Halal food in Beppu, Japan

“These weird Muslims with their weird vocabulary and their weird spells. What do they mean with food needs to be halal? What the heck is halal? What is this odd-looking green logo with the Arabic thingy? Is it like a seal for ninjas and they will summon something? And where can these Muslims replenish their thirst for halal food? Can’t we try this magical food too?” (日本語で。 ハラールは説明した。 これをクリックしてください。)

Obviously, I am exaggerating the reactions and questions that I receive from my friends and acquaintances regarding halal food. But it is not far from the truth. Halal food sounds odd to the average person. I receive many questions from my Asian friends regarding halal food, what it is, what it means. I also receive many questions from prospective Muslim students who would like to know where they could buy halal food. At first, I wanted to cover these questions in my FAQ, but this topic is quite delicate and important to me so, therefore, I will spend a blog post on this. This blog is a two-parter; the first part discusses what halal means and the second part goes over the halal food in Beppu and in Japan.

Image result for halal food

What does halal mean?
Halal is an Arabic word which means allowed, permissible or legal. When we talk about halal food, we mean food that is permissible by the standard of the Islamic religion. Our religion puts hygiene standards very high. Hygiene means good physical health and good mental health which allows us to practice our religion. Without good health, we are not able to pray five times a day, and our primary objective in life is to pray to God. In order, to remain healthy, the religion dictates what is good for us and what is not.

In order to know what is good for us, which is quite an endless list, we need to know what is not good for us, this list is concise. In Islam, some food and drinks are forbidden to us. The opposite of halal is haram. This means forbidden, not permissible or illegal. The things that are absolutely haram (forbidden) are alcohol and pork. We, mankind, tend to try to find loopholes to justify certain things. For alcohol and pork, this is absolutely not possible. Anything that contains alcohol or pork is by default haram and cannot be consumed ever. In Arabic, we say: “Alcohol is the mother of all Fitna (chaos).” The real reason for alcohol being forbidden is health reasons. Alcohol is a poison, and it kills the body. Furthermore, as a Muslim, one needs to stay rational at all times. Alcohol does not allow this.

Pork is forbidden because pig and swine are filthy animals that would eat anything and everything and its conditions are filthy too. If one would give a dead human body to a pig, it will devour literally everything. Both alcohol and pork have been proven as harmful by today’s medical science.
So, the ones mentioned above are zettai dame (absolutely no-go). This is quite easy to understand and easy to live without. Now we enter the tricky part, which is food that is halal and can be simultaneously not halal.

Maybe halal, maybe haram.
All other meat, such as chicken, beef, sheep, horse, camel, and others, are halal to eat; however, it comes with a significant ruling. The animals just mentioned, can only be consumed if they are prepared halal. So the animals are halal, unlike the pig and swine, but the meat is not halal yet. What makes, e.g., chicken meat halal? The meat is only halal when a Muslim person, someone with good faith in Islam, does a small dua (prayer if you would like), cuts the throat of the said chicken with a sharp knife in a quick manner, the animal should not be stressed prior to the slaughter, and after the cut put upside down so it can bleed out. If all the requirements are fulfilled, then the meat is halal. Everyone, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, is allowed to eat halal food.

Image result for halal food rules

Why is it done in this manner? In Islam, we believe that all the bad things are inside the blood. The veins in the neck gush out all the bad blood, which makes the meat of the animal not harmful for us. Yes, drinking or eating the blood of any animal is therefore also haram.

There is another ruling regarding other animals. Basically, the animals above are more or less farm animals, and they are halal. The animals that are forbidden for us to eat are animals with fangs and claws. Animals with fangs are, e.g., snakes, wolves, dogs, lions, and etc. Animals with claws are hawks, eagles, bears, squirrels, cats, lizards, and etc. These animals are carnivores, and their meat is also haram. Even if they were slaughtered in a halal way, their meat is not permissible either way.

