A life consumed by food. A lifetime consuming food.
Events at Nikkei Place are something I mark on my calendar and look forward to, and the Fall Harvest Fair which took place on October 1st was no exception. Of course, the main reason I am so gung-ho about these fairs is because of the food. For the Fall Fair, I noticed that Nikkei offered more options than on previous occasions.
My sister wanted so badly to join me for the event, but she was only able to attend briefly in the morning. She was thrilled when she noticed the Burnaby newspaper listing the hours of the Fair from ten o’clock to three o’clock. Unfortunately when we arrived at Nikkei Place, we concluded that the newspaper made a misprint. It was about ten thirty when we arrived, we were able to inspect the grounds, taking note that the food vendors were still setting up. One of the tables had food which was packaged and ready for sale, but when we inquired, the girl manning the table advised us that she was not allowed to sell anything before eleven o’clock.
We wandered into the small, on-site grocery store, Suzuya, where we were joined by our friend. My sister had to leave shortly after, before the Fair officially opened. Once again she missed out on another food studded event at Nikkei.
Before the Fair opened a line already began to form for the fresh vegetable sale. Many people were walking out of the make shift market with bags stuffed with daikon, radishes, carrots, and squash. I didn’t have much interest for buying vegetables that day, but the sale definitely drew a crowd.
Among the many items for sale that day was sushi, takoyaki, and yakisoba. I had to be selective about what I ate, because my friend and I obviously would not have been able try everything. One of the items I chose was the pan fried gyoza, which wasn’t homemade, but still enjoyable. I’ve purchased that particular brand of gyoza at T&T before, so I knew they were good. The cabbage in the gyoza gave the dumplings a sweet aromatic element which made them taste authentically Japanese.
Onigiri was one of the items I didn’t get a chance to try at the previous Nikkei event I attended. This time I was there early enough to get a hold of one. The two triangular shaped rice balls bordered with a strip of nori came packaged in a clear plastic container. One of them was tinged purple from the umeboshi which was used to flavour the rice ball. The other rice ball was garnished with a few sesame seeds and shredded nori. Onigiri aren’t usually heavily flavoured, so we had to dip them in a bit of soy sauce. The plain one tasted like… well, rice. But that one was pretty obvious, so it didn’t surprise me. The purple one was speckled with flakes of umeboshi plum and had a hint of shiso.
I also purchased a jar of homemade daikon radish pickles for my sister. I haven’t tried any yet, and I am not sure how I would feel about it. I enjoy most Japanese pickles, but I never liked the pickles they put in sushi. Perhaps I would like daikon radish pickles on their own, rather than in a roll.
After eating, we walked about the grounds, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells. I am always curious about what goes on behind the scenes in the kitchens at Nikkei. The volunteers always do a great job of preparing for the event, and making sure the food tastes great. I noticed on the calendar of events that they will be hosting a Mochitsuki just before the New Year. I hope I will be able to attend that day, because I am really looking forward to trying fresh hand pounded mochi.