Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Panoramic dining in the Hakone region of Japan


Dinner at the Mount View Hotel in Japan was one of the few times I’ll need to use the panoramic feature on my camera to capture a meal (photo above). At this hotel, a fixed menu dinner and breakfast were included in our room price, with meals taken in shifts in a large dining room that had seats for about 50 people in a reconfigurable group of low tables. Perhaps for logistical purposes, they serve almost everything at once, so when we arrived in the dining hall, our table for nine was covered with scores of dishes (the next photo below).

To the best of my memory, the meal consisted of a hot pot of dashi in which we cooked sweet potato, burdock root, konnyaku, meat, tofu, green onion; maki-sushi filled with cucumber, egg and fish; an apple stuffed with a scallop-studded tofu custard; cooked fish topped with daikon and mushroom; daikon-wrapped crab rolls; a few pieces of sashimi and nigari-sushi; salmon eggs and daikon; vegetable and prawn tempura; some kind of vegetable-tofu-rice cake in broth. At the end of the savory portion of the meal, we had a bowl of miso soup, rice and pickles (tsukemono). Dessert was a small cube of lightly-flavored chocolate custard and pieces of persimmon. The number of dishes was a bit over the top, in my opinion, but the overall quantity of food was not outrageous. I was full, but not overly stuffed. For the most part, the quality was good, the flavors interesting.

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Breakfast was a similarly lavish affair (pictured in the photos below). Again, the table was loaded with food when we arrived, and there was also an area for rice, congee, pickles, and grilled fish on one end of the room. The pre-set portion of the meal had a variety of warm, cold and room temperature items, both savory and sweet. For good or bad, our table was not graced with the ultra-healthy and polarizing delicacy of natto, which I have somehow never tried despite almost ten visits to Japan (I'll try it next time! Unless the local soy specialists at Hodo Soy Beanery start making it...).

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1 comment:

Timothy said...

mmmm, appetizing post. i miss japan and japanese food! hakone is beautiful, but i was never lucky enough to have a spread like that there.