B-kyu Gurume – Delicious Eats in Japan

We’re ready for the new year, we’re ready to eat some delicious Japanese food!

We’re starting this new year by talking about B-kyu gurume!? Have you all heard of this Japanese cuisine before?

B-kyu gurume is a uniquely Japanese style of “B-class” gourmet food that’s typically prepared in small restaurants, using inexpensive and local ingredients.? It’s typically hearty, filling, and delicious!

B-kyu gurume food is familiar to many people who enjoy Japanese food.? Dishes such as?yakisoba, monjayaki (pictured below), and kushikatsu are common?B-kyu gurume foods.? B-kyu gurume?cuisine uses regionally-sourced, inexpensive, and humble, down-to-earth ingredients.? Dishes are often prepared at mom and pop-type restaurants and?izakaya.? The result of these dishes are comforting, filling, and tasty!

The concept of “B-class” gourmet food originated during the 1980’s in Japan.? With economies booming all over the world, Japanese residents and tourists started to enjoy expensive meals at high-end restaurants.? Meals found at local?izakaya?were considered second rate, earning them a “B-class” rating.? Not so surprisingly, the food was so delicious and appealing to all, that it became considered as gourmet.? When global economies slowed down a decade later, what was considered “B-class” became mainstream.

B-kyu gurume cuisine is also highly regional.? Because of the flagging economic situation during the cuisine’s inception, restaurateurs created dishes that were based on regional tastes using local ingredients to attract diners, eventually popularizing this type of cuisine.

One of the most iconic?B-kyu gurume?dishes is?motsunabe.??Motsunabe is a hotpot dish made of cow or pig offal cooked in a broth flavored with leeks, garlic, chili peppers, and other seasonings.? It is a popular local dish in and around the cities of Fukuoka and Shimonoseki in southern Japan.?Motsunabe?is exemplary of B-kyu gurume?cuisine because it is filling, made from local, inexpensive ingredients, and is highly regional.

Yakisoba, especially in the style found in Fujinomiya in Shizuoka Prefecture, is another flagship?B-kyu gurume?dish.? Fujinomiya?yakisoba is made with chewy lo mien-style noodles, which are made using inexpensive wheat and local spring water from Mt. Fuji,?nikukasu,?a meat residue left after processing lard,?bonito?flakes, and dried mackeral or herring powder.? Along with Fujinomiya?yakisoba, senbei-jiru — a soy-flavored rice cracker soup from Hachinohe in Aomori Prefecture is also a favorite B-kyu gurume?food.

Many varieties of Ramen, okonomiyaki, takoyaki and Fukagawa meshi,?or clams with miso broth, are also among the list of?B-kyu?gurume dishes, and you’re sure to find any number of localized, specialty dishes across Japan.

We hope you’ve had?B-kyu gurume dishes before…and if not, we wish you delicious eating as you find some of these dishes in Japan and in the U.S.? Enjoy!

 

Product of the Month –
Gourmet d’Expert? Electric Skillet (EP-PBC10)

Happy New Year, Zojirushi fans!? We hope that this new decade helps bring you success and happiness!

What are some of your goals for 2020?

We are excited to start this year by introducing you to one of our favorite products?and our Product of the Month– the?Gourmet d’Expert? ?Electric Skillet (EP-PBC10)!

This Electric Skillet is not like any other– this versatile product is packed with so many ingenious features that we’re sure you’ll love.

Let’s start with the basics– how it works.? This skillet is composed of a main body with heating surface, a cooking pan, a lid and a power cord.? Once out of the box, you just simply wash the cooking pan and lid before the first use, place the cooking pan in the main body, attach the removable power cord and you’re ready…how simple is that?!

The cooking pan is 2 1/4 inches deep with a diameter of 10 1/2 inches, and it features a titanium and ceramic nonstick coating.? The size of the cooking pan, as well as the nonstick coating makes it ideal for sauteing ingredients, braising vegetables, simmering stews, cooking risottos, grilling meat or?gyoza, and even for making fondue and pasta!? It’s the perfect addition for family nights and for impressing your guests at any potluck event.

