Thursday, May 29, 2014

Dinner at Iwaso Ryokan, Miyajima

We were hogging the prime space for photography for at least 1.5 hours. Will post all the beautiful sunset pics over the Otorii soon :))) Like leeches......we refused to leave. It was so so so stunning :))) The sun sets at 7.06pm and we were still standing still there, speechless, overwhelmed. Our existence was accompanied by wild deers, bz sniffing around us for food.

Sorry no feeding allowed in this island. U guys have to be kept as wild as go find your own food. Thing is once they hear any plastic bags being shuffled, they'll run to you in herds. That's the scary part coz Monkey is tiny and those wild deers......oh well were tiny as well but they stinks!!!!!!
After the sun has completely sets, we were still standing there waiting.....and waited for the lights illumination onto the Otorii. We didn't know wat time it was illuminated but waited and snap the last few pics before went running home to our Yukata...... and japanese slippers.....and it was uphill....

Congratulations to the both of us for behaving completely like "Gaijin" = foreigners in Japanese.
No one runs like this...u are supposed to be graceful and zen...Oh well sorry we are Road Runners so...Beep Beep and off we went up the hill and in less than 5 minutes we have arrived at our cottage.

Our mighty-room-attendant-who-can-carry-many-many-bags-at-one-go was so worried.....She was waiting for us for dinner. Like a worried mom, she heaved a sigh of relief when her honorable guests came puffing uphill with cameras on tows *I don't know why we have so many cameras and lens and gadgets and peripherals*

When u are staying at a ryokan, a full kaiseki dinner and a Big Big breakfast are served at your tatami room. Usually they will enquire wat time you would like to have your meals, wat drinks do you prefer and dietary requirements. I lurve to be fed like king and be bathed in an onsen, the joy of staying in a ryokan. At the end of the day, who doesn't?

Dinner was already set on the table with appetizers arranged neatly. We just needed to wash our hands and settle down. Appetizers are usually cold just like the french amuse bouche.

Usually we will settle down the first 30 seconds when the attendant is in. With feet folded politely behind our back, hands on hips, bowed at each other, and lifted our chopsticks with grace. Once she's outta the room....

Monkey unfolded her legs and laid it straight pointed at JS and chomp chomp chomp at her food while JS lifted his knee and sat like a Maharaja, elbow at his knees and chomp even louder

We hate to sit on the floor to eat
it is considered RUDE in japanese culture to have ur feet pointed at the person opposite you.
To us....this is COMFORT :)))))))

I know......we are ought to be sent for some educative cultural lessons by a sensei who will continuously whip our feet for the wrong placement.

Next was a terrine of Anago - a type of sea eel. Trust me sea eel is so much more delicate and sweeter and finer compared to the fresh water Unagi. Unagi has got this mud smell, hence u will alwiz find it cooked with a lot of sauce to mask this taste.

Miyajima island has got 2 specialities which are Oysters and Anago. So remember to eat loads of this when u are at this island.

Sashimi of a young white sea bream
so delicate and crunchy. Having sashimi at the source is such a different experience. U'll get that sweetness of the sea, with firm texture from the fresh fish which was just killed and bleed.

Next was more seasonal small bites of fish, chestnuts and ume
Each dish was presented in such a way to reflect the current season.

This is a "lid dish" meaning it's alwiz served covered in beautiful earthenware with a lid of coz...

in this case, it was simmered japanese aubergine with mushrooms. Somehow japanese simmered dishes are such comfort food. Be it simmered beef or daikon it just soothes ur tummy.

The next course was the friend fish, usually a tempura

Did I tell you earlier that oysters are also a delicacy here???
Will u just stare at the pic above and imagine the delicate creaminess, sweetness from the sea and finally the thin crunch which was so crunch u thought ur skull cracked.

the creaminess oozes out. I wished they will just serve me one whole basket instead of 2 pieces. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

In Japan tempuras are usually served with "shio" = salt
just pure sea salt.......nothing else to interrupt the taste profile.

Finally our surprise main dish!!!!
When u see these, u know shabu shabu is just around the corner

The glorious Hot Pot

look at the marbling

Shabu Shabu served with ponzu daikon sauce and roasted goma sauce

the best part was, we don't even have to cook it ourselves.
wahahahah my dream came be a pig here :)))))

Room attendant insisted a "kawaii" pic and I happily obliged.

The wine list was pretty limited here but it's OK coz somehow we still found something really nice to drink :))))

The 2nd last course of any japanese kaiseki u'll have the rice pot, some pickles and soup. Another comfort food for us and we definitely couldn't finish the whole rice pot after all the food.

Cherries were in season and it was so sweet, they even peeled the skin off the one and only grape. While the lemon was actually a jelly. Very good to clean our palate after the fatty beef.

The symbol of the Miyajima island is this leaf. This dessert is very popular and is usually sandwiched with red bean paste

but for that evening, it was sandwiched with green tea ice cream :)))))
so so so good.

Because of the amount of food, we had to roll ourselves down the hill to enjoy the view of Otorii at night. It was so so beautiful and we sat there in our japanese slippers and yukata with really huge tummy :P

the shrine that connects the otorii looks even more beautiful at nite. You could see that the tide was high and the entire shrine complex was covered in sea water.

It was Full Moon...that explains the high tide.
There's 2 high tides and 2 low tides here....if you are staying at the island, u can request this information from your hotel.

Then it's time to head back to our cottage to oink oink

Our warm comfy futons already being prepared and laid on the tatami room which was next to our dining room. With more desserts and hot tea prepared on the table.

It's amazing how our mighty lil room attendant could do so much. :)))) And we slept soundly that evening.....who wouldn't after all those comfy food? hahahahah

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