Michelin Restaurant Guide released the list of next year’s selection yesterday. The book will be on the shelves this weekend. They added Yokohama and Kamakura, which are on the outskirt of Tokyo, to this year’s edition. As you may know, Yokohama is a flourishing port city and Kamakura was the ancient capital before Tokyo. Tokyo’s neighboring cities, where many savvy gourmands live, have a huge potential as an area for numerous hidden gems. A total of 266 restaurants were awarded in the 2011 edition. Three stars were given to 14 restaurants, all of which are located in Tokyo.
Here’s list of the three star restaurants:
Japanese: Esaki, Ishikawa, Kanda, Koju, Yukimura, Usuki Fugu Yamadaya(Fugu), Hamadaya, Nana-chome Kyoboshi(Tempura)
Sushi: Sukiyabashi Jiro, Sushi Mizutani, Sushi Saito, Araki
French: Joel Robuchon, Quintessence
I watched a TV program on NHK, which was featuring three aspiring young sushi chefs in Tokyo. Shinji Kanesaka of Sushi Kanesaka, Harutaka Takahashi of Harutaka, and Takaaki Sugita of Miyako Sushi talked about their philosophies and techniques on sushi preparation. They were all in their late thirties and had opened their own restaurants after 10 to 15 years of apprenticeship. Kanesaka has already received two stars from Michelin Guide and Takahashi, who had trained at the renowned Sukiyabashi Jiro, owns one star. All three sushi chefs said the rice was very important for sushi rather than how they prepared the pieces of fish. That wasn’t what I had expected. They really cared about their ways on how they cooked the rice, including soaking time and cooking methods. Furthermore, what was interesting to me was how they had practiced their sushi techniques. They used a rolled kitchen rag to practice shaping sushi after work. Sugita said that he used a mirror to see how he made sushi during his days of training. Kanesaka responded to that, saying he currently uses video for his apprentices. I really enjoyed the conversations of the chefs who carry the future of sushi on their shoulders. I learned a lot through it. .
According to guardian.co.uk, Tokyo was awarded as the first favourite oversea city by Guardian Travel Award 2010. Tokyo, described as “home of all things hi-tech, modish and online,” suddenly came in at the top and replaced Sydney this year. Also, Japan was ranked second as a favourite long-haul country after being fifth last year. I was not able to figure out what has happened to the British travelers, as the article said “expect the unexpected.” Travelers are definitely evolving every year and their needs fluctuate, keeping up with the times, tide, economy, and exchange rates. It’s not an easy business…is it?