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  • Nara Street Food Guide

  • ONLY in JAPAN

  • So here we are in Nara

  • to eat some street food

  • and joining me in this report is Kevin Riley

  • Yeah! Back again for some more food!

  • Why are we here? What makes Nara so special?

  • Most people com to see the deer.

  • Right! The deer.

  • They're everywhere.

  • People come here to see Todaiji.

  • Right.

  • And the goat Buddha inside there.

  • and also this used to be the old capitol.

  • Right this used to be the old capitol

  • now it's Tokyo but

  • centuries and centuries ago it used to be Nara.

  • Yup! There's a lot of history here.

  • and I go hiking around here

  • and you go up to the hill and there are Buddha carvings

  • that are like 1200 years old

  • paintings in the caves

  • it's just a really cool old place.

  • It hasn't really changed.

  • One of the things I love about Nara is that

  • it's a very natural place

  • with lots of hiking trails

  • lots of trees, lots of nature around

  • and lots of street food! Street Food!

  • That's what we're here for.

  • Now you're talking! Let's go!

  • Nara is located in Japan's Kansai region sort of between Kyoto and Osaka.

  • The old capitol area sit at the fringe of forested hills

  • loaded with temples and shrines.

  • The other side is urban and well settled.

  • Todaiji with the great buddha is hard to miss.

  • The path leading to it and Nara Station is where you'll find some unique street food.

  • Kevin and I start with this,

  • a yakiimo or grilled sweet potato cart smoking like mad.

  • The inside barrel is hot,

  • loaded with sweet potatoes.

  • This is one of Japan's most traditional street foods.

  • The price here lists 200 yen per 100 gram

  • but the final price depends on the total weight served.

  • Half a yakiimo was 250 grams or 500 yen.

  • A little pricy but on a cool morning like today,

  • it's worth it.

  • Look at that thing steaming, waiting for someone to take a bite.

  • As we took our first bites, we were joined by one of Nara's residents,

  • the deer

  • This is when things got out of control.

  • It's very hot

  • This lady makes it using an old grill which is ...

  • I didn't even have a proper bite and the deer

  • is already claiming ownership!

  • Deer 1, Humans 0

  • You have to eat it fast and not because it may get cold.

  • The deer!

  • They can sense food from far away distances

  • and they'd do anything to eat something better than tourist trampled grass.

  • Tactics range from flirting and nudging to all out grabbing and biting!

  • Did you give it to the deer? No!!

  • He just took it!

  • The taste: sweeter than the normal potato which makes eating it grilled perfect!

  • The skin is tough but tasty,

  • a little bitter from the charring

  • and an awesome contrast to the soft sweet potato inside.

  • By the station is Nakatanidou a shop that specializes in the ancient art of mochi making.

  • Really, this place needs no introduction.

  • Hai!

  • Mochi must be pounded when hot and speed is critical.

  • Any cooling changes the taste and texture.

  • The art has been passed down from ancient times

  • and Nakatani-san learned this speedy method from

  • his village Kamikitayama in the Nara countryside.

  • The pounders continually dip the mallets in water

  • to keep the mochi moist and to keep it from sticking.

  • The team moves quickly to the next step where it will be turned fast by hand

  • to maintain good consistency throughout.

  • You can see how stretchy it is, the mark of excellent quality mochi.

  • Speedy slapping and pounding with fast turns is the last part.

  • One last collission for good measure

  • and it's throw into the machine where azuki red bean paste from Hokkaido

  • is put in the middle of that mochi rice from Saga prefecture.

  • There you are. Thank you very much!

  • All ingredients are from very natural in Japan

  • Order for 3! Got it!

  • You can buy packs anytime, 3 for 390 yen

  • or one for 130 yen

  • always made fresh although after the show, the mochi is coated in kinako and handed directly to customers.

  • It doesn't get any fresher than this!

  • Thank you very much.

  • Wow! What an experience that was!

  • Wasn't that something?

  • Yeah! It;s still warm.

  • It is! I guess that's from the pounding.

  • and the hot water they use

  • Now it's time to take a bite.

  • You can see that azuki red bean starting to break through ther soft warm mochi.

  • It's green not from green tea

  • this is from yomogi

  • Yomogi which is MUGWART

  • It's a type of grass.

  • Let's give it a taste

  • Let's try it. Bottoms up!

  • Ahhh!

  • Mmm. It's got a good sweetness to it.

  • I like the kink powder around it

  • Yeah! You got the bean paste inside

  • Ooooh yeah! It's very nice.

  • Bean paste baby!

  • The green yomogi adds the perfect bitterness to the sweet azuki bean and mochi texture.

  • Can you imagine living somewhere you didn't get this stuff?

  • No way.

  • This is a MUST TRY on any visit to Nara, but Nara's got more than mochi!

  • Let's go this way!

  • Kevin recommended a famous Nara food just a couple hundred meters away.

  • It's sushi, but it's different.

  • This is KAKI NO HA SUSHI

  • and it's wrapped in a permission leaf.

  • There are several shops around the stations selling it.

  • There are several different kinds of mixed sets.

  • The mackerel is the most famous

  • but Kevin settles on this. Ebi or shrimp with Saba, Sake, and Anago.

