Sooo the big trip has been made... and my passion for Japanese food has become even stronger. The first days I was back in London, I popped into the Japan Centre Deli on Piccadilly every day
(which also means I'm even more broke now). I so miss having onigiri for every meal :) (I know, not traditional, but still). Out of the 300something pictures I took, at least a third of them involves food (yeah I know, surprise...).
So, I went to Kyoto, the supposedly most traditional and amazing city in Japan... truth be told, I was rather disappointed. All the big sights are really really for from each other, and most of them charge entrance fees when you could actually see something similar for free elsewhere in the area. If you're not totally into buddhism, or architecture, most of it is not worth it.
A highlight of my trip was the visit to Nishiki Market, though. It's a covered food market a 10 min walk from the main station that makes a wonderful stroll on a rainy afternoon. And while there are lots of non-vegan items (fish is the staple after rice in this country, after all), I bought a wonderful selection of tsukemono (Japanese pickles) at the market. I would have loved to buy some of the tofu specialities, but they all needed refridgeration so I didn't dare taking them on my 12hr flight.
A Scotsman's dream, fried everything! I loved stuffing myself with shoga, which costs an arm and a leg, if you can get it at all in Europe.
They had a big variety of pickles, especially nukazuke (rice bran pickles). Stupidly, I never found the nuka to make your own in Japanese shops at home... because all cookbooks show it in rectangular boxes! It comes in plastic bags, just like miso paste and is often found on the same shelf. I know, d'oh! Reading labels and learning kanji helps, sometimes.
This dapper chap was in charge of the tofu stall... they had tofu anything, and every variety of tofu on top!
... dare I say, welcome to Asia? Scary fish heads :(
The price of fruit and veg in Japan is crazy. Seasonal, local Japanese foods, such as Asian greens and sprouts are really cheap, but even tomatoes are not affordable. I saw a tiny sad courgette for 400yen (that's about 3 GBP!).
The pickle shop! Nishiri is probably the most famous pickle shop Japan wide. I bought myself the biggest gift package of tsukemono. Their packaging is so pretty though, I don't dare opening/eating any of it!!!