Friday, January 6, 2012
Food for Friday: End of the Year Ramen & New Year's Osechi
It seemed fitting to end the year with something we have been checking out at various places around town. Because not trying it out when we have the chance to would be a shame. So off to my favorite market Marukai and one of the decent "fast food" places there, The Express. Now we have eaten other things at The Express and always found the food good. But since this year I have gotten into eating real ramen thanks to the ramen lovers on-line, I wanted to see if The Express could make it decently.
Want to know what I thought and see what the first real meal of the New Year was like?
Presentation was rather nice for this Shoyu Ramen from The Express. Lots of wakame seaweed and bean sprouts. Bits of green onion and a slice of naruto kamaboko top everything.
The pork slices were pretty good and the broth was quite nice. I liked how it wasn't too salty or strong but still had good flavor that was well balanced with the other ingredients. It definitely tasted like it had been simmering for a while, no dehydrated bits at the bottom of the bowl. As for the noodles? They were nice and firm and not over cooked. While this is not a rich tasting ramen, it is a very nice one that I think is a good bowl for a cold winter day and a pleasant way for us to end our year.
My other reason for going to Marukai that day was to pick-up an order of Osechi. I figured if I had the chance to try it, why not. This is the smaller of the two being sold and I thought it looked rather pretty. I wish I had a better place to photograph it. One day I will.
Osechi consists of dishes that will keep for a bit and also have special meaning. It's so one doesn't have to cook during the New Year's Day holiday.
Some of the dishes here were sweetened black beans with a chestnut or Kuro-mame for good health. Very good tasting too. The little fish were dried sardines cooked in soy sauce called Tazukuri. Suppose to symbolize a good harvest.
The Nimomo was really good. I want to get better at making simmered foods this year. I find I tend to eat vegetables more when they are cooked in this manner. I think because they are not in oil or butter and not burned till they seem wilted and limp. I kept the little ume blossom pick because I think it's adorable and I really liked seeing all of the ume or plum trees blooming when I was in Tokyo in March.
Also part of this was herring roe or Kazunoko. They say it's to bless people with lots of children. But I'm past that so perhaps that is why I found it bitter and could only eat a little of it. However the Kamaboko was nice as always and the rolled omelet called Datemaki wasn't bad. Datemaki is a wish for auspicious days so I am hoping that those may happen in the coming year. Definitely could use good things coming and I hope they come to all of you too.