the studio of Koho Tatsumura we continue to produce woven fabrics as a Japanese art, preserving the tradition and skill, seeking to ever expand the beauty of Nishiki.

“Rather than thinking of weaving as flat and two dimensional, it can be created as a three-dimensional fabric.  This is one of the main defining characteristics of Nishiki, that it is woven in layers, creating a 3-dimensional effect.  Moreover, the individual translucent silk threads are like glass rods with a slightly rounded, triangular prism shape.  This is metaphorically referred to as a ‘silk prism.’  Because of this structure, silk thread both allows light to penetrate as well as reflects light and thus is able to sparkle with a diamond-like complexity.  By bringing the properties of silk thread to life in a woven piece of work and, moreover, moving it forward into the world of three dimensions, Nishiki becomes a ‘fabric of Light’ that manifests infinite changes in the light it encounters.” — http://www.koho-nishiki.com/en/

 

Master Nishiki silk weaving artist and art director Tatsumura Koho sells many of his fabulous beautiful three-dimensional woven silk fabrics as works of art in his studio, Koho Nishiki Textile Studio, Kyoto, Japan

Master Nishiki silk weaving artist and art director Tatsumura Koho sells many of his fabulous beautiful three-dimensional woven silk fabrics as works of art in his studio, Koho Nishiki Textile Studio, Kyoto, Japan

 

“Because there is no appropriate word for Nishiki in either English or French, we feel that the Japanese word ‘Nishiki’ can be used in foreign languages. Japanese-English dictionaries define ‘Nishiki’ as ‘brocade,’ but the two are really conceptually different things.  In order to expose the boundlessness and charm of what can be called ‘the most beautiful woven fabric in the world’ to a greater number of people worldwide, we continue our efforts to encourage the acceptance of the term “Nishiki” until it is universally recognized and used.” — http://www.koho-nishiki.com/en/

 

One of two 90-year old hand looms for weaving Nishiki silk fabrics at Koho Nishiki Textile Studio, Kyoto, Japan; on the left are visible the Jacquard punch cards that are programmed with the patterns for a given fabric

One of two 90-year old hand looms for weaving Nishiki silk fabrics at Koho Nishiki Textile Studio, Kyoto, Japan; on the left are visible the Jacquard punch cards that are programmed with the patterns for a given fabric, with 33,000 cards required for the most complex fabric produced at the studio

 

One of the masterpiece Nishiki silk fabrics produced by Tatsumura Koho and for sale (for well in excess of $US 100,000) at his studio, Kyoto, Japan, representing waves in the ocean with over 200 colors of silk used to weave it

One of the masterpiece Nishiki silk fabrics produced by Tatsumura Koho for sale (for well in excess of $US 100,000) at his studio, Kyoto, Japan, representing waves in the ocean with over 200 colors of silk used to weave it

 

The gateway standing at the entrance to Kamo Wakeikazuchi Shrine is called a torii, indicating that the area inside the gateway is sacred space, Kyoto, Honshu Island, Japan

The gateway standing at the entrance to Kamo Wakeikazuchi Shrine is called a torii, indicating that the area inside the gateway is sacred space, Kyoto, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Kamo Wakeikazuchi Shrine is quite old – by the end of the 7th century it already commanded considerable indluence; today, it is a well-known for a variety of ritual ceremonies and festivals and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kyoto, Japan

Kamo Wakeikazuchi Shrine is quite old – by the end of the 7th century it already commanded considerable indluence; today, it is a well-known for a variety of ritual ceremonies and festivals and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kyoto, Japan

 

The tower-gate(ro-mon) and the corridors to right and left are in front of the Main Shrine (Honden) at Kamo Wakeikazuchi Shrineare painted red, Kyoto, Honshu Island, Japan

The tower-gate(ro-mon) and the corridors to right and left are in front of the Main Shrine (Honden) at Kamo Wakeikazuchi Shrineare painted red, Kyoto, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Our last meal in Kyoto was a teppanyaki grill luncheon at Tokiwa at the top of Kyoto Hotel Okura in the center of the city; our seats overlooked the sprawling former imperial city with great views (#1), Honshu Island, Japan

Our last meal in Kyoto was a teppanyaki grill luncheon at Tokiwa at the top of Kyoto Hotel Okura in the center of the city; our seats overlooked the sprawling former imperial city with great views (#1), Honshu Island, Japan

