Skip to main content

Green Tea Heaven

Amazing how people living in the new millennium can still believe  heaven  still exists in the sky somewhere.  I could be dead wrong, but I'm pretty certain that heaven exists here on earth too, even on a plantation in a gigantic tea field.


In my previous post I wrote a little bit about my tea picking experience in the tea capital of Japan.  This post will be a continuation of that.   After tea picking on the plantation we headed over to a restaurant called Maruobara, which is located directly on the premises. Here we were able to enjoy dishes that were made using the same tea we were picking. The restaurant only opens for lunch, which is from 11 to 2:30. There is no breakfast or dinner menu.

After being seated we were immediately served a complimentary appetizer of tempura tea leaves, some cold tea, and a small bottle of nihonshu - I ordered the nihonshu. The sake is called "Kihei" and it's a Nama-Chozo-Shu, which basically means that it was stored after brewing like a Nama without pasteurization and then only pasteurized once before being shipped out. Shu just means sake.

Basically, this is just a more refined "nama" type sake and since it's from Okayama Prefecture it gets high marks in my book, mainly because of that prefecture's delicious water and rice. Need I also note Okayama has gorgeous women.

Sake and green tea leaf tempura. After dipping the tea leaf tempura in green tea salt and eating it, I almost cried tears of joy, j/k. It was just so delicious. The soft and elegant refinement of the Kihei coupled with the greenish(ness) of the aromatic bitterness of the tea's natural flavors crunching in my mouth was just beyond my comprehension! It was just simply the finest tempura I have ever eaten in my life.

Tea Tempura Recipe:


1) Picked green tea (cut into halves)

2) Dried shrimp(sakura ebi): As much as you like.

3) Onion 1/2

4) Flour ( Tenpura-Ko): 1 cup.

5) Cold water 1 cup

6) Cooking oil: a lot( 1/2 a pan)

How to cook:

1) Thinly slice the onion

2) Make batter: mix cold water and flour.

3) Mix batter, tea shrimp and onion.

4) Ladle out 3, and dip into cooking oil slowly(pre-heated to 170 degrees C / 340 degrees F

5) When it floats, poke it with long chopsticks several times to sink it(*don't flip it over!).

Cooking Hint--To produce a crispy finish

1) Check the oil temperature

2) Don't over-beat the batter mix

3) Fry only enough at one time to cover about half the surface of oil in order to allow the ingredients to move freely.

4) It is important to keep the oil temperature constant while frying.

5) Use all purpose flour( not flour for bread). In Japan, they sell special flour for tempura ( tempura-ko), it is easy to deep-fry.

This was my spread. I was surprised to see three peanuts in the middle in the gold tray. Now I know that the most famous brand of peanuts are grown in Yachimata in Chiba Prefecture, way up near Tokyo-to, in the Greater Tokyo Area near the Boso Peninsula, but in Shizuoka...? Well, come to find out, the Shizuokans enjoy a variety of dishes with peanuts, too.

The unique flavor of standard peanuts, or groundnuts, served here were of a wet consistency, not like in America where they're dry. The outer shell on these nuts just fell right off with hardly any finger effort as if they were marinated in some kind of sake or fruit marinade. On the table there were wild vegetables with green tea leaves mixed in together, green tea noodles, green tea gelatin, green tea topped rice. It was a really nice green tea experience.

My partner had something similar also but was a hodge-podge of different things jumbled together. This bowl measured about 11 by 12 inches, so it was pretty big for just one person.

Everything was just delicious and tasty. We finished off with some homemade green tea ice cream and a dried fig.

I almost forgot to mention the anmitsu.   A type of fruit and bean dessert with green tea gelatin.  Nice!

All-an-all, the trip was really nice. The staff even drove us back to the station where we continued our journey, but this time back to Shizuoka city for an unagi ( eel )dinner. I will blog about in the next post.

The price was reasonable and the service was timely and excellent. One other really nice thing was that the waitress explained everything about the food to us. She just didn't put the food down and leave. It was a really nice experience.

Popular posts from this blog

Shin-Okubo: Little Korea

So I finally got around to going up there to Shin-Okubo,  the land of Seoul via the Yamanote Line.  Been putting this trip off for years for personal reasons;  I am not a fan of Hanlleyu.      I knew why I came up this way, and for none other reason than the food, and maybe to bask in the nausea of Korean romanticist who steal Japanese Jukujo's souls.    But honestly, I like spicy food and stews and pickled vegetables that challenge my taste buds.    I also love the little funky cafes that line the main thoroughfares and alley ways, each with their own little eclectic menus and interior decor.     This place is Korea.  

Shin-Okuba represents more than just a place to relish in Korean culinary delights and K-pop culture, but a place where Koreans can express themselves through their culture.    You can feel the local vibe in the air as you're walking down narrow walkways and footpaths.    I have personally been to mainland Korea six times, so a lot of the nostalgia was there …

August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, especially  in places like Tohoku and Kanto regions.  August is also  the most contentious month of the year in Japan; with the end of the war and war-related guilt.    Then there's the great exodus back home for millions of Japanese.   Obon season is what it's called in Japan, and it's  where families return to their hometowns to remember their ancestors and to spend time with loved ones.  Gravestones are visited, cleaned, and washed; rice or alcohol is often placed on  miniature altars next to a  headstone.  This is a way for Japanese to reconnect with their roots; a way for them to stay grounded and founded in the ways of tradition and cultural protocol.   

For the foreign tourist, some places will be overcrowded and expensive to reach; for Japanese, this is normal and can't be helped.   Wherever you go there will be lines and h…

Japan Board of Education: Amazing Grace...?

Japan Board of Education Textbook.
Amazing Grace
Shuken Shuppan  Polestar textbook English Communication

Preface:  Japanese / Japan is  one of the leading donors in humanitarian aid around the world.   They have donated billions of yen to charities, developing countries, and startup business to just about every country on the globe.  Some Japanese have even taken matters to the extreme  to the point of poking their noses into hotspot areas like Palestine and Isreal, things the Japanese may want to avoid.  Had Japan shared its borders with an ethnic minority with its own government, the relative peace and calm of this country would be questionable.   No other country can be like nor emulate Japan.   So, where does this spirit of charity and altruism come from exactly?   Why do the Japanese feel they need to save the whole world, while caring very little for its own people?   It's the Board of Education...?  The essay below is one such example of what Japanese kids learn in school,…