Seafood
This is a Muslim’s best friend. In the Islamic ruling, all the fish that are from the sea are halal. So, when offered fish, a Muslim can always eat it. Of course, it cannot be cooked with alcohol or offered with haram food. If any halal food comes in contact with something haram, e.g. alcohol, it becomes haram to eat it. There are some Islamic schools of thought who are arguing that some seafood is not permissible such as sea urchins, or shrimps. But that is another topic. Basically, everything that comes from the sea is halal. When a Muslim is in doubt whether he can eat something or not, he/she can always resort to seafood. Safest choice.

Vegetables and fruits
All vegetables and fruit are halal. Of course, if it comes in contact with haram, the vegetables and fruits become haram too. A salad with chicken that is not halal makes the entire salad haram. Picking out the chicken does not make the salad halal. It came in touch with the haram, and therefore cannot be consumed.

Part two: Is Beppu a Muslim-friendly city?

First and foremost, Japan is not a Muslim country. I was born and raised in the Netherlands, and the Dutch people eat pork, but I have never seen so much pork in my life as in Japan. Not just pork, but any animal meat in particular. Meat is provided everywhere and with their written Japanese ‘alphabet’, it is challenging to eat halal food in Japan. I will admit, I had made lots of mistakes when I came to Japan, as I was not able to read all the kanji. Of course, in Islam, when one did not know if it was halal or haram, but did try to his best abilities to investigate, but eats something haram in the end, this person will not be held accountable. However, when the person understands all the kanji and knows something is haram, then the person is held accountable.
You are probably reading this and thinking: “Well, in that case, I never learn Japanese so I can eat anything ignorantly.” Nope, it is the task of the Muslim to expand his knowledge and to learn more about the things that could harm him. If one chooses to remain ignorant, that person will be held accountable.
Therefore, I take it up to me to educate you about the kanji and katakana that are haram for you:
Source: HIJ Blog

“No. = Japanese Reading = Meaning

  1. 豚肉 – ポーク = Butaniku – Pooku = Pork
  2. 牛肉 – ビーフ = Gyuuniku – Biifu = Beef
  3. 鶏肉 – チキン = Toriniku – Chikin = Chicken
  4. (No. 1~3) + エキス = (No. 1~3) + Ekisu = (No. 1~3) + Extract
  5. 豚脂 = Tonshi = Pork Fat
  6. ラード = Raado = Lard
  7. 牛脂 = Gyuushi = Beef Fat
  8. 動物性油脂 = Doubutsusei-yushi = Animal Fat
  9. 加工油脂 = Kakou-yushi = Processed Fat
  10. 混合油脂 = Kongou-yushi = Mixed Fat
  11. コンソメ = Konsome = Consommé (soup)
  12. コンソメパウダー = Konsome Paudaa = Consommé Powder
  13. ゼラチン = Zerachin = Gelatine
  14. アルコール = Arukooru = Alcohol
  15. 酒 = Sake = Sake (alcohol)
  16. 洋酒 = Youshu = Western Liquor
  17. 酒精 = Shusei = Ethyl Alcohol
  18. 味醂 / みりん = Mirin = Mirin (alcohol)
  19. ラム酒 = Ramu-shu = Rum
  20. ワイン = Wain = Wine
  21. ブランディ = Burandi = Brandy
  22. ウィスキー = Uisukii = Whiskey”

Source: Halal Guide

“Substances that may be Halal or Haram:
乳化 剤 – Emulsifier
シ ョ ー ト ニ ン グ – Shortening
マ ー ガ リ ン – Margarine
油脂 – Oil and Fats”

It is advisable to learn the kanji and katakana of these readings. It will make your life in Japan more comfortable. I wish I knew them before I came here… May God forgive me :p.