 

Our last meal in Kyoto was a teppanyaki grill luncheon at Tokiwa at the top of Kyoto Hotel Okura in the center of the city; our seats overlooked the sprawling former imperial city with great views (#2), Honshu Island, Japan

Our last meal in Kyoto was a teppanyaki grill luncheon at Tokiwa at the top of Kyoto Hotel Okura in the center of the city; our seats overlooked the sprawling former imperial city with great views (#2), Honshu Island, Japan

 

The desert to conclude our luncheon at Tokiwa at the top of Kyoto Hotel Okura was simplicity and freshness on a plate – delicious fresh fruit, artfully arranged, Kyoto, Honshu Island, Japan

The desert to conclude our luncheon at Tokiwa at the top of Kyoto Hotel Okura was simplicity and freshness on a plate – delicious fresh fruit, artfully arranged, Kyoto, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Eat local: Okonomiyaki (a savory pancake), Okonomimura, Hiroshima, Honshu Island, Japan

From the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, we walked through the covered Hondori shopping arcade to Okonomimura where we had okonomiyaki (a savory pancake) for lunch, Hiroshima, Honshu Island, Japan

From the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, we walked through the covered Hondori shopping arcade to Okonomimura where we had okonomiyaki (a savory pancake) for lunch, Hiroshima, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Hiroshima, Japan’s culinary profile attracts foodies from around the globe.  Birthplace of Japan’s famous okonomiyaki (a savory pancake), the city’s version of the dish is a must-try for gastronomes.  Piled inside a thin crepe are layers of shredded cabbage, meat or seafood, fried noodles, and an egg; all topped with sauce, seaweed flakes and, optionally cheese or sliced green onions (scallions).  From the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, we walked through the covered Hondori shopping arcade to Okonomimura, an 8-story building with a collection of okonomiyaki restaurants on the second, third and fourth floors, all little mom-and-pop, hole-in-the-wall “restaurants” specializing in the city’s signature meal.  We read brief English language descriptions of the various restaurants and liked the descriptions of those on the second floor, where we headed.  Only about half were open, so we chose one in the front corner of the building filled with Japanese customers.  Luckily, they had an English-language menu so we were able to order two different okonomiyaki for lunch with a draft beer.  We sat at the counter, watching with great interest the construction and cooking of our made-to-order okonomiyaki on a hot griddle.  They were quite delicious and very filling.  No desert needed!

 

Okonomimura (on the right), an 8-story building with a collection of okonomiyaki restaurants on the second, third and fourth floors, all little mom-and-pop, hole-in-the-wall “restaurants” specializing in the city’s signature meal, okonomiyaki

Okonomimura (on the right), an 8-story building with a collection of okonomiyaki restaurants on the second, third and fourth floors, all little mom-and-pop, hole-in-the-wall “restaurants” specializing in the city’s signature meal, okonomiyaki (a savory pancake), Hiroshima, Honshu Island, Japan

 

There was a staff of 5 or 6 to prepare the okonomiyaki (a savory pancake) on the hot griddles for a total of only about 14 seats (customers) at the L-shaped counters in front of the griddles, Okonomimura, Hiroshima, Honshu Island, Japan

There was a staff of 5 or 6 to prepare the okonomiyaki (a savory pancake) on the hot griddles for a total of only about 14 seats (customers) at the L-shaped counters in front of the griddles, Okonomimura, Hiroshima, Honshu Island, Japan

 

After making the pancakes on the griddle, the okonomiyaki were piled high with shredded cabbage, proteins (pork in one, pork and shrimp in a second), with oil for cooking poured on; Okonomimura, Hiroshima, Honshu Island, Japan

After making the pancakes on the griddle, the okonomiyaki were piled high with shredded cabbage, proteins (pork in one, pork and shrimp in a second), with oil for cooking poured on; Okonomimura, Hiroshima, Honshu Island, Japan

 

After cracking an egg and spreading it on the griddle to a circle the size of the pancake, the okonomiyaki was flipped over on top of the cooking egg; Okonomimura, Hiroshima, Honshu Island, Japan

After cracking an egg and spreading it on the griddle to a circle the size of the pancake, the okonomiyaki was flipped over on top of the cooking egg; Okonomimura, Hiroshima, Honshu Island, Japan

