CHIBA OFFERS DELICACIES FROM LAND AND SEA
Mild Climate and Fertile Farmland Make for Rich Pickings
(December 4, 2007)
Chiba Prefecture, population 6.1 million, lies just east of Tokyo and occupies a large peninsula lapped by the Pacific Ocean to the South and East and Tokyo Bay to the West. The region is blessed with a mild climate and rich, fertile expanses of farmland, making it one of Japan's most prolific regions of agricultural production. The values of Chiba's leek, daikon radish, and spinach harvests are the highest in Japan. The waters around Chiba are also teeming with sea life, producing a mouthwatering harvest that yields the nation's top haul of spiny lobster, as well as bountiful catches of sardines and bonito.
A Feast for the Eye and the Palate
People across Japan are fond of makizushi (sushi roll) which generally comes in two sizes, large futomakizushi and thin hosomakizushi. Makizushi is made by placing cooked white rice mixed with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt on nori (a sheet of dried laver). Thin cucumber sticks, tuna, or other fillings are then placed in the center of the rice, and the nori and rice are rolled around the fillings.
Chiba-style futomakizushi is made by laying down a sheet of nori or a thin layer of omelet, over which is spread cooked white rice. Then reddish or pink rice that has been colored with red shiso (beefsteak leaf) and umezu (plum vinegar) is laid over the white rice, along with kanpyo (dried gourd strips) flavored with soy sauce or sweet rice wine. Popular fillings include asari no tsukudani (Manila clams simmered in soy sauce, sweet rice wine, and sugar), shiitake mushrooms, and green vegetables. The fillings are arranged in a uniform way over the length of the roll so that when it is cut, each slice has the same appearance.
Futomakizushi can be made so that when cut, the fillings reveal vivid patterns including seasonal flowers, animals, kanji characters, cartoon characters, or even people's faces. Skilled futomakizushi artisans in Chiba are able to create designs of almost anything. Fun as well as tasty, futomakizushi is a food of celebration that brings joy to many people.
Paradise for Peanut Lovers
Bringing Soy Sauce to the World
Today, Chiba is Japan's top soy-sauce-producing prefecture. Modern soy sauce production facilities in Chiba continue to make their sauce with soy beans that are slowly fermented and aged to give them a deep, rich flavor and a distinctive fragrance. Kikkoman Corporation, with a history of soy sauce production that spans nearly 400 years beginning in the Edo era, calls the city of Noda in Chiba Prefecture its home. Kikkoman is now known all over the world, and soy sauce from the company is exported to over 100 countries.
Copyright (C)2007 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.