OMG, where CAN I buy halal food?
Don’t you worry. Alhamdulillah, Beppu, unlike many other cities in Japan, is quite Muslim friendly, and its friendliness is growing. APU has attracted many Muslims from all around the globe, and they are a big chunk of APU’s society. Beppu’s shops have identified this market and adjusted some of their items to sell halal certified food. It is still not much, but Alhamdulillah it is available nonetheless. I will not go too much in details on all the halal food they sell, but below the list of all the shops that sell halal food:

APU Cafeteria
APU Co-Op
Yusha (restaurant)
Purunima (restaurant)
A-Price (supermarket with items from all around the globe)
Itto-Ryu (Ramen)
The Mosque at Mochigahama
And since recently: Hirose (supermarket)

I advise you to download an app called ‘Halal Navi.‘ With this app, you can look up at the places that are halal near you. This app can be used anywhere! iPhone app and Android app. The shops above sell halal meat and whatnot. The halal items can all be identified with a certification logo which you can find below: Image result for halal navi

This app also helped me in finding halal food outside of Beppu. When I was traveling with my friends in Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo, I used this app and was able to locate the halal food. We even found a 100% halal yakiniku (BBQ) place in Kyoto. I was relieved as I was finally able to eat yakiniku in Japan!

Image result for halal certified logo japan
These are the common certifications.

“But I need to survive.”
There is something that pains me a lot, and it is not limited to Beppu only, but this excuse can be found worldwide, especially in non-Muslim countries. It might feel like I am preaching here, but I need to get it off my chest, so please bear with me. Let me start with saying that I am not your father, brother, uncle, grandfather, neighbour, halal police, or whatever. I believe that everyone has a choice and you, and only you are responsible for what you do with your life. You cannot blame it anyone else but yourself. I cannot dictate you anything, but since I have been writing this blog post, it is my religious obligation to educate you. What you do with this information is between you and your Creator.

For those who do not know, there is an Islamic ruling that does allow a Muslim to eat a pig. “NANDAKORE?!? Didn’t you just say it is Zettai Dame?!” Yes, I did say that, and the rule remains unchanged. However, if someone is in a place where there is literally nothing to eat, and this person’s life is threatened by starvation, and the only thing this person can find is a swine or a pig, God makes it mandatory for you to kill the pig/swine and eat it. “How come God forces one to eat a pig?” God has given us the most priceless thing there is, and we should take the utmost care of it which is: Life. Our very existence is an act of mercy. When the person is almost dying, and the only thing that one can eat is haram food, that person is obligated to eat it to preserve life.

Now we come to the excuse that I hear most of the time. Lots of my Muslim friends, whether it is in Beppu or anywhere else, eat haram chicken, beef, and whatnot. Because halal food is quite limited in Japan, they go for stuff that is haram and use the excuse: “I need to survive.” Indeed, we all need to survive, but one’s life is not under threat in Japan. In fact, food is in abundance here in Japan, food is thrown out too often. Fruits and vegetables, fish, seafood, and anything else is available, and the only few things one can go without is meat, but yet some Muslim brothers and sisters resort to haram meat and rationalise their decision. Halal food is available, but limited and the shops are sometimes far away. But the meat is not expensive at all! It is merely uncooked, and far away, sometimes even cheaper than haram meat!

Image result for allah is with the patient

I would like to pose a question to my Muslim brothers and sisters whether they would dare to try to say to God on the day of resurrection that they needed the haram meat to “survive” in a country like Japan. It is an absolute insult to Him, as they have forgotten 1 of the 99 names God has which is Ar-Razzaq (The Sustainer). He is the sustainer of the heavens and the earth. He provides you with all the food that is permissible. The vast majority of the food is halal for us, and a few are haram. We say the sentence Ar-Rahman (The Most Gracious) and Ar-Raheem (The Most Merciful) five times a day. Someone who is neither gracious nor merciful would not sustain you. And yet here we are in the Land of the Rising Sun, with an abundance of food and you dare to say “I need to survive”? This sentence cannot stand ground, and I would beg my brothers and sisters to reconsider that excuse they have been using.

