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Cooking with Kikuo Muramatsu at Totoya Uoshin

At first glance, cooking traditional Japanese food may not strike the uninitiated as particularly complicated or even very time-consuming. After all, how difficult can it be to slice raw fish or cook vegetables in broth? Difficult indeed, I discovered one afternoon as I stood in the kitchen of Totoya Usohin (ととや魚新), a comfortable and welcoming Japanese restaurant conveniently located 3 minutes from Akasaka subway station in central Tokyo. We had come to Totoya – nine women of various ages eager… Read more »

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There are a number of theories about the invention of soy sauce but at least one legend has it that tamari soy sauce was invented in Wakayama, the prefecture at the tip of the Kii peninsula, south of Kyoto. Tamari, which is a specifically Japanese soy sauce, is made almost entirely from soy bean. The story goes that Kakushin, a Zen Buddhist priest who had traveled to the Kinzanji, or the Temple of the Golden Mountain, in China, returned not… Read more »

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Sukiyabashi Jiro

Jiro Ono rolled the rice in the palm of his hand and slipped a slice of fish on to the vinegared mounds, wordlessly working his trade behind the counter. His eyes darted quickly from one customer to another, keeping tabs on how they were progressing with their meal. As soon as he saw an empty plate, the grand sushi master would promptly place the next course of sushi on it, quietly urging diners to eat up, leaving hardly a moment… Read more »

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Les Creations de Narisawa

Hidden from street view behind an imposing silvery office building, Narisawa, which has three stars from Michelin, is unassuming. Featuring very little other than walls in plain white and dark wood, the décor is not merely minimalist, it is stark. But what is lacking in atmospheric embellishment is more than made up for by the beauty of the food served. It is not for nothing that chef, Yoshihiro Narisawa, once called his restaurant “Les Creations de Narisawa.” Upon being seated,… Read more »