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.
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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.