[Wanderlust Tips August 2019] When autumn falls, it makes its mark on every street corner. Trees adorned with a mixture of deep sparkling red and yellow, a gentle breeze stirring up the fallen leaves and an early frost, chilly enough to have you yearning for a warm drink by a cosy open fire. There is no need to hurry on such a clear autumn morning. Just sit and watch the world go by whilst sipping a cup of hot tea and leisurely devouring delicious, local delicacies on your balcony. Feel your senses come alive with the sights, sounds, smells and flavours of autumn.
JAPANESE FRIED MAPLE LEAVES
In Japan, autumn food is diverse and abundant with an array of signature delectable dishes such as Matsutake, grilled Sanma (or saury), Oden hotpot, pumpkin pie, ripe persimmon and sweet potato. Nevertheless, the most notable dish has got to be the fried maple leaves. In the land of the rising sun, falling maple leaves not only make the autumn landscape more romantic but also make for a unique, aromatic and crispy dish.
People often think that this maple leaf dish is simple and easy to cook, but it actually takes around one year to make this typical autumn snack. Firstly, people have to collect the leaves. Not all maple leaves can be used to cook and the Japanese only choose the leaves from certain locations to ensure cleanliness. Additionally, only the yellow maple leaves are selected as they are soft, easy to eat, and their yellow colour still remains unchanged after the process, making the dish more eye-catching. Next, each leaf is soaked in salt and left in a big tank for a year. Afterwards, people will remove the maple leaves from the tanks that had been prepared from the previous season, cut off the stalks and then wash them with water to remove any remaining salt from the leaves. Finally, the leaves are dipped in tempura that is sweetened with sugar and sesame and they are then fried until golden brown.
After this process, the cakes still retain the natural shape and colour of the maple leaves, a delicacy enjoyed by many foodies. Strolling along the peaceful Japanese streets awash with signature autumnal colours, whilst enjoying a piece of crispy fried maple leaf is indeed a wonderful and unforgettable experience.
DRIED PERSIMMON A STAPLE AUTUMNAL SNACK IN KOREA
The ripe and succulent persimmons are signals of autumn arriving in Korea, and it is the best time for you to taste the signature dried fruit. The unique yet attractive dish will definitely give you a feel for the land famed for its kimchi.
Making delicious dried persimmons is not easy because the process requires many sophisticated stages.
Ripe persimmons are picked, peeled and hung up for about 2 months until they have dried. Next, the persimmons have to be dried out again at a high temperature before being finished. Korean dried persimmons are often served with tea. The tea’s mild acrid taste blends with the sweet fragrance of the persimmons, making the autumn days more pleasant.
PORCINI MUSHROOMS THE ITALIAN DELICACY IN AUTUMN
Italy is the most charmingly beautiful country in the world, so autumn here not only boasts a stunningly spectacular landscape but also brings an assortment of beautifully flavourful dishes. In particular, you have to try Porcini mushrooms, this delicacy is only available in autumn and and does not appear again in winter. Because of the fleetingness of the seasonal ingredients, Porcini mushrooms play an important role in Italian meals and they are certainly made the most of in the autumn.
Italians encourage everyone to try Porcini mushrooms whether they like mushrooms or not because of their exquisite taste. Porcini has a peculiar aroma, and you can feel their subtle flavours melting when devouring this tasty fungus. There is an abundance of Italian Porcini mushroom-infused delicacies that are not to be missed such as stir-fried mushrooms, grilled mushrooms, smooth spaghetti topped with grated mushrooms, and scrumptious Risotto rice with Porcini mushrooms.
Thu Ha | Wanderlust Tips