Author Archives: Lynnwood Japanese Restaurant

The Way of Japanese Tea

A Silent Performance, An Eternal Tradition

The ceremony of tea, called chado and means the ‘way of tea’, is a very revered tradition in Japan, an art form that transcends the actual experience of drinking tea. The tea ceremony is also called Chanoyu, Sado or simply Ocha in Japanese.

In Kyoto, there is an exclusive program – the Urasenke – that educates students in this traditional art. The students train for ten years to become masters in the art of traditional tea ceremonies. They are used to conduct these ceremonies among national leaders and distinguished guests. Uji, another city south of Kyoto known for its shrines and temples, is also famed as one of the finest producers of green tea in Japan. Traditional tea ceremonies are famous here and are held in ceremonial tea houses.

Green tea, called Matcha, is prepared and served in an almost choreographic ritual. The host of the ceremony shows his respect and generosity to his guests with every movement and gesture, starting with the preparation of the tea, to its pouring into intricate designed bowls, even to the choice and placement of the tea utensils, even to the choice of the kimono. It is not just a matter of drinking tea with guests, but includes carefully selected aesthetics, attention to detail and all the predefined gestures involved in a labor from the heart. Bowing is common throughout the ceremony, from after pouring, after sipping, at the end of the ceremony, among others. Now due to the tea’s bitterness, Japanese sweets are served to balance the taste.

A full-length formal tea ceremony involves a meal (chakaiseki) and two servings of tea (koicha and usucha) and lasts approximately four hours. One has to focus on the senses and live in the moment, avoiding small talk and gossip and limiting conversation on the ceremony, the utensils and decor used. Hence, almost a silent performance, steeped in long tradition.

Remembering Tradition with every Cup of Tea

We may not conduct traditional tea ceremonies at Wild Wasabi Sushi, but we hold tradition dear to our hearts whenever we serve you tea at our Japanese restaurant in Lynnwood. Come by Wild Wasabi and enjoy green tea in a relaxed, contemporary setting.

A Quick Study on Japanese Food

Let’s look at some must-know details about this amazing and esteemed cuisine and keep in mind just how serious the Japanese regard their food.

  1. Japanese cuisine is one of only three national food traditions recognized by the UN for its cultural significance. Aside from French and Mexican food the UN recognizes that Japan’s cuisine helped mold and perpetuate her distinct culture and tradition, and to this day symbolized what they are.
  2. Everything about Japanese food is simple. Ingredients are as simple and as few to let its real food flavor shine through. Many are minimally seasoned; garlic, chilli peppers, and oil are infrequently used. Condiments add variety but are also simple, like soy sauce.
  3. Seafood, a major part of the Japanese diet, is a staggeringly huge industry in Japan. The world’s largest wholesale market for seafoods is based in Tokyo, selling 700 thousand tons of seafood a year. And it’s just one of the 12 based in Tokyo alone.
  4. While the Japanese diet includes a lot a vegetables, it is exceedingly hard to find a totally vegetarian recipe in Japan. There are not many vegans or vegetarians in Japan, and those who are, are not even 100% vegetarian. Even their vegetable dishes use some form of animal products – like fish flakes or dashi stock.
  5. Dining Japanese involves a lot of food rules and proper etiquette. It is good manners to slurp your food ( a sign that you appreciate it), also if you don’t rest your chopsticks on anything except the chopstick stand provided, not leaving your crumpled napkins on your plate, and not tipping the waiters.

We’ve got other juicy and serious tidbits on Japanese food that maybe we can share in another blog. Next time. In the meantime, why don’t you drop by Wild Wasabi, your Japanese restaurant in Lynnwood and see what our chefs have for you this season.

Udon Noodles and Soba Noodles: What’s the difference?

Through Thick and Thin Noodles

Both udon and soba are typical Japanese noodles forming part of the Japanese diet and culture. Served hot or served cold, they are both delicious and are compatible with a variety of other added ingredients. They are cooked similarly- in a large container of boiling, salted water and done until just right in consistency.

They differ in other ways. Udon noodles are made out of wheat flour; they are thick and white in color. Best as fresh, they are soft and chewy. Due to their neutral flavor, they are able to absorb strong-flavored ingredients and dishes. Dried udon is also good, however, the texture is more dense.

On the other hand, soba noodles are made out of buckwheat, with a strong nutty flavor. Many though have wheat in them also, which means they are not gluten-free. Pure buckwheat soba is gluten-free and stronger in flavor. The noodles are thin and soft, a lot chewier and nuttier than udon. Dried soba resembles flat spaghetti and is usually light beige to dark brown-gray in color.

The noodles differ in origins, too. Udon is credited to a Buddhist priest, who travelled to China in the 9th century and brought back udon noodles to his village in the Sanuki region. He was the one also who introduced udon soup. Soba origins are traced back to the Edo period, consumed by the Edo people, the present day Tokyoites. They were considered wealthier and are able to afford the otherwise expensive soba at the time. Thankfully, today, both noodles are popular, affordable, and are readily available.

