TRAVEL & FOOD

TRAVEL & FOOD (27)

The Man Who Brought Sushi to America, Part V

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The Man Who Brought Sushi to America, Part IV

Introducing Sake to America

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with Noritoshi Kanai, chairman of Mutual Trading Co., Inc. and the man who coined the phrase “sushi bar.”

Overnight Sensation

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Overnight Sensation

Anthony Bourdain's Culinary Quest Crosses Cultures

Chef, TV host and author Anthony Bourdain began his culinary career as a dishwasher and worked his way up to line cook, sous chef and chef in New York restaurant kitchens. Rave reviews for his 1997 article “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” published in the “New Yorker,” helped spawn his New York Times bestselling memoir “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly” in 2000. Instant fame launched the Culinary Institute of America graduate’s career from executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles to television host of “A Cook’s Tour,” and two Emmy-winning programs: “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” and CNN’s “Parts Unknown.” These programs have allowed Bourdain to swap New York kitchens for worldwide culinary adventures, as local hosts introduce him to their culture and cuisine. Tokyo Journal Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie spoke with Anthony Bourdain to find out how he went from small fry in the Big Apple to the big cheese on television’s top news, food and travel channels.

The Man Who Brought Sushi to America, Part IV

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The Man Who Brought Sushi to America, Part IV

Remembering the War

This is the fourth in a series of interviews with Noritoshi Kanai, chairman of Mutual Trading and the man who coined the phrase “sushi bar.”

Mari’s Homemade Cooking Recipes

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How to Kusa-Mochi (Japanese Mugwort Monchi with Anko)
草もち


Ingredients:

• 200g of joshinko (fine rice flour)
• 20g sugar
• 200cc warm water (adjust the amount depending on the humidity)

Mari’s Homemade Cooking Recipes

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How to make Tonkatsu (Pork Cutlet)
とんかつ


Ingredients (4 servings):

• 4 center cut pork chops
• Salt and pepper
• 1 cup of panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
• 1 egg, beaten
• Flour
• Vegetable oil for frying
• Tonkatsu sauce
• Shredded cabbage

The Man Who Brought Sushi to America, Part III

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Introducing Japanese Food Culture to America

This is the third in a series of interviews with Noritoshi Kanai, chairman of Mutual Trading and the man who coined the phrase “sushi bar.”

TJ: Can you tell us about Rocky Aoki and Benihana?
KANAI: Rocky Aoki and I were introducing Japanese food to the U.S. almost at the same time, with me on the west coast and Mr. Aoki in New York. Mutual Trading’s idea was to introduce traditional Japanese food culture to Americans. However, Mr. Aoki combined Japanese and American food to create something brand new – the Teppan steakhouse. Since then, the spreading of the Japanese food business was based on two styles – Mr. Aoki’s Benihana Restaurant-style and my idea of traditional food, namely sushi. Mr. Aoki was a very personable man and a better businessman than me. Benihana grew through advertising and Mr. Aoki’s self-promotion. Finally Benihana arrived in California and I took my sushi concept to New York. At that time, I remember thinking to myself that sushi had a bright future due to its innate strength as a traditional culinary property, unique to Japanese foods.

Mari’s Homemade Cooking Recipes

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TEMPURA is fried vegetables and fish battered with flour and eggs. The typical ingredients of tempura are the white fish called kisu, shrimp, sweet potato, renkon (Japanese lotus root) and other vegetables. There are two main streams of tempura depending on the area in Japan. Fish tempura was developed in the Kanto region of Eastern Japan by using fresh fish caught in Tokyo Bay, while vegetable tempura was developed around the southern-central region of Kansai and cities like Kyoto. As you may expect, Kanto and Kansai have different ways to cook tempura. For example, Kanto people fry the batter in the sesame oil. The batter includes eggs and is fried to a brown color. They use sesame oil to remove the odor of the fish. When they eat tempura, they use tentsuyu, a salty and sweet Japaense sauce made from soy sauce, sake and soup stock. Kansai people fry the batter in sunflower oil. The batter doesn’t contain eggs and is fried to a white color. Because they are used to eating vegetable tempura, they don’t use tsuyu sauce. They only add salt to take advantage of the natural flavor of the vegetables themselves. Tempura both fish and vegetable – is one of the most popular Japanese foods in Japan and around the world. Where did the name tempura come from? There are various views. But tempura most likely stems from “tempero,” a Portuguese word for seasoning or cooking.