Once the cooking pan is set in the main body, which houses the heating element, dishes can be prepared on various temperatures, ranging from 280°F to 430°F.? The skillet can also be set to?Keep Warm.? This Electric Skillet can also be used on a gas stovetop burner to help precook ingredients for stews or other dishes simmered in liquids.

Along with the cooking pan, the tempered glass lid is a cook’s best friend.? Not only does this lid let you safely monitor cooking, and of course, prevent splatters, but it helps foods and liquids cook faster.

And?that is how this great skillet works!? Even better, this skillet is built with safety in mind, just like our other products.? First, the power cord easily detaches in case it’s accidentally tugged.? Second, the handles on the cooking pan stay cool, preventing burns when transferring the pan.

And of course, each component of the skillet is easy to maintain.? Simply wipe the main body and heating element with a damp cloth, wash the pan and lid with warm water and mild dish detergent and let everything dry thoroughly.

Ok, now that we’re done talking about the awesome features, we really need to get to the food!

WHAT. DOES. THIS. SKILLET. COOK?

Well, we love the traditional Japanese dishes that we make in this skillet.? Everything from Japanese-Style Teriyaki Chicken and Chanko-Nabe to Sukiyaki and Salmon Kobumaki Kelp Rolls, served during the New Year festivities!? We also love the Western savories that cook up beautifully in this skillet, like like Fava Bean Risotto and Chicken Breast Cacciatore.? But we really go for the unexpected dishes that we make in this skillet like Chocolate Crème Brulee and Thick Style Matcha Hotcakes.?

Chocolate Creme Brulee

Chocolate Crème Brulee

You’ve got to try all of the recipes on our website (and don’t forget to tag your photos with #zojirushi on Instagram)!

Don’t forget to follow us on our blog and Instagram to keep up on all of our delicious Japanese and Western recipes and how to cook them with all of our amazing products!

 

Happy New 2020!

This year my resolution is to slow down and enjoy life more—by paying attention to what’s going on around me. Modern technology makes all of us go too fast, don’t you think?

At our house, we do sukiyaki whenever we have a special occasion, but especially for New Year’s Eve. Pretty soon our son will be leaving for his first real job in Washington D.C., starting a career with the government. Since our daughter is also home right now, on winter break from university, we decided to break out the sukiyaki hot pot to celebrate the holidays. Eating together as a family at home isn’t as regular as it used to be. As the kids got older, my wife would cook, but everyone would grab a plate and retreat to their part of the house to eat while doing whatever we wanted to do. In fact, our best family conversations happened while we were at a restaurant together. That’s OK I guess, but not quite the same.

Sukiyaki changes all that. It takes a while to prep—veggies have to be cut, tofu has to be sliced and the meat laid out nicely. I can’t take credit for this pretty arrangement; my wife has the skills.

Once that’s done, it’s time to set the table. Tonight’s ingredients are Chinese cabbage, Japanese long onion (naganegi), Chrysanthemum leaves (shungiku), 3 kinds of mushrooms, yam noodles (shirataki), tofu and rib eye beef!

We used the Zojirushi Gourmet d’Expert? Electric Skillet for the job, which made it super easy to cook. We were most impressed with the fact that the outer body doesn’t get hot, which means you can surround it with ingredients on the dining table without worrying about the heat getting to them—important when you don’t want raw meat or sashimi to get too warm.

There are tons of sukiyaki recipes online, so look one up and try—it’s not hard to cook. Plus you can use store bought sauce from the store, which is what we always do.

Here’s the live action—LOL!

You’ll notice we have raw eggs which we use as a dip. My wife is a bit squeamish about this so she passes on it, but I love it!

Here’s what I noticed about dinners like tonight’s with my family. Not only does a hot pot dish like sukiyaki bring us together at the dining table on a cold winter night, this kind of meal takes time to eat. You can’t scarf this down. We talked about our son’s future career, about our daughter’s courses next semester, about the house guest from Japan that we’re going to be entertaining over Christmas—the usual things families discuss if you have the time to talk about them. Remember my New Year’s resolution?

What are yours going to be this year?

 

 

Images by Bert Tanimoto, food styling by @ironchefmom