While May is the last month before the rainy season in Japan, it is just the beginning of warmer weather in Seattle! As we enjoy fresh catches from warmer waters, we also pause to enjoy the long tradition of Children’s Festival. We are excited to offer a very rare and limited sake this month and we invite you to enjoy some of our favorite events around Seattle before coming in for dinner.
Sakura-Ebi (Cherry Shrimp) – Very small in stature, just 4-5 cm, but packed with intense flavor, this shrimp shares its name with cherry blossoms (sakura) due to its translucent pink color. Caught in Suruga Bay, adjacent to Tokyo Bay, we are now well into the season for these delicious bites. While the season runs into early June, it is then illegal to fish, due to breeding season, from June 11 to September 30. We fry these tasty morsels to pop in our mouth alongside an ice cold beer.
Sakura-Ebi (Cherry Shrimp)
Suzuki (Seabass) – Pure in color, this white fish is very light, making it particularly enjoyable as the weather turns a bit warmer. Close in texture to red snapper, Suzuki is most popular in the Osaka region of Japan. Just like any other delicate white fish, it is best enjoyed with ponzu sauce. In Japan, we believe Suzuki is associated with good fortune!
Bizen Maboroshi (Junmai Ginjo) – Our seasonal sake is a favorite of many. It is made with Omachi rice, a strain that has been used in sake for nearly 200 years, making it very rare and highly coveted. A light and sweet aroma, it pulls a pleasant fragrance of fall fruits (pear and apple) as well as melon, and a bit of astringency. The initial taste is all encompassing and it fills your entire mouth immediately, and it brings a pleasant sourness and acidity that falls in favor of being a bit sweet. The flavor finishes with hints of light wood, black pepper, and then back to a mild yet enjoyable sourness.
Cultural Event in Japan
Children’s Festival – In Japan, May 5 is a celebration of our future – our Children’s Festival. With long traditions for both boys and girls, it is also common practice for families to raise a pole with Koi (carp) shaped flags. The big black one signifies father, the slightly smaller red or pink one for mother, and the little ones are for the children, with black or blue signifying boy and the pink one for girl.
What’s a holiday without traditional food! There are two kinds of treats enjoyed on Children’s Day: Chimaki (rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo leaves) and Kashiwa mochi (rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves) in Eastern Japan.
Chimaki & Kashiwamochi
Spring in Seattle means fresh asparagus! Chef Joe Sato shared one of his favorite ways for cooking asparagus with SIP Northwest Magazine in a recipe for Sauteed Asparagus with bacon and potatoes.
Look for our recipe for geoduck in The Seattle Times on May 31! We’ll post to our Facebook page, too!
- May 7: Japanese Children’s Day at Japanese Cultural and Community Center
- Through May 14: Seattle Beer Week
- May 18 through June 11: Seattle International Film Festival
- May 20-21: University Street Fair