 

The Man Who Brought Sushi to America, Part II

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How Yul Brynner and “Shogun” Made Sushi Popular

TJ: Can you tell us what you did before you became involved with Mutual Trading?
KANAI: World War II was a very big shock to me. So after the war I read about philosophy. I was very interested in Robert Owen, a famous English philosopher. I took his philosophy, which taught me many good things, and decided to make my own life to improve myself.

During the war, the U.S. was Japan’s enemy but during the Occupation they did very good things to help build Japan back up. We could not imagine that the U.S. would do so many good things for us. At that time, I met Mr. Chuhei Ishii, who was a food supplier to the U.S. before the war. He had been in the U.S. for 30 years in Santa Maria doing food distribution, but he went to China during the war to take care of the Peking Grand Hotel – a large, famous hotel owned by the French. Mr. Ishii bought the hotel and moved to Peking. At the end of the war, I met him in Japan. As his wife and my mother were friends in Japan, my mother told me, “If you do business with the United States, go see Mr. Ishii and ask him questions.” So I visited Mr. Ishii. Although he wanted to return to the States, he lost his U.S. permanent residency when he went to China. He said to me, “I am thinking of making a business exporting food to the United States because there are many Japanese immigrants who cannot get Japanese food conveniently. Why don’t you help me?” So I joined him.
“ Shogun really launched Japanese culture in the U.S.”

The Man Who Brought Sushi to America

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The Man Who Brought Sushi to America By Dr. Anthony Al-Jamie

This is the first in a series of interviews with Noritoshi Kanai, President of Mutual Trading, the man who coined the phrase “sushi bar”.

TJ: When did you become President of Mutual Trading?
KANAI: 1976.

TJ: Who was the original founder of Mutual Trading?
KANAI: Sadagoro Hoshizaki in 1926. He was a merchant in Little Tokyo from Odawara, Japan. At the time, it was difficult to bring Japanese food from Japan, so he created a co-op with other Japanese people in the area to import Japanese food to the U.S. When the war broke out in 1941, all Japanese had to go into internment camps. Most merchants in Little Tokyo were hawking their businesses and belongings, but near Mutual Trading on First Street there was a school called Maryknoll Catholic School that had a lot of Japanese students. The administrators said, “Just bring in all of your belongings and we’ll keep them in the basement.” The people at Mutual Trading were very lucky. However, the majority of the other people came back to Little Tokyo and found nothing. They had to rebuild and they needed utensils and cooking ware. So Mutual Trading had a purpose and was able to get back into business right away by helping many families in Little Tokyo get started with their lives again. I came into the business from the Tokyo side, with Tokyo Mutual Trading, which was the Tokyo-based export arm of Mutual Trading in Los Angeles (the import arm). I started Tokyo Mutual Trading in 1952.

Tsukiji in Tokyo

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The world’s largest fish market thrills the senses

WHEN the new facilities for Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market were opened in 1935, the architects probably never imagined it would become such a popular tourist attraction. People from all over the world come in vast numbers to see the globe’s largest fish market, employing more than 60,000 people.

Especially popular is the early morning tuna auction. Men clad in blue and wearing black rain boots yank steel hooks into the exposed rear ends of hundreds of frozen tunas laid out on the concrete floor of one section of the market. With small flashlights, they quickly check the quality of the tuna. Few words are uttered. Most men walk quietly from fish to fish, careful not to let competitors know which tuna they like best.

As the auction starts, a man standing on a wooden stool shouts identification numbers and prices. Brokers place their bids, almost unnoticeably. It’s quiet, restrained, organized. You wouldn’t know that enormous amounts of money change hands. In January, a single bluefin tuna fetched a record price of 155 million yen ($1.7 million or £1.05 million).

The complete article is available in Issue #271. Click here to order from Amazon



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