Eight years ago Taka had an IT-job and was living in the area of Tokyo. He had been looking for a new adventure and decided to leave for Europe. Since October last year this somewhat shy, but very nice guy is living in Amsterdam and opened the one and only onigiri shop in town. As of March he makes and sells the Japanese version of a sandwich: snacks made from salted white rice formed into triangular or cylinder shapes and wrapped in seaweed. ‘Unlike sushi we eat onigiri on a daily basis. It’s great if you need a little bite on the go. Onigiri are ready to eat; no additions needed. You can carry them with you and have nibbles during the day.’ How convenient, no? Luckily these daily fresh snacks are tasty too. I tried the ones with salmon, tuna mayo and wasabi and really liked them: perfectly cooked sticky rice with pure fillings – more fish than I expected. Say bye bye to your usual slices of bread for lunch and have 2 onigiri and a bowl of miso soup instead.
Onigiri Ya Onigiri, one, €1.50 – €2.80
Ferdinand Bolstraat 37, South (De Pijp)
Opening hours: Monday noon-10pm, Wednesday-Sunday noon-10pm
Succulent chunks of ultra-fresh Norwegian Salmon wrapped in sticky rice. Salmon roe that ‘explodes’ in your mouth, while splashing salty drops that go perfectly with the sweet salmon and crab stick. Some soy sauce, ginger and wasabi and there it is: a perfectly balanced culinary sensation also know as one of the futomaki rolls of ii Japanese deli. This welcoming deli/restaurant/shop is a branch of Take-Ya, the renowned Japanese food spot in Amstelveen. Besides different types of sushi the Amsterdam branch has homemade salmon-tofu burgers, yakitori (chicken satay), noodle dishes, a stunning salad of marinated salmon and lovely greens: pieces of lotus roots, a spicy seaweed salad. The cook uses Japanese seaweed for his chuka wakame instead of the commonly used Thai and Taiwanese seaweed. Why? Because Japanese seaweed is softer and doesn’t contain artificial colourings or flavourings! The Japanese delicacies this dedicated man makes deserve a wine to match: the Cuvée Gyotaku of Domaine Mittnacht (Alsace). This dry white wine – both floral and aromatic – is a creation of Yuka, a Japanese chef and the wife of winemaker Christophe Mittnacht. Her invention is the ultimate gift for Japanese food aficionados.
ii Japanese Deli Futomaki fresh salmon, fish roe and crab, 4 pieces, € 7.80 (takeout)
Cornelis Krusemanstraat 11, South
+31 (0) 20 470 73 10
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday noon-9pm