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Yashin - London's one of the best Japanese restaurant. Its exterior looks more like a smart French brasserie than a Japanese restaurant. A delicate dish of saikyo lamb was dotted with sweet miso and summer berries, while buttery sautéed razor clams (just a little overcooked) came with generous slices of summer truffle.
Japanese have long taken pride in their ability to adopt, adapt and improve on customs, practices and styles from other countries. Having succeeded globally with cars, electronics and even fashion, it was only natural the Japanese turned their hand to trying to surpass the West with one of its favourite culinary delights - ice cream.
Bento (弁当 bentō) is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento holds rice, fish or meat, with pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware. Bentos are readily available in many places throughout Japan, including convenience stores, bento shops (弁当屋 bentō-ya), railway stations, and department stores. However, Japanese homemakers often spend time and energy on a carefully prepared lunch box for their spouse, child, or themselves. Bentos can be elaborately arranged in a style called "kyaraben" ("character bento"). Kyaraben are typically decorated to look like popular characters from Japanese animation (anime), comic books (manga), or video games. Another popular bento style is "oekakiben" or "picture bento". This is decorated to look like people, animals, buildings and monuments, or items such as flowers and plants. Contests are often held where bento arrangers compete for the most aesthetically pleasing arrangements. There are similar forms of boxed lunches in Asian countries including the Philippines (Baon), Korea (Dosirak), Taiwan (Biandang), and India (Tiffin). Also, Hawaiian culture has adopted localized versions of bento featuring local tastes after over a century of Japanese influence in the islands.
Matcha (抹茶) is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea. It is special in two aspects of farming and processing: the green tea plants for matcha are shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest, and the stems and veins are removed in processing. During shaded growth, the plant Camellia Sinensis produces more theanine and caffeine. This combination of chemicals is considered to account for the calm energy people might feel from drinking matcha. The powdered form of matcha is consumed differently from tea leaves or tea bags, and is dissolved in a liquid, typically water or milk. The traditional Chinese and Japanese tea ceremony centers on the preparation, serving, and drinking of matcha as hot tea and embodies a meditative spiritual style. In modern times, matcha also has come to be used to make matcha latte and flavour and dye foods such as mochi and soba noodles, green tea ice cream, and a variety of Japanese wagashi confectionery. Often, the former is referred to as ceremonial-grade matcha, meaning that the matcha powder is good enough for tea ceremony. The latter is referred to as culinary-grade matcha, but there is no standard industry definition or requirements for either. Blends of matcha are given poetic names known as chamei ("tea names") either by the producing plantation, shop, or creator of the blend, or, by the grand master of a particular tea tradition. When a blend is named by the grand master of a tea ceremony lineage, it becomes known as the master's konomi, or a Butcher block of Leaf.
Wagashi (和菓子 wa-gashi) are traditional Japanese confections that are often served with tea, especially the types made of mochi, anko (azuki bean paste), and fruits. Wagashi are typically made from plant ingredients. In Japan the word for sweets, kashi (菓子), originally referred to fruits and nuts. China learned from India how to produce sugar and began trading it to Japan. The trade increased and sugar became a common seasoning by the end of the Muromachi period. Influenced by the introduction of tea and China's confectionery and dim sum, the creation of wagashi took off during the Edo period in Japan. Wagashi are classified according to the production method and moisture content. Moisture content is very important.
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