The other day I got a treat when I went home for dinner: masu no sushi, delicious trout sushi on rice that’s pressed into a round wooden frame. You slice it from the center and eat it wedge by wedge, making it essentially “sushi pizza.” I realized that masu no sushi (a delicacy of Toyama Prefecture on the windswept Sea of Japan) is not something most people are familar with, and decided to write about other foods gaijin might not know. There’s a category of dishes called nabe-ryori or large-pot cuisine, and one type that’s quite good is chanko nabe, a large pot full of stew containing hearty vegetables, meat and fish. (Don’t eat too much — it’s what sumo wrestlers traditionally eat to get so big.) Osaka is known for good food like takoyaki, but a dish that’s less famous is kushi-katsu, a delicious pork cutlet on a stick. Another dish I like is called chawan-mushi, a bowl of hot steamed egg custard that’s always presented when you stay at traditional Japanese inns. Finally there are Japanese versions of Western foods, such as castella, a delightful sponge cake imported from Portugal 400 years ago.
I love masu no sushi or “sushi pizza.”