Sushi and Beyond: What the Japanese Know About Cooking Paperback – 6 May 2010
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"Booth is one of the sharpest food writers around, and this is essential fare for foodies" (Simon Shaw Mail on Sunday)
"Booth's style is hugely enjoyable...an entertaining guide to the food you should try on a trip to the area" (David Phelan Timeout)
"Booth's descriptions of food made my mouth water. This book is a must for all lovers of Japanese cuisine" (Guardian)
"The reader will learn much about one of the great Cuisines of the world" (Christopher Hirst The Independent)
"He wins you over with his sheer enthusiasm, wide reading and research and he's able to render difficult food processes into digestible bites" (Joseph Woods Irish Times)
A fascinating and hilarious journey through the extraordinary culinary landscape of Japan.
Winner of the Guild of Food Writers Kate Whiteman Award for the best book on food and travel.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story covers almost all the typical cuisine from northern to far southern territory with in-depth insight and abundant experience that even normal Japanese rarely encounter. I found a lot of things, including what is not open to public thru reading this book. I would like to recommend this vivid report which an ordinary Japanese would be unable to notice to those who have interests not merely with Japanese food but with the country itself.
Instead, I got a series of vignettes, too short to offer any significant information which seemed to mainly focus on the author's random thoughts rather than any true, meaningful cultural experiences. Of course, me not liking the author's tone is a personal preference I grant you but one thing I couldn't abide was the author's rudeness in certain situations.
For example, at the beginning of the book, the author says he will try to avoid being offensive towards the Japanese, yet later in the book he goes completely against this as he writes dialogue spoken by a Japanese person using r's instead of l's and vice versa - unnecessary and offensive in my opinion. Another episode that also left a feeling of distaste in my mouth is when the author has lunch with (what he assumes to be) a gay man, and precedes to be completely ignorant and homophobic when he runs away from the man, despite the man kindly paying for his lunch and seemingly interested in what the author has to say. If he was truly gay and romantically interested in the author, the author should have had the decency to state he was straight, married and not interested and continue acting like a civilised person but instead, he lies and runs away as quickly as possible, (using the excuse he wants a second lunch rather than the fact that being in the presence of a gay man makes him uncomfortable).Read more ›
This book is a food travel diary, which is a good thing as it differentiates it from a simple culture/cookbook. Booth seems to have some good credentials when it comes to cooking, as well as a witty writing style and a gaijin-only daring, making his story both fascinating and funny. It covers all of the subjects mentioned above, as well as seaweed, the fish market, MSG, vegetables, ramen, beef, wasabi and regional specialities amongst others. He even manages to visit the best secret restaurant in the whole of Japan.
He also interviews famous chefs, protective farmers and celebrated experts. Every story is a mixture of passion for food, and a touch of sadness, for the loss of interest in traditional Japanese cuisine.
With a base of good research and a dash of humility and humor, Booth manages to both engage and excite the reader... and their tastebuds.
As someone who has worked in professional kitchens he has generally good insight into food, and it is nice to see that he does not get too carried away with the mystique e.g. he also seems to find fugu a fish that is as much valued for its sense of danger as its inherent taste, or lack thereof. On the other hand some of the travel observations seem peculiar - Japanese taxi drivers are unfailingly polite, but many are utterly clueless about finding even straightforward destinations (the stagnant economy has lured many non-professional cabbies into this profession), so his comments here seem strange, or at least very different to my own experiences in Japan. It is also a pity that he writes reverently about an invitation-only kaiseki restaurant that, by definition, few will be able to try.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An engrossing, informative and funny book that makes me want to return to Japan and explore again.Published 4 months ago by ihenders
Fantastic book. Great humour and ideal for an insight into Japanese foodie culture.Published 6 months ago by L. H. Kilmister
I bought this after seeing NHK cartoon, and so it wasn't quite what I expected. Nevertheless I enjoyed it a lot and it is very informative and eye opening. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Jk
If you like Japan, If you like Japanease food you must read this book. It's amezing, it's awesomePublished 21 months ago by carlyle