I hope my words are not too harsh, and I hope that my readers don’t take things too personally. I understand why some brothers and sisters eat the meat that is haram. Most of the Muslim students at APU are from Islamic countries, and the food provided there is always halal. You don’t need to read the ingredients or ask the seller if it is halal or not. Everything is halal, you buy it, and you eat it. But I have faith in my brothers and sisters all around the world. Insha’Allah (By God’s will) there will be only Khair (Great rewards). I know this is merely a chapter in our lives and we are all being tested. Sometimes we need someone who would wake us up so we can find our way back to Sirat-al-Mustaqim (the righteous path).

Image result for khair inshallah

I hope this blog post was insightful for those who are interested in the definition of halal, and insightful for those who want to know where all the halal food is available. As always, thank you for reading!

Masha’Allah

Japanese food is life, Japanese food is love.

I had heard and read many stories about Japanese cuisine before I came to Japan. If someone I knew had visited Japan and asked them about the food, their eyes go wide open. And their smile is from ear to ear, and a tsunami of details about all the food they have tried and how incredibly delicious it was. I have to admit, I have become such a person now :p.

The food is indeed amazing, and the Japanese are magicians when it comes to food. They will make something straightforward into something beautiful. There is also no lack of food whatsoever. Food is a massive industry in Japan. In 2015, Japan’s food industry was valued at $261 billion (USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, 2016). Rightfully so, as food is everywhere in Japan. In the darkest and weirdest alleys, you will find a place to eat. So in this blog post, I will share with you my personal top 5 Japanese food:

5: Chicken curry
I was stunned when I learned that the Japanese LOVE curry with rice. When you think of Japanese cuisine, you probably thinking about the classic/stereotypical food sushi. But the Japanese are fond of curry. The first time I went to a supermarket, I saw a section all dedicated to curry. I cannot name half of them, but there were all sorts of curries such as beef, chicken, pork, fish, and vegetable from what I could see. The Japanese use rice as their main dish; they love to add curry to their rice. The curry is very easy to prepare. They come in an aluminum sealed package. All you need to do is either put the aluminum package in a pan with water and boil it for a few minutes or put it in a bowl and microwave it for 6 minutes. Within minutes you have a great dish. There are big curry chains in Japan fully dedicated to curry rice. One of the biggest is Curry House CoCo Ichibanya. They have all curry versions, and if you love spicy food, they can make it extremely spicy for you. Even though I am very used to spicy food, I could barely handle level 5. A friend of mine took number 8, and he was crying and sweating like a pig the entire lunch. You are warned :p.

For me, I love the (halal) chicken curry that is provided by the shop at my school campus. The chicken curry is creamy, smells fantastic, and I love the chicken because it is heavily spiced. The chicken curry is already in a small plastic bowl with rice, and I only need to microwave it. Since my stay here in Japan, I have tried several curries as in my country, curry is not a real common thing to eat. But this spicy chicken curry rice really takes the cake :).

Chicken curry

4: Okonomiyaki
The first time I tried okonomiyaki was by accident. A friend of mine thought the restaurant was making udon soup, but it turned out to be okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a batter of flour, eggs, shredded cabbage, green onion, octopus, and other vegetables. Though there is no one standard. Okonomiyaki is derived from 2 words ‘okonomi,’ which means ‘whatever you like’ and ‘yaki’ means ‘grilled.’ You sit on the table, and you can ask the waiter to bring you the okonomiyaki, and you grill it yourself. The table where you sit has a hot grill. The experience is excellent. You are your own cook, and you can make funny ‘pancakes’ of your favourite ingredients.
If this is your first time, you can ask the restaurant to make the okonomiyaki on your behalf. So what about the taste? Mamma mia… it is delicious and healthy. Your body will be overjoyed for all the vitamins it gets. Your tongue will be overjoyed as well as the balance in the taste is excellent. The grilled flavour of the batter gives it an extra edge. The interesting part is that you can add the things you love. I always add squid, octopus, and cheese. Oishi!

