I also grew up in meat & potato country and I recall eating many a bacon and butter sandwiches as a kid, these days I can barely stomach the smell of bacon so I think that one had the opposite effect on me.
Well I also remember my first full on complete change in culinary experiences right along side one of my first traveling experiences.
I’m 18 & in Japan with my one year traveling companion. Like all good 18 year olds, we we’re basically invincible and like to mess with one another. He had actually been to Japan once before on a school band trip and was fully aware of the raw fish & rice experience. Though I could barely understand why we would pay someone NOT to cook something…
Enter super tiny sushi bar with extremely smiley owners. If you’ve ever hung out with Japanese people, they basically talk with a huge smile, it’s impressive. We sit down & don’t know a drop of Japanese & as you could imagine they didn’t speak a speck of English. So I take into consideration that my friends previous time in Japan makes him trustworthy to walk me through it. They show up with some hot green tea, little warm damp towels, a black liquid and a green paste. We get through course one of tofu and rice pretty easy, course two of crab and rice not so bad, course three is where they introduce the cold, raw slivers of what was Nemos friends yesterday and well it’s pretty good too. Now that I’ve got that hang of this and from about 20 feet away peeking through a small door to the kitchen the smiley owners watch to see if we like it. My friend Axel suggests I use the dip to make it taste a little better. So it dip my sushi in the black liquid then use the green dip to completely cover one half of my sushi while he giggles and take a drink of tea. As my freshly dipped green sushi is headed for my mouth I see that the smiley owners are now pushing each other out of the door to rush to our table as this concoction hits my mouth.
It hits everything! My mouth, my throat, my nose and basically kicks me in the ass while I’m still sitting down. Axel is almost off his chair in laughter while the straight faces chef and his wife get me water and cold tea trying to ease my pain while Axel explains I‘d just eatin a months worth of wasabi in one bite. By now Chef & wife have figured out it was a trick & think it’s just a little bit funny too.
Jump ahead twelve years & I had a chance to have lunch in Japan on an eight hour stopover not so long ago. While most people choose to hang out at the airport I promptly hoped on the train and took the one hour journey into Tokyo searching out what looked to be the most authentic sushi spot I could find, literally I walked around in my shorts and windbreaker in the light snow for an hour. Little fish tank & mini Sapporo kegs out front to keep them cool, small little place full of Japanese businessmen and two sushi chefs who looked to be from the Edo Period. It was the kind of dining and traveling experience you make documentaries about & all because of that first experience I had more then a decade earlier.
Is there something your missing out on because you haven’t left your city in awhile? Are you becoming to complacent in your life while working a little harder for something might do you some good?
The world is a delicious and amazing place. Have you ever had a one of a kind global eating experience?
Tell us about it below.