An invitation to get to know Japan in Sydney
Japan and its unique culture continue to fascinate thousands of Australians, and whether it be food, fashion, beauty or traditional arts, more and more are seeking it out at home.
The Ultimate Japanese Staycation Guide takes a tour of the Japanese cultural scene in Sydney, which is responding to what the Japanese would describe as a ‘love-call’ from everyday Aussies with fresh, authentic stores, food trends and more. See how easy it is to slot a taste of everyday Japan into the Australian lifestyle, and make it more multicultural than ever before – get set to begin your Japanese staycation in 3…2…1…
Weekend fun at home, Japanese style!
How to prepare for an easy, breezy, Japanesey weekend at home
Both in Australia and Japan, there’s a culture of people gathering for a drink and a feed in a relaxing, comfortable setting at home. Down Under, it could be the classic BYO barbie get-together out in the backyard, with plates of meat and an esky (or two) filled with beers. In Japan, it tends to be the opposite: friends gather inside the house with little bits and pieces to snack on, and bring a variety of alcoholic beverages along – a type of party called ‘ie-nomi’ (house drinking).
If you love some good Japanese fare and want to spice up your weekend plans, why not give ‘ie-nomi’ a go? It’s an especially great way to entertain during the colder months.
Here are a few tips: firstly, you need to have access to Japanese food and supplies. In Northbridge, NSW, Tokyo Mart is the local go-to, with an awesome range covering everything from alcohol to lifestyle goods.
Walking into Tokyo Mart can give anyone a ‘kid in a candy shop’ type of feeling; its aisles of brightly packaged Japanese food products will invite you right in.
To prepare for a stress-free and tasty ie-nomi feast, the safest bet is to head over to the frozen food section. Here you’ll find salted edamame beans that you can prepare just by boiling, as well as grilled onigiri rice balls, croquettes, and even ramen. Frozen food is easy prepare, and there’s no need to worry about complicated Japanese recipes.
A good ie-nomi party isn’t complete with some ‘otsumami’. This is the Japanese word for snacks that are enjoyed with alcohol, like pork crackle and peanuts, and Tokyo Mart has a small ‘otsumami’ section near the alcohol aisle; there’s plenty more in the confectionery section as well.
The spicy rice cracker and peanut mix ‘Kaki-Pee’, or wasabi peas, is well suited to the Australian palette, or if you’re really up for adventuring, try the dried and shredded cuttlefish, ‘saki-ika’.
From sake to beer, Tokyo Mart has a great range of Japanese drinks available. There are the staples of Asahi and Orion beer, and for something fruity, there is umeshu (plum sake) among the range in stock. Ask the friendly staff for a recommendation, or pick one of each, and taste-test them with your guests!
Keep your liver happy with miso soup!
After a night of drinking, it’s important to take care of your liver and body. The easiest way to do this is to have a cup of miso soup before you turn in for the night.
Miso soup is said to be the best hangover preventer because of these two factors:
1. Miso is full of protein, minerals and natural sugar, which all aid the liver to recover
2. Tofu and wakame seaweed – staple additions to miso soup – are full of calcium and magnesium, which are depleted by alcohol
Coming to the rescue in times of need is Miyasaka Jozo’s instant miso soup – grab yourself a packet before you checkout at Tokyo Mart.