Okonomiyaki.jpg

3: Ramen
If you have watched the anime show Naruto you know that Naruto could not start his day without eating ramen. Naruto would go crazy about ramen every time he walked past the shop. If you lost Naruto, you would find him at the Ichiraku Ramen shop. This show amazed me and made me curious about ramen. The first time I tried ramen was, funny enough, in Amsterdam at the Sapporo Ramen Sora. Fortunately, for me, the ramen was cooked in a miso base. For your information, the vast majority of ramen has a broth made without pork. When my friend introduced me to this ramen, I remember the first bite quite clearly. IT WAS AMAZING. The ramen was unbelievably good. The number of vegetables, the (miso) broth, and the spices had a perfect balance. No wonder Naruto would go crazy with the thought of eating Ramen.
Unfortunately, Japan is not very on the hype when it comes to providing food for vegetarians. The vast majority of food has either pork, beef, or chicken. We Muslims cannot eat pork, but we can also not eat beef and chicken that is not prepared the Islamic way. This is called ‘Halal,’ or perhaps you are more familiar with the Hebrew term ‘Kosher.’ Luckily, there is one restaurant that provides ramen prepared with soy milk and fish stock instead of pork in Beppu. As such, Muslims can also eat ramen at Ittoryu. The ramen is fantastic. There is an egg, noodles, seaweed, and various vegetables in the big bowl of ramen. But the magical power of ramen is the broth. You do not go for the noodles, but for the robust, tasty soup. Even if you would, you cannot leave a single drop in the bowl as you want to drink all of it.
Tip: For my Muslim brothers and sisters; download the app Halal Navi. This app will show you the places that have halal food available to you in Japan :). For Android users. For IOS users.

Ramen.jpg

2: Sushi
A bit of a cliché, I know. But I cannot deny my true feelings towards this. I just love sushi. The quality of sushi you will get in Japan really differs from what I had in Europe. I can tell in the way the fish is prepared and the taste of rice. The texture is amazing. Not only that, but the experience of eating sushi in the restaurant is also fun. Some of the restaurants have these sushi treadmills where you can pick your sushi that waggle around. Though the sushi is all random, so you have to wait until your favourite sushi comes. The Japanese found a solution to that. Each table has a tablet where you can select your favourite sushi. When you finished picking your sushi, the sushi will then come on a train directly to your table. The sound the tablet makes and the sound the train makes are hilarious!

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1: Takoyaki
Just give me a second… I need to align myself. I am not sure where to start… This is the best thing since sliced bread. For those who do not know what takoyaki is, it is a small ball made out of flour batter inside with a piece of octopus, minced ginger, dried shrimp, and small chopped onions. The batter is grilled on a ball-shaped grill, which intensifies the taste. It is quite similar to the Dutch ‘poffertjes,’ but the Dutch ‘poffertjes’ are sweet and have nothing inside. Takoyaki after it is grilled, the chef cook would then put some mayonnaise, bonito flakes, and green aonori seaweed on the takoyaki.
The first time I tasted takoyaki, a friend of mine introduced it to me during Animecon in The Hague. The takoyaki was just prepared, and I tried to take a bite, but the takoyaki is hotter than two volcanoes. The inside of the takoyaki is like magma. So be very careful when you take your first bite. But when the takoyaki lands on your tongue, sweet lord have mercy on my soul, the taste is heavenly. I am addicted to the taste. Whenever I see takoyaki, I cannot resist the urge, and I have to buy it. Takoyaki can be found almost anywhere. This dish is making me broke. It is relatively cheap, though, but I keep buying it. Takoyaki costs around ¥500 for 8 takoyaki balls. It is worth it! When you have the chance to eat takoyaki, please do. You cannot miss this opportunity.

Takoyaki.jpg

I hope this blog has triggered your appetite to try some new Japanese food other than just sushi. Japanese cuisine is very diverse, and there is much to discover. Take your tongue on a voyage of incredible taste :D.

As a bonus for my readers, below, you will find all kinds of Japanese delicacy that my friends and I had stumbled upon on Nagasaki. There was a big festival going on in October. The food came in different colours and forms. Enjoy!

