Japan is arguably the preeminent food nation on earth; it’s a mecca for the world’s greatest chefs and has more Michelin stars than any other country. The Japanese go to extraordinary lengths and expense to eat food that is marked both by its exquisite preparation and exotic content. Their creativity, dedication, and courage in the face of dishes such as cod sperm and octopus ice cream are only now beginning to be fully appreciated in the sushi—and ramen—saturated West, as are the remarkable health benefits of the traditional Japanese diet.
Food and travel writer Michael Booth takes the culinary pulse of contemporary Japan, learning fascinating tips and recipes that few Westerners have been privy to before. Accompanied by two fussy eaters under the age of six, he and his wife travel the length of the country, from bear-infested, beer-loving Hokkaido to snake-infested, seaweed-loving Okinawa. Along the way, they dine with—and score surprising victory over—two sumo wrestlers, pamper the world’s most expensive cows with massages and beer, share a seaside lunch with free-diving female abalone hunters, and meet the greatest chefs working in Japan today. Less happily, they witness a mass fugu slaughter, are traumatized by an encounter with giant crabs, and attempt a calamitous cooking demonstration for the lunching ladies of Kyoto.
“An entertaining guide to the food you should try on a trip to the area.”—Time Out (London)
“A British food and travel writer takes his wife, two young sons, and bubbly brand of humor to Japan in hopes of examining the food culture . . . he covers the current state of Japanese cuisine with humor and intelligence.”—Kirkus Reviews
"In funny, anecdotal chapters, many of which focus on a single type of food, Booth, a Denmark-based travel writer sinks his teeth into the sort of unvarnished cultural-culinary reporting that made Calvin Trillin a star three decades ago . . . From a discussion of what makes one soy sauce better than another to a visit to a wasabi farm (that’s right . . . it doesn’t start out as a tube of green paste!), Booth whistle-stops his way through Japan making toothsome observations all the way."—Passport Magazine