Both Popular at Lynnwood

We serve your favorite noodles at Wild Wasabi together with other great classics, whether it is warm or chilly outside. They’re always popular. Enjoy our noodles hot or cold like nowhere else, only here at your Japanese restaurant in Lynnwood.

Holiday Catering

At-home Holiday Party Catering for ~40 people | November 5th, 2016

If you would like to order catering for your special event, please give us a call at (425) 776-8068.

The Strange History of Tempura

You might know tempura as a classic Japanese preparation of meats and vegetables, battered and deep-fried into that distinctly delicious dish you can find at all of your favorite restaurants. At our Lynnwood Japanese Restaurant, you can enjoy this fried classic in many of your favorite forms. But what is the story behind tempura, exactly? The answer may surprise you.

If you’re familiar with the Japanese language, you may have noticed that there’s something off about tempura. After all, the word cannot be properly written with the Japanese alphabet. This is because “tempura” is not a native Japanese word.

Tempura was actually introduced to Japan at some point in the sixteenth century, when missionaries from Portugal and Spain arrived in the country. Though the specific facts are lost to history, it is thought that the name was derived from the Portuguese word “tempero”, which translates to “condiment” or “seasoning”. You can actually find a dish similar to the Japanese tempura in Portugal to this day, which goes under the name peixinhos da horta.

High-Energy Udon!

Japanese wheat noodles, including the udon we offer at our Japanese restaurant in Lynnwood, are a low-fat, high-protein source of readily-available energy. This is because they provide you with a healthy dose of carbohydrates at a moderate glycemic index, which means that they’re able to deliver long-lasting energy with a moderate effect on your blood sugar.

Udon is also well-known for its easy digestibility. Scientific tests have determined that the noodles break down in your stomach considerably faster than other pastas, and three times as fast as beef. This is due to the process by which udon is made. The kneading of the wheat flour mixes the proteins with the starch molecules to make them more available to your digestive enzymes. The dish is favored by people fighting the flu; since the noodle digests so easily, blood isn’t rushed to the stomach and is able to provide sustained energy and heat where your body needs it. Try some of this powerhouse noodle for yourself at Wild Wasabi!

The History of California Rolls

It’s hard to avoid the California roll. You can find it all over, including our Lynnwood Japanese restaurant. You’re probably familiar enough with this simple sushi favorite, but did you know that it represents a significant chapter in sushi history?

The first California roll was made in Los Angeles in the 1970’s. Japanese sushi chefs were still trying to find a market for their craft in the United States, so they combined imitation crab with avocado and rolled it up in a layer of rice. The taste of the imitation crab and the texture of the avocado proved to be a great way to simulate the experience of eating raw fish, and served as a stepping stone for many Americans into the world of sushi. And thus, the phenomenon of “American-style” fusion sushi was born.

In the California roll, we see several sushi firsts. This was the first time avocado had been used in sushi, representing a pioneer of non-Japanese ingredients to be used in the craft. Also, it was the introduction of sushi rolls that contained more than one main ingredient, as well as the advent of the “inside-out” roll, with the rice rolled around the nori. It’s exciting to see how far the sushi craft has come today, and more exciting still to consider how it might advance in the world of tomorrow.

Feel Real Zeal with a Meal Made of Eel!

The Japanese word “unagi” refers to freshwater eels, specifically the anguilla japonica variety native to the country. It’s a popular seafood to put on sushi and other Japanese dishes, like the ones you can find at our Lynnwood sushi restaurant. This is one of the more traditional varieties of sushi that you will commonly see with cooked meat, representing a popular choice for native diners and American sushi lovers alike.

In Japan, it’s not uncommon for a restaurant to specialize entirely in unagi-based food. Such restaurants are often easy to spot, making use of a picture of an eel to represent the Japanese character for “u-”. The meat is well loved on sushi and in “unagi-don” rice bowls.

Unagi meat is high in protein, calcium, and vitamin A. This has given the eel a reputation as a strong source of stamina. During the summer, unagi is traditionally eaten during the Day of the Ox in midsummer, when people hope to harness its stamina-boosting to help them through the hot summer days. Try some for yourself today at Wild Wasabi!

What Makes a Good Starter Sushi?

Are you a sushi newbie? If you come down to our Lynnwood sushi restaurant, you’ll be able to take the plunge properly with our selection of great starter rolls. Even if you’re squeamish about your first sushi meal, we’re confident that you can find something to help you “ease into” the experience until you’re ready to put them away like a pro.

The first thing to understand about sushi is that it doesn’t necessarily contain raw fish. You can get a feel for the food by trying out some of the vegetarian rolls, or the tamago nigiri, which is made from cooked chicken egg. After this, take a step further with some of the fried, fusion-style rolls, like the crunchy roll. Throw in a few California rolls, simulating the feel of eating raw fish with familiar tastes like avocado and imitation crab. Try a few plates of these, and in no time you should be comfortable with the entire menu!