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Masha’Allah

References:

Otsuka, M. Approved by Nelson. R. (2016). Japan HRI Food Service Sector Report 2016. USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (2016). Retrieved from: https://gain.fas.usda.gover

I had heard and read many stories about Japanese cuisine before I came to Japan. If someone I knew had visited Japan and asked them about the food, their eyes go wide open. And their smile is from ear to ear, and a tsunami of details about all the food they have tried and how incredibly delicious it was. I have to admit, I have become such a person now :p.

The food is indeed amazing, and the Japanese are magicians when it comes to food. They will make something very simple into something beautiful. There is also no lack of food whatsoever. Food is a massive industry in Japan. In 2015, the food industry in Japan was valued at $261 billion (USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, 2016). Rightfully so, as food is everywhere in Japan. In the darkest and weirdest alleys, you will find a place to eat. So in this blog post, I will share with you my personal top 5 Japanese food:

5: Chicken curry
I was stunned when I learned that the Japanese LOVE curry with rice. When you think of Japanese cuisine, you probably thinking about the classic/stereotypical food sushi. But the Japanese are fond of curry. The first time I went to a supermarket, I saw a section all dedicated to curry. I cannot name half of them, but from what I could see, there were all sorts of curries such as beef, chicken, pork, fish, and vegetable. The Japanese use rice as their main dish, they love to add curry to their rice. The curry is very easy to prepare. They come in an aluminum sealed package. All you need to do is either put the aluminum package in a pan with water and boil it for a few minutes or put it in a bowl and microwave it for 6 minutes. Within minutes you have a great dish. There are big curry chains in Japan fully dedicated to curry rice. One of the biggest is Curry House CoCo Ichibanya. They have all curry versions, and if you love spicy food, they can make it extremely spicy for you. Even though I am very used to spicy food, I could barely handle level 5. A friend of mine took number 8, and he was crying and sweating like a pig the entire lunch. You are warned :p.

For me, I love the (halal) chicken curry that is provided by the shop at my school campus. The chicken curry is creamy, smells fantastic, and I love the chicken because it is heavily spiced. The chicken curry is already in a small plastic bowl with rice, and I only need to microwave it. Since my stay here in Japan, I have tried several curries as in my country, curry is not a real common thing to eat. But this spicy chicken curry rice really takes the cake :).

Chicken curry

4: Okonomiyaki
The first time I tried okonomiyaki was by accident. A friend of mine thought the restaurant was making udon soup, but it turned out to be okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a batter of flour, eggs, shredded cabbage, green onion, octopus, and other vegetables. Though there is no one standard. Okonomiyaki is derived from 2 words ‘okonomi,’ which means ‘whatever you like’ and ‘yaki’ means ‘grilled.’ You sit on the table, and you can ask the waiter to bring you the okonomiyaki, and you grill it yourself. The table where you sit has a hot grill. The experience is excellent. You are your own cook, and you can make funny ‘pancakes’ of your favourite ingredients.
If this is your first time, you can ask the restaurant to make the okonomiyaki on your behalf. So what about the taste? Mamma mia… it is delicious and healthy. Your body will be overjoyed for all the vitamins it gets. Your tongue will be overjoyed as well as the balance in the taste is great. The grilled taste of the batter gives it an extra edge. The interesting part is that you can add the things you love. I always add squid, octopus, and cheese. Oishi!