 

The finished shrimp and pork okonomiyaki topped with shredded dried seaweed; Okonomimura, Hiroshima, Honshu Island, Japan

The finished shrimp and pork okonomiyaki topped with shredded dried seaweed; Okonomimura, Hiroshima, Honshu Island, Japan

 

The finished pork okonomiyaki with udon noodles and topped with sliced green onions (scallions); Okonomimura, Hiroshima, Honshu Island, Japan

The finished pork okonomiyaki with udon noodles and topped with sliced green onions (scallions); Okonomimura, Hiroshima, Honshu Island, Japan

 

The road north from Okonomimura, where we had lunch, to the Shukkeien Garden [see our upcoming blog post], through downtown Hiroshima, Honshu Island, Japan

The road north from Okonomimura, where we had lunch, to the Shukkeien Garden [see our upcoming blog post], through downtown Hiroshima, Honshu Island, Japan

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Eat local: Jagalchi (Seafood) Market, Busan, South Korea (2019)

One of the main streets in Busan, South Korea, the country’s second-largest city and one of Lonely Planet’s top cities to visit in Southeast Asia a year ago

One of the main streets in Busan, South Korea, the country’s second-largest city and one of Lonely Planet’s top cities to visit in Southeast Asia a year ago

 

“Home to majestic mountains, glistening beaches, steaming hot springs and fantastic seafood, South Korea’s second-largest city [population 3.4 million] is a rollicking port town with tons to offer.  From casual tent bars and chic designer cafes to fish markets teeming with every species imaginable, Busan (부산) has something for all tastes.  Rugged mountain ranges slice through the urban landscape, and events such as the Busan International Film Festival [early October 2019] underscore the city’s desire to be a global meeting place.” – www.lonelyplanet.com

 

Busan captivates visitors with its intriguing history, artistic spirit, delicious street food, and cosmopolitan personality.  Important sights to see include the poignant United Nations Memorial Park and sacred Buddha relics at Tongdosa Temple.  Locals and visitors can enjoy a hike along the stunning coast of Taejongdae Park and explore regional history at the Busan Museum.  You don’t have to be a cook or chef to marvel at the unrivaled selection of fresh fish at the massive Jagalchi Market – the largest in South Korea.  Experiences as varied as wandering the winding alleys of Gamcheon Culture Village (now a creative community of brightly painted houses on the slope of a coastal mountain, originally home to refugees during and after the Korean War) or indulging in the local cuisine along Gwangbokdong Food Street show that Busan delivers great opportunities for exploration.

 

Archway over the entrance to a shopping street leading to BIFF (Busan International Film Festival) Square, Busan, South Korea

Archway over the entrance to a shopping street leading to BIFF (Busan International Film Festival) Square, Busan, South Korea

 

A pedestrian shopping street near BIFF Square lined with food carts in advance of the opening of the 2019 Busan International Film Festival, Busan, South Korea

A pedestrian shopping street near BIFF Square lined with food carts in advance of the opening of the 2019 Busan International Film Festival, Busan, South Korea

 

A downtown street food vendor with typical South Korean snacks , Busan, South Korea

A downtown street food vendor with typical South Korean snacks , Busan, South Korea

 

A street full of fish and seafood stores and restaurants, across from the Jagalchi Seafood Market in downtown Busan, South Korea

A street full of fish and seafood stores and restaurants, across from the Jagalchi Seafood Market in downtown Busan, South Korea

 

The street-side front aisle (one of three), nearly one city-block long, lined with fish and seafood vendors in Jagalchi Seafood Market, Busan, South Korea

The street-side front aisle (one of three), nearly one city-block long, lined with fish and seafood vendors in Jagalchi Seafood Market, Busan, South Korea

 

Shoppers and chefs can wander the first floor of South Korea’s largest fish and seafood market for an unrivaled selection of raw, dried, and cooked varieties.  The majority of vendors are traditionally female and have earned the nickname Jagalchi Ajumma (married woman).  The second floor of the market features various seafood restaurants that will cook seafood purchased on the first floor and serve it at seats in their restaurant.

