Noma in Japan

A fascinating article on Noma in Tokyo.

I loved reading about the individual dishes after this description:

How does a restaurant become the best in the world? How does such an outlandishly expensive operation create enough buzz to maintain the spotlight? You'd expect some flash (hello, 16-course tasting menu) and a few gimmicks (serving "technically dead" crustaceans covered in ants), but you might underestimate, as I did, the degree to which each and every item on the plate (not to mention the plate itself) has meaning, intention, and purpose. There's an answer for everything, including moving to Japan. These guys are not messing around.
When I interviewed Redzepi after the meal, he explained why he was intent on stationing in Tokyo. "When it comes to eating, there is no cyncism in Japan ... There's a genuine respect for the products that we would normally hear about and call [fake]. But in Japan, it's all true." It's all heartfelt.

Citrus and Long Pepper

 A medley of citrus (did you know there's such a thing as "designer fruit" in Japan?) with pine salt and kelp-sesame oil. Looks were deceiving. It had a real peppery kick.

Hokkari Pumpkin, Cherry Wood Oil, and Salted Cherry Blossoms

Glory, glory! What a dish. Thin slices of cooked pumpkin, salted cherry blossoms, a light barley cream. If springtime in Kyoto had its own flavor profile, this would be it.
If you're tempted to make your own version at home, here's the recipe.

Yeast and Turnip Cooked in Shitake

We had a version of this cooked turnip dish at a very traditional kaiseki dinner the night before, and it was really interesting to have that context before diving into this very smooth and hearty bowl of veggie goodness.

As is custom in Japanese haute cuisine, rice was served at the end of the meal. But it appeared at the table as sweet rice paper and sake leaves.

Wild Cinnamon and Fermented Mushroom

The final course: a nod to the moss-covered forests of Japan. Mushrooms were fermented, enrobed with chocolate, and flecked with salt. A little like Scandinavian licorice, the "candies" were earthy and incredibly addictive (we fought over the last one). I chewed on the wild sprigs of cinnamon at the very end of the meal.


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