  • We unboxed it to see what it came with.

  • Since you can't eat it in,

  • this qualifies as a sort of street food,

  • something people picnic with around Nara Park.

  • wrapped like birthday presents for the stomach!

  • The 8 sushi are packed in tight.

  • Kevin takes it to the street for tasting.

  • All right! Kaki no ha sushi!

  • Looking good! Now, it doesn't look like sushi, does it?

  • But, if you pull these little packages out of here.

  • You unwrap the leaf and

  • Oh!

  • Each one's a little surprise!

  • This one's got EBI

  • SHRIMP!

  • That's sushi

  • but a little taste of the leaf

  • just a little bit

  • a little lemony taste

  • very good

  • Let's see what else Kevin finds

  • So nowum

  • Sticky little thingoh!

  • This is anago

  • Conger eel in English

  • Easy, cheap, filling and delicious!

  • Kaki no ha sushi

  • Back to the deer

  • Here's a massive dorayaki dedicated to the deer for 600 yen.

  • You'll need both hands for the monster!

  • Deer will eat just about anything but one street food in particular

  • was made just for them.

  • Kevin bought a pack for 150 yen.

  • See, Nara's deer are quite important to the city.

  • There are over 1200 deer roaming freely around Nara Park,

  • one of Japan's oldest.

  • Deer were sacred. Killing one was punishable by death until 1637

  • But they lost their sacred status after world war 2

  • and are now designated as national treasures, protected by law.

  • most importantly, they're super cute but still wild animals.

  • You can buy special shika senbei or deer rice crackers

  • nearly everywhere on the street.

  • They drive the deer wild so hide them or prepare to be swarmed!

  • Kevin and I took the stash to the center of the park to see

  • ust how popular we could be with deer society.

  • Was this a passport to popularity with bambi's Japanese cousins?

  • Sure seemed like that.

  • These guys love it obviously

  • They do love it.

  • He's likeoooh, gimme some!

  • We only had a few deer in our area so we decided to take our shika sembei to the center

  • where there were dozens of deer just hanging out.

  • Certainly our new friends here would follow us, right?

  • We have shika senbei!

  • And then againmaybe not.

  • They weren't impressed.

  • We weren't instant celebrities, but with a little time

  • and high profiling those deer rice crackers

  • anyone can eventually be a star in the deer world.

  • We had high society talking about us in no time!

  • But popularity lasts only as long as those senbei.

  • When you're out, you're out.

  • Kevin retired first and I wasn't ready to take on a solo act.

  • Ah, get away from me. This one is violent!

  • This one is violent!

  • One deer turned into a stalker.

  • If I give it to this one, this one gets angry.

  • It's going to him me. Look! It almost hit me again.

  • Look, he's getting angry!

  • This one is reallynotnice.

  • He wants toAH!

  • Then the party was over.

  • With high society days over, we turned to a lower class of food.

  • This is shika no fun or --- yeah, you know. Deer poop.

  • It's not real deer poop

  • Nara is still Kansai after all

  • and Kansai is famous for having an amazing sense of humor

  • It depends which one you're eating!

  • I feel like a deer just pooped in my hand.

  • The taste? Chocolate peanuts.

  • Not bad. Not bad at all.

  • Do you want to compare this to the real thing?

  • Can you tell the difference?

  • Come on, remember your sense of humor!

  • The deerwell, that's a different story.

  • He found our samples very easily without touching any of the real poop

  • Most impressive.

  • Deer 3, Humans 0

  • Oh bot, we ate a lot, isn't we?

  • Oh yeah! All kinds of different stuff.

  • Absolutely!

  • I think what makes this place very different is that

  • these street food stands

  • are located in different parts around the city

  • not located in one place

  • there's one by Todaiji, there's one by the station

  • there's another one on the other side of the park

  • That makes this place

  • you get your exercise

  • You're definitely going to be working off that food

  • you eat. Yeah!

  • And actually there are a lot of nice stuff to see in Nara

  • You knowthere's the deer of course

  • The deer. The sights. The nature around us.[

  • You get to walk around and eat food!

  • Eat food! But you know what? We're not done!

  • There's one more I want to show you.

  • I think I know which one you're talking about.

  • Let's go.

  • No street food epsiode is complete without a trip to the ice cream stand.

  • They had all sorts of flavors. Green Tea, Sakura, chesnut, and a bunch of other mixes.

  • So there you have it.

  • Street food in Nara.

  • Come hungry and be prepared to share with new four legged friends.

  • You're gonna love it.

  • Next time, I'll be on the road for a month traveling from Kyushu to Hokkaido

  • following those cherry blossoms,

  • a route I did back in 2003.

  • I'm going to share the adventure so subscribe,

  • ake sure you click the notification button for updates

  • and look for live streams and loads of new episodes

  • as I make my way north on an adventure of a lifetime.

  • Thank you for the support everyone! See you on the road!

  • Photos available on Instagram: onlyinjapantv

  • If you liked it, hit that subscribe button

  • and watch another one of ONLY in JAPAN's shows.

Nara Street Food Guide

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Nara Street Food Guide w/ Extra Mochi

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    Erina Hagi posted on 2019/11/19