 

Beautifully colorful scallops front and center amid an array of octopus, clams and crab in a stall at Jagalchi Seafood Market, Busan, South Korea

Beautifully colorful scallops front and center amid an array of octopus, clams and crab in a stall at Jagalchi Seafood Market, Busan, South Korea

 

A variety of fresh and smoked fish in a stall at Jagalchi Seafood Market, Busan, South Korea

A variety of fresh and smoked fish in a stall at Jagalchi Seafood Market, Busan, South Korea

 

Fresh Asian abalone (very expensive!), Jagalchi Seafood Market, Busan, South Korea

Fresh Asian abalone (very expensive!), Jagalchi Seafood Market, Busan, South Korea

 

A variety of shrimp and prawns at a stall in Jagalchi Seafood Market, Busan, South Korea

A variety of shrimp and prawns at a stall in Jagalchi Seafood Market, Busan, South Korea

 

A vendor – a Jagalchi Ajumma (married woman) – cleaning squid at her stall in Jagalchi Seafood Market, Busan, South Korea

A vendor – a Jagalchi Ajumma (married woman) – cleaning squid at her stall in Jagalchi Seafood Market, Busan, South Korea

 

This crab looked like it just finished yoga and was saying “Namaste”, Jagalchi Seafood Market, Busan, South Korea

This crab looked like it just finished yoga and was saying “Namaste”, Jagalchi Seafood Market, Busan, South Korea

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Eat local: Ōmi-chō Market and Morimori Sushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

One of the 170 vendors in the famed Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan, that has been supporting Kanazawa’s gastronomic culture since the middle of the 18th century

One of the 170 vendors in the famed Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan, that has been supporting Kanazawa’s gastronomic culture since the middle of the 18th century

 

From our ship in the port, one day in Kanazawa we headed downtown mid-day and went to the famed Ōmi-chō Market where there is a dizzying array of local produce and fresh seafood.  We planned our time there so we could get a number at Morimori Sushi (restaurant) and shop while we waited for our turn to be seated (see below).  The market has directly supported Kanazawa’s gastronomic culture since the middle of the 18th century.  It has more than 170 vendors selling local delicacies, clothing, fruits, Kaga vegetables, seafood and meats.  Additionally, there are several restaurants and ramen shops within the market building.  We splurged at the market and bought some beautiful sliced wagy-like beef for a home cooked dinner in our apartment, with special local mushrooms and fresh vegetables.

 

An array of beautiful (and colorful) fresh produce at a vendor’s stall in Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

An array of beautiful (and colorful) fresh produce at a vendor’s stall in Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Notice the packaging of these melons – quite special, with prices to match (US$18 to US$30, EACH!) -- Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

Notice the packaging of these melons – quite special, with prices to match (US$18 to US$30, EACH!) — Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

While you’re splurging, how about one crab for US$80? -- Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

While you’re splurging, how about one crab for US$80? — Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Then there’s the wagyu-like beef slices, which are about US$40 per pound (it’s actually priced in Japanese Yen per kilogram (2.2 pounds)), Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

Then there’s the wagyu-like beef slices, which are about US$40 per pound (it’s actually priced in Japanese Yen per kilogram (2.2 pounds)), Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

We ended up paying about US7.50 for one of these special local mushrooms to accompany our lightly pan seared (in lard in a cast iron skillet) wagyu-like beef

We ended up paying about US7.50 for one of these special local mushrooms to accompany our lightly pan seared (in lard in a cast iron skillet) wagyu-like beef slices – it was quite different from button mushrooms and porcini and king mushrooms, and had a nice spiciness; Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Morimori Sushi is Kanazawa’s most recommended conveyer-belt sushi restaurant, offering sushi of outstanding freshness; Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

Morimori Sushi is Kanazawa’s most recommended conveyer-belt sushi restaurant, offering sushi of outstanding freshness; Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan – here the intrepid traveler is receiving a platter of specially ordered tuna (maguro and toro) for lunch

 

Morimori Sushi is Kanazawa’s most recommended conveyer-belt sushi restaurant, offering sushi of outstanding freshness.  We were forewarned that there is always a line to get in, so we arrived earlier than our desired luncheon time, put in our names, got a ticket with a number, and then shopped in Ōmi-chō market for a half hour before our turn came up to be seated at the counter.  In addition to selecting items from the conveyer belt, diners can (and we mostly did) order from an online iPad menu.

