Kesennuma Shio Ramen
The star attraction of the Fair, even on a hot and sunny day, was this spectacular bowl of ramen. Specially sourced from a diner in Kesennuma, Migayi that was devastated by tsunami in 2011, this ramen infused chicken broth with dried pike mackerel.
The resulting soup paired deep flavor with a light body, and every other component of the bowl (from the char-siu to the calling-card-sized sheet of dried seaweed) was executed flawlessly.
From the opening of the ramen stand at 11:00 a.m., there was a line out the door. The wait was absolutely worthwhile.
Giant Ramen Poster
What was that? Sorry, didn't hear your comment because I was too busy living in a world where RAMEN IS A ROCK STAR.
Each serving started with a meaty filet of lightly cured mackerel.
Saba (Mackerel) Sushi
At $12 for 8 pieces, the saba sushi was possibly the best deal of the weekend. Each serving was composed of three layers: sushi rice, gari, and wonderfully meaty mackerel.
Preparing "Four-Harmony" Seafood Bento
Dear Photoshop, please consider "four-harmony seafood gradient" in your next software update.
"Four-Harmony" Seafood Bento
A beautiful dish among an ecosystem of beautiful dishes, this bento combined sea urchin, squid, crab, and salmon roe to form a complex and refreshing bite of uncompromising seafood.
Free Samples at the Seafood Specialty Stand
As the perused takeaway boxes of delicacies from the sea, Fair goers were treated to free samples of even the most expensive cuts.
Another eternal line formed at the takoyaki stand, where an assembly line of Japanese men worked quickly to produce boxes of savory, octopus-stuffed, griddle-cooked pancake balls.
Working at the end of the assembly line, this cook would keep the tempo going by shouting call-and-response mantras to his crew. Even that wasn't too much work to stop him from posing for the camera.
Takoyaki > Chicken Nuggets
By the end of this lesson, students will be able to use a number line to confirm this inequality. Extra credit: write a proof that in all cases, Takoyaki boxes > chicken nugget boxes.
"Salmon Rice Bowl"
The name of this dish neglected to include the fact that the salmon was marinated in sesame oil and soy sauce. Each slice was surprisingly tender.
Crab Leg Inari
Sushi rice and bits of lotus root, topped with crab-leg meat, wrapped in tofu skin, and brushed with a sweet sesame oil.
Inari Sushi Demo
Serious sushi calls for serious sushi rice. Serious sushi rice calls for serious barrel.
Live Demos Abound
At a Mitsuwa event, half the fun is watching the painstaking assembly of sushi, bento boxes, and other treats. The words "Live Demo" marked almost every stand at the Gourmet Japanese Fair.
Starting a Batch of Makidora
A taco-like version of doriyaki (a circular, stuffed alternative), each finished cake is wrapped around a sweet filling to produce a handheld dessert.
One of the event's cooks lays down the batter for a batch of rolled pancakes.
Tea on Tap
One of the best features of the Mitsuwa food court is unlimited free tea (green and genmai). These weak brews are by no means worthy of ceremony, but they make a fine parallel to diner coffee.
Happy Hour on Aisle 10
Dear New York grocery stores: Why can't you be more like this?
Fish out of Water
No visit to Mitsuwa Marketplace in Jersey is complete without taiyaki, a red bean-filled griddle cake from the Oishinbo stall. These treats are available year-round, so don't wait for the next seasonal food fair to ford the Hudson for one of your own.