Seasonal Fall Dishes in Japan   秋の味覚

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Sanma fish served with all the trimmings is one of the most popular dish in the fall.

Sanma fish with all the trimmings is one of the most popular dish in the fall.

Some manju tsukimi

These sweets made from mochi are called tsukimi dango.

Broth Matsutake Dobin Mushi soup served in his foolscap.

Matsutake Dobin Mushi soup, served in its teapot.

Seasonal Flavors

A lot of effort is put into meals to reflect the change of seasons in Japan, and Fall is no different.  So when the leaves are turning red (koyo), dishes with seasonal flavors will be on offer.  Here are just a few to look out for....

The chestnut

Did you know that Japan is the land of the chestnut? Called kuri, it can be prepared in many different dishes, from pastry with syrup to cakes. In Fall it may become difficult to go to cafe or a restaurant without there being a specially created dish including chestnut, especially in Kyoto, where the variety tanna-guri is particularly sought after.

Sanma Fish

Sanma is quite an odd fish. In Japanese, its name literally means "katana Fall fish". It bears this name because of its resemblance to a sword. Roasted and salted, the fish can be eaten in its entirety. It is slightly bitter, but it is this bitterness that is sought after by enthusiasts.

The tsukimi manju

In Japanese culture Fall is linked to the moon. During the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as tsukimi, they eat tsukimi manju made from rice paste mochi. This is a sweet treat that often takes the form of a rabbit. Indeed, in several Asian traditions, instead of a man living on the moon, they see a rabbit on the moon.

The matsutake mushroom

This big mushroom is very popular in Japan. In autumn, it is included in the matsutake dobin mushi soup. Served in a teapot, the Japanese enjoy this soup in a very particular way: the soup itself is poured into a bowl, while large ingredients are eaten directly from the teapot.

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