"Where does life begin? Shelf life doesn't have answers to the big metaphysical questions, but we've got a handle on some of the smaller items. Take, for examples, these unique Asian-inspired condiments, which were conceived in a tiny retail space in Toronto. Abokichi owners Jess Mantell and Fumi Tsukamoto started off selling rice balls known as onigiri in Japan, as common and as beloved as pizza slices, and expanded in to other casual foods. Along the way, they perfected a mashed-up concoction to go with the rice, made of sesame oil, miso paste, fried garlic and onion, and spices. Customers started buying the condiment, dubbed Okazu, and found new uses for it: on eggs, burgers, sandwiches, steak, chicken, pasta and vegetables. And so a star was born, in two flavours: Chili and Curry. The Chili version has a lovely crunch from the sesame and onions and the perfectly blended spices confer an instant hit of of irresistible umami.
When I think about introducing Japanese food to North America, I was always wonder why curry-pan is not here yet, in a major way. Most of the street-styled Japanese food, such as ramen, karaage, okonomiyaki, takoyakihave similar attributes. It contains high fat, strong UMAMI and sometimes it is rich in carbohydrates.
Before coming back to Canada I stayed in Tokyo for several days as I wanted to try some activities, and one of them was staying in a capsule hotel because I thought the experience to be very much like Japan!