The second to last post in my series about Japan will be dedicated to the first meal of the day. It is often said that breakfast is one of the least culturally transferable meals and that people, as adventurous as they might be when it comes to lunch or dinner, will stick to what they know when it comes to breakfast. Nevertheless, I thought the interesting, varied and tasty meals I was served in the morning were a perfect way to start off my day.
When we were in Nima, close to the Iwami Ginzan silver mine, we stayed four nights at a beautiful old temple. The priest’s wife, who ran the little hotel, was an excellent cook and prepared us a different breakfast every morning. The love and care with which each of these meals was prepared and presented and their homemade feel brought a big smile to my face every time. Above you can see the breakfast we got on the first morning: homemade miso soup with lots of veggies and tofu in it, steamed rice, firm tofu with spring onions and raw ginger, a fried egg, a chicken nugget (this was a bit of curious element) and a little salad which we ate with creamy sesame salad dressing (delicious stuff, I have to try and make some myself soon!). All this was washed down with some hot ocha (Japanese tea).
The second morning we got some grilled salmon, a few slices of teriyaki beef, two slices of fish-cake, fried bean curd with fried slivers of some kind of root vegetable (not sure what it was, can anyone help me out here?) with a delicious sesame flavour; a plate of pickled carrot or parsnip slices and a soft poached egg. They are not pictured here, but the steamed rice, miso soup and tea were part of the meal once again.
On the final morning we got, in addition to miso, rice and pickles, some silken tofu with ginger and bonito flakes, salad and a delicious omelette filled with minced pork and onion.
Our most elaborate and fancy breakfast was served at our own breakfast room in a ryokan (traditional Japanese luxury inn) in Kurashiki. We had our own little hotpot (with real fire!), which contained a subtle dashi broth with spring onion, shii-take mushrooms and silken tofu which had to be fished out of the soup with the metal fishnet spoon and dipped into a citrusy ponzu sauce; next to it in the blue and white porcelain cup was a Japanese steamed egg custard with prawns and mushrooms; next to that some other vegetables (broccoli and edamame) in a zesty dressing; next to that a little coleslaw and in the middle a piece of marinated fish with lemon and a little bulgur (or some other grain) salad. In addition there was matcha tea, miso soup, steamed rice, nori seaweed and in the bottom right, next to my napkin, a plate with a pickled apricot and a tiny and extremely salty pickled umeboshi plum.