Today, I was fortunate enough to have been asked to appear on one of Japan’s television food networks, and I say fortunate not because I get to be on TV, but because of the life-changing food I consumed during this experience. After all, I’m always on a quest for life-changing food adventures! This episode in which I’m in features a dish that is primarily cooked and consumed in Japan (though it makes appearances in other Asian countries like China): konnyaku a.k.a. devil’s tongue, and here you see why:
Konnyaku is made from that purple tongue-like thing sticking out of the flower, so it’s essentially a plant, making it a vegetable. According to The Telegraph, “Konnyaku is made from the pounded roots of a yam-like plant called konjac. The jelly-like ingredient has almost no calories, no sugar and no fat. It contains 90 per cent water. And much of the remaining 10 per cent is made up of glucomannan – a soluble fibre. Perhaps why, on the island of Okinawa, konnyaku is renowned for “cleaning the stomach”.”
So for the show, the director and reporter said they’d film me as I try a konnyaku dish, after which I’d be interviewed regarding my thoughts and reaction to the dish. I’d tried konnyaku once, and I immediately wasn’t a fan – its texture was just a little too slimy for my liking…
Hence, I felt a little anxious about how I would react. Actually, the thought of this almost deterred me from doing this whole thing! But for the sake of new adventures and being in Japan, I said yes.
This afternoon, the director and reporter picked me up and we voyaged to a beautiful Japanese countryside city called Takahashi, quietly tucked below a valley in the Okayama prefecture (about a 40-minute drive from where I live). This picture does no justice to how the majestic sight took my breath away but here:
When we arrived at Cafe Uraeki – the restaurant where my tasting of the konnyaku dish was filmed – my anticipation began to build, but I was definitely more excited than nervous! It was mostly the thought of being watched on TV that made me nervous – I hate watching myself (ugh, so uncouth haha), but still, I was grateful for this opportunity. The director began to film, and after recording my entrance and “acting” like a foreign customer, this was served:
The konnyaku burger, specialty of Cafe Uraeki. To my sweet, sweet surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed it!!! I was pleased to provide a genuine reaction of goodness on camera!!! The sweet, crispy texture of the seasoned and lightly battered konnyaku combined with the freshness of the other vegetables all held together by the doughy bun convinced me that I needed to come back and order, like, THREE MORE OF THESE! Lucky for me, this one was on the house. I was one happy kid during the interview:
This episode airs on March 19th on channel 6 at 2pm.
Conclusion: I don’t like konnyaku in its organic state, but I certainly enjoy it when it’s all in the mix 🙂
Other shots from today:
The director interviewing the owner of Cafe Uraeki
View from the restaurant
The other person interviewed – Eli – for this episode
I FINALLY got to see a natural bamboo forrest (again pic does no justice to its magnificence)
The director in action
So, if you’re ever in Takahashi, pay Cafe Uraeki a visit and get the konnyaku burger!!! It’s to die for! As for me, I’ll be coming back soon to eat it again, and do some exploring around this quiet little treasure that is Takahashi…
PS: can I just say that it was a dream come true to be interviewed on TV to try bomb diggity food??!!??!! It was a dream I never knew I had, even if it means looking like an awkward, ungraceful ferret!!!!