 

Tuna (five kinds, including toro (fatty tuna belly)) on a platter at Morimori Sushi, Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

Tuna (five kinds, including toro (fatty tuna belly)) on a platter at Morimori Sushi, Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Delicious, sweet shrimp (ebi) sushi at Morimori Sushi, Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

Delicious, sweet shrimp (ebi) sushi at Morimori Sushi, Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

It has to be special when you pay US$23 for five nicely boxed apple pears at the Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

It has to be special when you pay US$23 for five nicely boxed apple pears at the Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Local seafood delicacies and other prepared foods, including tofu; Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

Local seafood delicacies and other prepared foods, including tofu; Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

We saw only one sake store in all of Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

We saw only one sake store in all of Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

We returned to our favorite food vendor from our previous visit, selling yellowtail tataki and salmon tataki, which we had thoroughly enjoyed – this time we bought several (frozen and vacuum packed, so it travels well!); Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa

We returned to our favorite food vendor from our previous visit, selling yellowtail tataki and salmon tataki, which we had thoroughly enjoyed – this time we bought several (frozen and vacuum packed, so it travels well!); Ōmi-chō Market, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan [Tataki is a Japanese food preparation method where the meat or fish is very briefly seared over a hot flame (or in a pan) and then thinly sliced and seasoned with ginger (ground or pounded) and served with soy sauce and garnishes, like sashimi.]

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.

 

Eat local: Otomezushi , Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

The charming wooden exterior of the excellent (but hidden from street view) sushi restaurant, Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan, where we enjoyed an outstanding luncheon

The charming wooden exterior of the excellent (but hidden from street view) sushi restaurant, Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan, where we enjoyed an outstanding luncheon

 

After our self-guided walking tour of Kenrokuen Garden, we walked over to the Naga-machi (old samurai) neighborhood, where, with the guidance of Google maps, we were able to walk behind a fence along a hidden path by a hostel to find a jewel of a sushi restaurant, Otomezushi.  Luckily, we had made a reservation considerably in advance of our arrival in Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan, as the sushi counter has only eight coveted seats and the restaurant has just a few small tables in the adjacent small dining room.  We were greeted by a very friendly sushi chef behind the counter who spoke some English and made us feel right at home, leaving the menu selection (8 pieces of sushi for lunch, plus soup and beverages) up to him – omakase.  Our hour-plus luncheon turned out to be some of the best sushi we have ever eaten.  Back on the ship a little reading online brought us several critical reviews noting that Otomezushi is not only the best sushi restaurant in Kanazawa (a city of nearly 500,000), but is considered one of the best sushi restaurants in Japan.

 

We were mesmerized by the skills of the master sushi chef (we were seated at the center of the counter, giving us bulls-eye dead center seats for watching the preparation of all sushi for the restaurant over lunch), and, being surrounded by all Japanese diners, felt it would be inappropriate to photograph the individual servings of sushi.  The chef did agree to let me take a couple of photographs at the end of the meal.  Unfortunately, the photographs can’t fully convey how fresh the seafood was and the expertise of the chef in cutting and preparing the fish and seafood, rolling the rice, and then adding wasabi, sauces and garnishes to each individual piece of sushi.  Definitely the best uni we have ever eaten, and the toro (super fatty tuna) was right up there, too.  A fabulous experience (both the theater of watching all the preparations and the enjoyment of the superb sushi) – and we were very pleasantly surprised at how reasonable the total bill was.  Otomezushi gets our highest recommendation.

 

The master sushi chef preparing individual pieces of sushi – our seats were at the counter, right in front of the chef; Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

The master sushi chef preparing individual pieces of sushi – our seats were at the counter, right in front of the chef; Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

The chef’s sushi knife and a selection of fresh fish and prawns in the cooler at the preparation counter, viewed from our seats; Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

The chef’s sushi knife and a selection of fresh fish and prawns in the cooler at the preparation counter, viewed from our seats; Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

The master sushi chef preparing calamari by scoring the surface in several directions – it was amazingly tender; Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

The master sushi chef preparing calamari by scoring the surface in several directions – it was amazingly tender; Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

A broader view of the selection of fresh fish and seafood in the coolers at the preparation counter; Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

A broader view of the selection of fresh fish and seafood in the coolers at the preparation counter; Otomezushi, Kanazawa, Honshu Island, Japan

 

Legal Notices: All photographs copyright © 2019 by Richard C. Edwards. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.  Permission to link to this blog post is granted for educational and non-commercial purposes only.