Japan Has a Cool New Spin on the Seafood Rice Bowl

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If you live or work in Japan, you’ll know summers can get muggy and uncomfortable. It’s only natural to seek relief from the heat in the form of ice cold drinks, cool and refreshing chilled foods, and, of course, iced desserts. When it comes to parfaits, Japan does not disappoint. With such standouts as Nakamura Tokichi’s 13-layer matcha masterpiece kawaii creations such as the Hello Kitty parfait, or any of the delightful creations available at the parfait shop, Roy to Silo, that just opened up in Shinjuku, you’re never far from a frozen treat.

But what if you don’t have a sweet tooth?

At first glance (and maybe if seen from afar) the beautifully decorated creations waiting for you at Kome or Sakana Shuzo Maikeru in the Takadanobaba neighborhood of Tokyo may look like ice cream parfaits. But they are, in fact, a new way of serving kaisen-don, a popular dish otherwise known (in English) as a seafood rice bowl.

Photo: PR Times

Not only does decorating and serving it in a parfait cup create an aesthetically pleasing look, it’s practical, too. By following the traditional Japanese wisdom of noryo  (literally ‘taking in coolness’), where Japanese people feel cool not only through direct means, such as fanning themselves or wearing light summer linen clothing, it works through psychological means, such as enjoying ghost stories, listening to wind chimes or watching goldfish swimming in a fishbowl. Thus, the sight of fresh seafood (associated with water) and the parfait cup creates a double “cool factor” adding to the appeal of the dish.

Speaking of visual effect, let’s look at the various “seafood parfaits” available on the menu:

Sea bream rice bowl with sea urchin sauce:

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This is a luxurious combination of sea bream direct from the Toyosu Fish Market. It also features a rich sauce made with sea urchin roe. Salmon roe and seaweed beads create an interesting texture and add a festive touch.

Salmon sashimi with avocado sauce:

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Photo: PR Times

The melt-in-your mouth texture of salmon sashimi blends with the avocado sauce, topped with wasabi and mayonnaise. Drizzled with sweet soy sauce from Kyushu, the flavors intensify. A delight for both eyes and taste buds.

Tuna sashimi parfait:

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Namahonmaguro trio of red, medium fatty and fatty cuts join sea urchin and salmon roe in this opulent seafood rice bowl. Namahonmaguro  refers to tuna shipped fresh from the docks without ever being frozen. 80% of all tuna on the market is frozen, leaving only 20% nama. Compared with frozen tuna, nama has a much more pronounced taste for each part of the fish. This way, the three distinctive textures and tastes in this dish are on display.

Source Ben Grape – Japan Today

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