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The Flavors of Fall are Here

From the Producer

September is here! The heat of summer may not quite be over, but in Japan September means the beginning of fall, and fall means an incredible array of delicious foods coming into season. Great foods like deliciously fatty Pacific saury, sprinkled with a bit of salt and then grilled, for a favorite at Japanese dinner tables, izakaya pubs, and restaurants. Chestnuts, Asian pears, and root vegetables come into season in fall, too. Japan’s long, narrow shape means plenty of colorful fall specialties from regions all over the country can be shipped nationwide, as fall gradually arrives from north to south.

In Japan, the word hashiri is used to refer to when things first become available, and it’s customarily considered chic to eat these hashiri foods before anyone else. The Japanese word sakari is used to refer to when things are at their peak, in terms of both output and flavor. Finally, the Japanese word ochi is used to refer to seasonal foods at the end of their season.

As we gradually move into the colder seasons, there are many delicious foods to look forward to in Japan, alongside the brilliant red leaves of November — as beloved a moment of seasonal natural beauty in Japan as the cherry blossoms of spring. If you’re looking into traveling somewhere this fall, it’s absolutely worth visiting Japan to experience fall here for yourself: the combination of spectacular natural beauty and the most delicious foods of the year is sure to make for an unforgettable trip.

As we move into fall on Dining with the Chef, we’ll be using these incredible seasonal ingredients to make healthy and delicious meals to help keep warm even in these cold months. We hope you’ll look forward to it!

People have been asking about the recipes that Rika Yukimasa shared when she visited Seattle in July.
We’ve included the links to each of the recipes below, so you can try making them at home. If you do make any of them, we’d love if you could share pictures or just send us an email talking about your experiences, through this website. Both of our chefs have really loved hearing from everyone so far, and they’re always looking forward to hearing from more people!

Recipes from Chef Rika in Seattle

Spicy Oyakodon (Rice Bowl with Egg and Chicken)
Grilled Eggplant with Miso Dressing
Milk and Soy Milk Jelly with Black Sesame Seeds
Deep-fried Oysters with Panko
Chirashi-sushi (Scattered Sushi) — Use this recipe as a base for the sushi rice, then top it with your choice of ingredients
Oysters Simmered with Vinegar: Use this recipe

Oysters Simmered with Ginger Vinegar

Ingredients (Serves 2)
About 10 oysters
4 thin slices ginger
Seasoning blend:
1 tsp doubanjiang chili bean paste
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp sake
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar

1. In a pot, combine the ingredients for the seasoning blend and the ginger, then bring just to a simmer for about 2 min to cook off the excess moisture.
2. Add the oysters. Heat over medium heat until it reaches a boil, then let boil for about 1 min and remove from heat. Let sit until cooled, allowing the residual heat to cook the oysters through, then serve.