A gourmand's tour through Japan.
Roads & Kingdoms editor and co-founder Goulding, who co-authored the bestselling Eat This, Not That! series, takes readers to Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, Hokkaido, and Noto, chronicling his wanderings through the streets, bars, teahouses, and restaurants of each locale. Throughout the book, the author brings to light the food found in these cities. In Japan, eating, cooking, preparing, and even selecting the food products to cook are near-sacred tasks. The Japanese transform what many might consider mundane chores into sublime acts of devotion, where time slows down and reverence is as much a key ingredient as the freshness of the food. Through Goulding's eyes, ears, and especially his mouth, readers can sense the perfection that each shokunin ("an artisan deeply and singularly dedicated to his or her craft") strives for as he or she dedicates his or her life to cooking just one item—e.g., grilled beef intestines or buckwheat noodles—constantly tweaking ingredients, heat, and timing to reach a transcendent state of food ecstasy. Thanks to Goulding's obvious love of the exotic and his ability to write mouthwatering descriptions of food, readers will appreciate the smells and tastes of gizzard shad, cod sperm, dried sea cucumber ovaries, and numerous other animal and seafood parts many would never consider eating. The author munches and crunches his way through bite-sized portions of sushi, soups, dumplings, and noodles, washed down by rounds of sake, to bring readers an epicurean bonanza in addition to insights into the men and women who have devoted their lives to the perfection of certain dishes. Though it does not contain recipes, the book will whet readers' appetites for fresh, flavorful foods and inspire them to travel to Japan to taste the country’s main delicacies.
A food connoisseur expertly unravels the intricate dance surrounding food in Japan.