Monday, November 21, 2005

Izakaya S&T: Exotic Edamame - Chamame

I ate some of the best Japanese food I've had in a long, long time on Friday night. And sorry, I can't give out addresses or phone numbers to this mysterious Izakaya in San Jose, since it's in a private residence... But boy, those lucky few who get to dine there, this is the best izakaya experience once can find... This week will be all about the delicious treats I had this Friday evening at Izakaya S&T.

My Kick-off post sets the stage for how the food at this izakaya goes one step beyond the typical. Even the edamame here was exotic - an heirloom variety I have never had before called 'Cha-mame' or 'Brown peas'.

Although I had forgotten about this one Oishinbo episode for a long, long time, as I was doing some research of this mysterious chamame for this post, I remembered an episode about how an old beer hall manager was about too get fired for serving his VIP client rotten edamame. The protagonist, Yamaoka-san, saves the day by rudely interjecting that the VIP doesn't deserve to eat the brown edamame peas, since the sincerity of the beer hall manager would be wasted on the VIP. It turns out that the edamame was actually the rare and precious chamame. Yes, that's right! The same chamame I had on Friday!

I'm so bummed that I didn't think to check if the chamame actually had brown peas, since I eat my edamame savagely by popping the peas right into my mouth. I've since discovered that it is not the peas themselves but the thin skin covering the seeds that is brown in chamame. Next time, I will make sure to eat my edamame the polite and civilized way - popping the peas out onto a plate, then picking up individual peas via chopsticks...

Although the texture is the same between regular edamame and chamame, the flavors are nothing alike. Chamame have a distinct nuttiness that is lacking in regular edamame as well as a subtle sweetness in the backdrop. As the nutty scent traveled through my nasal cavity with each bite, the fresh, greeness of edamame spread in my mouth. This surely was nothing like any other edamame I have ever had!

I've got a whole lot more exciting dishes to report this week, all with the same spirit of going 'one-step further', so stay tuned!


The Papa Bear said...

I'd starve if I had to pick up the beans individually off of the plate! :)

The chamame has a wonderful fragrance, though. I kept asking whether it was a natural fragrance or not because it really smelled like tea (and, hence the name).

The Papa Bear said...

Ah, The Baby Bear just informed me that the tea fragrance had nothing to do with the name. I guess I make "leaps of meaning" with my limited Japanese from time to time.