What is Booming in Japan Now?

Posted October 26th, 2010 in Japan No Comments »

It’s almost the end of October…  If you don’t carefully watch the calender every day, you’ll be surprised how fast the time flies.  

October –  November is middle of Autumn in Japan.  What comes to your head when you hear the words “Autumn” and “Japan”?   Beautiful trees dressed in red, orange and yellow leaves?  Cold air that you feel on your cheeks? In my case, it is food that comes first to my head.

There are so many Autumn food in Japan to list, but the king of Autumn food would be this: Matsutake mushroom.  Matsutake mushroom are harvested between the end of September and the end of October, and they are quite pricy.  (especially the ones harvested within Japan)

The Matsutake harvested within Japan costs around 5000 yen each.  Others (those imported from China or Korea) costs around 1000 yen each. Why are they so expensive compared with other mushrooms?  It’s because they are difficult to be cultivated by human hands.  How Matsutake grows (how they get the nutrition) is different from other mushrooms.

Autumns is called “eating season” in Japan.  You will see many fliers and advertisements of foods at train stations, streets, on tv etc.  People head to grape, nashi pear, chestnut and sweet potato farms to get all-you-can eat harvesting experience (customer pays around $2000 per head and harvest the fruits from the farm as much as you can, and eat them at the farm), and travel around Japan to enjoy the remote area’s speciality food.  Short trip and day trip are the boom around this season. The purpose of the trip is, of course, to eat delicious food at ryokan (Japanese style hotel) or restaurants.

The most popular food people seek is a course menu of Matsutake mushroom.

Grilled, row (as sashimi), deep-fried (tempura), steamed (with rice as Matsutake rice), and poached (in chawan-muchi) are the common dishes in a course menu.  My dad emailed me the other day saying that he went to Shigaraki (a town in Shiga, famous for Shigaraki Ware) to eat all-you-can-eat Matsutake food!!  All-you-can-eat….  I’m sure I can eat at least 50 Matsutake!  (I’ve never eaten Matsutake before, I think) Dad said the place does the all-you-can-eat Matsutake each year around this time.  It’s another reason to go back to Japan next Autumn!  😀

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