Traditional Japan: Food and Travel Documentaries

 

  1. ANTHONY BOURDAIN VISITS JAPAN WITH MASA TAKAYAMA [PARTS UNKNOWN, CNN, S08E06]

“Anthony Bourdain visits the home of chef Masa Takayama's dear friend for a dinner cooked over a traditional Japanese sunken hearth, or ‘irori.’“

Two food legends, New York’s world-famous sushi chef Masa Takayama and the late, great Anthony Bourdain, travel to Japan to explore the cooking techniques and traditions of Masa’s upbringing.

Watch the full episode on Netflix Ireland here.


2. CARP FISH ARE “UNUSUAL KITCHEN HELPERS” [WILD JAPAN, NAT GEO WILD, 2015]

“As the water flows through the villages, there are some uniquely Japanese ways of keeping the water pure.”

National Geographic explores the kabata system, small separate rooms that are used as a kitchen spaces in households that use koi and carp fish to naturally clean food waste. Practiced in small rural Japanese villages, the tradition is dying out in favour of modern kitchens - but some houses maintain this unique relationship with their “unusual kitchen helpers.”


3. NIKI NAKAYAMA - TRAILER [CHEF’S TABLE, NETFLIX, 2015]

“In her award-winning Los Angeles restaurant N/Naka, Niki Nakayama brings equal parts creativity, passion and expertise to her kaiseki cuisine.”

Chef’s Table explores the journey of Niki Nakayama, pioneering head chef of the acclaimed restaurant n/naka in Los Angeles, who went back to Japan to learn to cook. As outlined in this New Yorker article on Nakayama, “When n/naka opened, it may have been the only kaiseki restaurant run by a woman in any country.” Watch the full hour on Netflix Ireland here.


4. DAVID CHANG MAKES TRADITIONAL YAKITORI [MIND OF A CHEF, PBS, 2012]

“Dishes in this episode are deceivingly simple; Chang travels to Japan for some Yakitori and high-end sushi, and his pal Daniel Patterson makes beets.”

Founder of the international Momofuku restaurant chain, and main personality behind Netflix’s food travel show Ugly Delicious, David Chang heads to Japan and shows us how to make yakitori over charcoal in PBS’ Mind of a Chef.


5. Samin Nosrat and ‘the soy sauce whisperer’ [salt fat acid heat, netflix, 2018]

“Yasu forever changed the way I think about soy sauce! I'll never look at it the same way again. Less than 1% of all soy sauce is made this way, in 100-year-old barrels that are quickly going out of production. So grateful to have experienced this.”

Samin Nosrat (chef, writer, acclaimed food travel documentary personality of Salt Fat Acid Heat) explores how soy sauce is traditionally made with “the Soy Sauce Whisperer” Yasuo Yamamoto on the “Salt” episode. Watch the full episode on Netflix Ireland here.


6. UNDERWATER HARVESTING OF SEAWEED [WILD JAPAN, BBC EARTH, 2015]

“Farmers have a clever way of harvesting seaweed: sucking it up.”

BBC Earth documents a unique form of farming: underwater harvesting of seaweed off the coast of Japanese islands, requiring an elaborate system of boating, scuba diving and a high-tech sucking device to retrieve the vital crop.


7. THE BIRTH OF SAKE (TRAILER) [2016]

“The Birth of Saké Official Trailer 1 (2016) - Documentary HD Through the unrelenting winter in the north of Japan, a small group of workers must brave unusual working conditions to bring to life a 2,000-year-old tradition known as sake.”

From the official documentary website: “The Birth of Saké is a cinematic documentary that reveals the story of passionate saké-makers and what it takes to make world-class saké at Yoshida Brewery, a 144-year-old family-owned small brewery in northern Japan.” Find out more and where to watch the full movie at www.birthofsake.com.