Authentic Food

"Breakfast Taco" Austin, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/40 sec, ISO3200
“Breakfast Taco” Austin, 2017

こんばんは! How’s it going?

The other day I went with some workmates to a Japanese restaurant for lunch to celebrate a couple birthdays. It was a lot of fun and the food was yummy, but it got me thinking of how the food at the restaurant wasn’t really authentic Japanese food. But is that a good or a bad thing? I wonder…

I have a different perspective on Japanese food than I had 20 years ago. In 1996 I moved to Japan and live there for three years. I married my wife there (a native of Osaka), and I have been enjoying 20 years with her – an amazing cook and foodie/food blogger. So I’d say my experience with Japanese food is far more advanced than most Americans.

The food at the restaurant was delicious, but I still felt an internal conflict as to some of the dishes. For instance, instead of edamame, there was “spicy edamame” in which the edamame had a sweet/spicy sauce on them. It tasted ok, but it was strange… I mean edamame is edamame, and is traditionally eaten just salted or in something like a hijiki salad. Also, sushi with fruit on it is new to me. In short, this wasn’t authentic at all. (And I didn’t see any Asians behind the sushi counter, and no Japanese patrons)

Although I love authentic food and think that recipes developed over many (sometimes hundreds) of years have been tested by time, the newer dishes that are modified for the local palette can be wonderful too. They are both delicious!

Maybe I am getting hung up on the semantics of the word “authentic”. Perhaps “traditional” is a better way to denote the differences I am thinking about. I like that.

Traditional food is food that has remained popular and has withstood the test of time, using ingredients that are relatively unchanged.

The food at the restaurant we went to had some non-traditional dishes, some traditional dishes (I had the katsu-don, which was yummy), but in the end, what was important was that everyone enjoyed their meals. Food can be delicious and satisfying even if it’s not traditional. All different kinds of food can bring happiness and joy, right? Variety is the spice of life, as they say!

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Today’s photo is of the breakfast taco I enjoyed at the Whole Foods Market. It’s very convenient to order because you use a touchscreen at the counter to “build your taco” using various ingredients. When your order is ready, you see your order # pop up on a large tv, or you can have a notification sent via txt to your phone.

My taco had scrambled egg, chorizo, black beans, and cilantro-lime rice, on corn tortillas. I also added more cilantro and jalapeños. I have no idea if this is traditional or not, but it sure was delicious!

I hope you had a great day!

おやすみなさい!

– B Barron Fujimoto

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