August 24, 2015

Ukai-Toriyama, a traditional Japanese meal

My dear friend Kayoko, invited us to Ukai-Toriyama for lunch a few weeks ago. The restaurant is located in a beautiful, mountainous area of Japan, not too far from our home.

The grounds were exceptionally beautiful, of course. One of the many things I love about Japan.

Love the vermillion bridges, too!

The restaurant consisted of many different private cottages for dining. These cottages were all traditional Japanese buildings relocated here from around the country.

You always take off yours shoes.

The inside of the cottage was beautiful. Luckily for me though, the floor around the table was cut out so there was a place to put your legs. It's hard for us American's to sit on the floor for very long!

Right outside of our cottage, we could here the delightful sound of this small waterfall. It was such a relaxing environment.

It is very common to find a scroll and a flower arrangement depicting the season in a traditional Japanese room.

This restaurant served kaiseki, or a traditional Japanese meal, consisting of several courses over several hours. Seasonal ingredients are always used, and you order the meal as a set. 

The girls had a kids meal, which looked great! Fried karage (chicken nuggets), baked potato, omelette, and fruit.

Balance and presentation are a big part of Japanese cuisine. 

Several soups are usually included, this was a wonderful duck soup. The nice thing about ordering the set is that it forces me to try things I wouldn't normally order.

In the meantime, they were heating some coals right on our table for the main course, the yakitori, or grilled chicken.

I thought the initial kids meal was plenty of food, but then they brought out an additional basket of food to grill. There were chicken skewers, meatballs and quail eggs and the girls loved all of it.

For the adults, a lovely platter of chicken, and veggies to grill.

I just love Kayoko to pieces. She is not only a great friend, but also our dance teacher. She teaches us so much about Japanese culture.

After grilling the chicken, we dipped it in a fabulous sauce and let it continue grilling a few more minutes.

The chicken was out of this world! Absolutely fabulous!

I was feeling very full, at this point, but out came our next course. Miso soup is always a given, as is rice and some sort of pickled veggie. The rice had a paste made out of dashi (fish stock) and sweet potato on top, this wasn't my favorite. 

The ladies serving us were amazing. They knelt down with the trays to serve, then gathered the dishes and stood back up from a crouched position. Such a workout!

The beauty of a Japanese garden cannot be described.

And last but not least, dessert. This was almost like a fruity sorbet, about the size of a golf ball. Just a touch of something sweet after the meal.

After the meal we wandered the gardens a bit.

Thank you Kayoko-san, for a wonderful afternoon!



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