Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter Vegetable in Japan

Daikon, Japanese radish is the most popular winter vegetable in Japan.

During long winter, we eat various daikon dishes very often. There are zillions of recipes for daikon.
One of the easiest but with the highest vitamin nutritious value is to grate daikon and serve raw with soy sauce and lemon. Actually I love it most.
Upper section close to leaves tastes sweeter and bottom section close to the roots is usually bitter but stiff.  Therefore, upper part can be eaten raw such as grated or salad (as well as cooked), and bottom part are usually cooked in soup, or grilled on pan.   
In old days  (or maybe still now in countryside), people hang shredded daikon outside in winter time to make freeze dried daikon.

Poor actor/actress are called "Ham Actor" in English and  "Daikon Yakusha" in Japanese.
Yakusha means actor/actress. The reason that the term of daikon is applied to poorness of performance is because no one will ever get sick to eat daikon. (In Japanese, not to get sick by food poisoning and not to become hit have the same pronunciation as "Ataranai".)

"Cut daikon by Masamune" is another Japanese proverb, meaning giving a crappy job to a talented person. (Masamune is one of the most noted samurai sword in Kamakura period in Japan.) I do not think daikon is crappy vegetable, though.

Daikon is inextricable part of Japanese life.

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