Okonomiyaki.jpg

3: Ramen
If you have watched the anime show Naruto you know that Naruto could not start his day without eating ramen. Naruto would go crazy about ramen every time he walked past the shop. If you lost Naruto, you would find him at the Ichiraku Ramen shop. This show amazed me and made me curious about ramen. The first time I tried ramen was, funny enough, in Amsterdam at the Sapporo Ramen Sora. Fortunately, for me, the ramen was cooked in a miso base. For your information, the vast majority of ramen has a broth made without pork. When my friend introduced me to this ramen, I remember the first bite quite clearly. IT WAS AMAZING. The ramen was unbelievably good. The number of vegetables, the (miso) broth, and the spices had a perfect balance. No wonder Naruto would go crazy with the thought of eating Ramen.
Unfortunately, Japan is not very on the hype when it comes to providing food for vegetarians. The vast majority of food has either pork, beef, or chicken. We Muslims cannot eat pork, but we can also not eat beef and chicken that is not prepared the Islamic way. This is called ‘Halal,’ or perhaps you are more familiar with the Hebrew term ‘Kosher.’ Luckily, in Beppu, there is one restaurant that provides ramen prepared with soy milk and fish stock instead of pork. As such, Muslims can also eat ramen at Ittoryu. The ramen is amazing. In the big bowl of ramen, there is an egg, noodles, seaweed, and various vegetables. But the magical power of ramen is the broth. You do not go for the noodles, but for the robust, tasty soup. Even if you would, you cannot leave a single drop in the bowl as you want to drink all of it.
Tip: For my Muslim brothers and sisters; download the app Halal Navi. This app will show you the places that have halal food available to you in Japan :). For Android users. For IOS users.

Ramen.jpg

2: Sushi
A bit of a cliché, I know. But I cannot deny my true feelings towards this. I just love sushi. The quality of sushi you will get in Japan really differs from what I had in Europe. I can tell in the way the fish is prepared and the taste of rice. The texture is amazing. Not only that, but the experience of eating sushi in the restaurant is also fun. Some of the restaurants have these sushi treadmills where you can pick your sushi that waggle around. Though the sushi is all random, so you have to wait until your favourite sushi comes. The Japanese found a solution to that. Each table has a tablet where you can select your favourite sushi. When you finished picking your sushi, the sushi will then come on a train directly to your table. The sound the tablet makes and the sound the train makes are hilarious!

WhatsApp Image 2018-01-15 at 17.04.24 (1).jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2018-01-15 at 17.04.24 (2).jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2018-01-15 at 17.04.24 (3).jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2018-01-15 at 17.04.24.jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2018-01-15 at 17.04.24 (4).jpeg

1: Takoyaki
Just give me a second……. I need to align myself. I am not sure where to start…. This is the best thing since sliced bread. For those who do not know what takoyaki is, it is a small ball made out of flour batter inside with a piece of octopus, minced ginger, dried shrimp, and small chopped onions. The batter is grilled on a ball-shaped grill, which intensifies the taste. It is quite similar to the Dutch ‘poffertjes,’ but the Dutch ‘poffertjes’ are sweet and have nothing inside. Takoyaki, after it is grilled, the chef cook would then put some mayonnaise, bonito flakes, and green aonori seaweed on the takoyaki.
The first time I tasted takoyaki, a friend of mine introduced it to me during Animecon in The Hague. The takoyaki was just prepared, and I tried to take a bite, but the takoyaki is hotter than two volcanoes. The inside of the takoyaki is like magma. So be very careful when you take your first bite. But when the takoyaki lands on your tongue, sweet lord have mercy on my soul, the taste is heavenly. I am addicted to the taste. Whenever I see takoyaki, I cannot resist the urge, and I have to buy it. Takoyaki can be found almost anywhere. This dish is making me broke. It is quite cheap, though, but I keep buying it. Takoyaki costs around ¥500 for 8 takoyaki balls. It is worth it! When you have the chance to eat takoyaki, please do. You cannot miss this opportunity.

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I hope this blog has triggered your appetite to try some new Japanese food other than just sushi. Japanese cuisine is very diverse, and there is much to discover. Take your tongue on a voyage of incredible taste :D.

As a bonus for my readers, below you will find all kinds of Japanese delicacy that my friends and I had stumbled upon on a trip to Nagasaki. There was a big festival going on in October. The food came in different colours and forms. Enjoy!

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Masha’Allah

References:

Otsuka, M. Approved by Nelson. R. (2016). Japan HRI Food Service Sector Report 2016. USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (2016). Retrieved from: https://gain.fas.usda.gov