When most of us think of ramen noodles, we think of the instant rubbish that is made from the cheapest ingredients and produces the cheapest meal we can find. University student survival food. This is unfortunate. Real ramen is a delight. It should be on everyone’s list of Foods to Try Before You Die. While in Kyoto, I ate some excellent curry ramen from a shop downstairs from my hosts home. We placed our orders from a vending machine and gave our tickets to the cooks. After a few minutes of mysterious hand movements and magic noodle wizardry, our meals we produced. Fresh, healthy(ier) and delicious. One more tick, off the food bucket list.
About 1,000 years ago, some Japanese soldiers were attacked while boiling soybeans for their horses. They quickly stuffed the beans into straw bags and when they finally got around to unpacking them a few days later, they had fermented. The soldiers ate them anyway. Thus, the beginnings of natto.
Today, natto is made by fermenting soybeans with Bacillus subtilis. The fermentation process creates a slimy, stringy texture and rather pungent, stinky cheese like odour. This stuff is awesome. I was warned by my couchsurfing host in Kyoto to avoid getting any on fabrics as it is difficult to remove. I believe you and heed your warning.
I don’t know if it is easy to acquire outside of Japan, but if you find some, it is worth a try.
Sorbet can be traced back as far as 3000 B.C.E. Somewhere in Asia, some crazy geniuses were mixing crushed fruit with ice. A bit later in Egypt, pharaohs offered their guests fruit juices mixed with ice to beat the heat. Later still, fine cuisine loving Italians used sorbet as a palate cleanser in between courses. Eventually, it morphed into the gorgeous, healthier-cousin-of-ice-cream it is today. I would like to thank everyone involved. You personally helped get this spoonful of grapefruit sorbet into my mouth.