Miso Hungry Podcast with Allison & Rachael
This is part 2 of our interview with Rachael Hutchings and Allison Day, collectively the dynamic duo that powers the mighty Miso Hungry Podcast.
Rachael Hutchings is a wife and mother to two girls, a relentless gourmet cook, a prolific blogger, and a hard-core foodie. She prepares a whole lot of Japanese foods and blogs about them on www.lafujimama.com, sharing her recipes and tips and tantalizing photos in the process.
Allison Day is a sushi sister, a professional programmer, longtime ballet lover and somewhat of a physics nerd. She’s been writing about sushi for six years now on her www.sushiday.com website.
Go there after you read this interview, and you’ll be able to read about all manner of wacky sushi rolls, her recent trip to Japan, interviews, recipes and a lot more. Buy a funny t-shirt while you’re there.
Let’s get on with the interview now, since we found it impossible to cut short. We simply wanted the readers to be aware that these two sushi sisters are absolutely the dream team of sushi podcasting. Here’s how the rest of this interview went down.
SushiPRO: Tell us about a great Japanese meal you’ve eaten and where was it?
Rachael: One of my favorite meals was a bit of Japanese-French fusion, in Tokyo near Shibuya Station, and its called Kaikaya By The Sea. The restaurant does everything seasonally, the focus is on seafood, and it’s really more Japanese than French.
One of my favorite things they do is tuna ribs. The fish is so tender that it basically melts in your mouth, served in a light soy sauce broth with shredded leaks on it. It is incredible! Every time we go back to Tokyo we have at least one meal at Kaikaya just for the ribs.
SushiPRO: They serve it on the bone like beef or pork ribs?
Rachael: Yes they serve it on the bone.
SushiPRO: Any plans for Japanese girl’s day?
Allison: We’re definitely planning to talk about it.
Rachael: Yes, that’s been on our radar since we recorded the first episode. We’ll definitely be talking about the various food traditions. We might have to get together and do a mini Girls Day with my girls. What do you think Allison?
Allison: I think that’s an excellent idea.
SushiPRO: Is that a big event in your house Rachael?
Rachael: It’s starting to get bigger. My girls are young; my oldest is five and the baby is three. So it’s picking up. This past Christmas was the first where they were really into it, and so I’m thinking it’ll be the same for Girls Day this year.
SushiPRO: Are there any plans to cover any of the not so happy topics? I mean things like disaster relief, whaling, bluefin tuna, etc.
Allison: Definitely. Whenever it’s appropriate we’ll be talking about stuff like that. We’re thinking about doing a show around a book somebody is releasing soon which covers Japanese disaster relief, so we intend to talk about that.
Rachael: It’s Elizabeth Andoh, she has an e-book coming out at the end of this month, and it’s called Kibo, and it’s stories and recipes from the Tōhoku region. And all the proceeds are going to relief aid.
SushiPRO: What’s the most unusual Japanese food you’ve eaten?
Rachael: That’s easy for me. I ate a couple of specialties from the Nagano region. One’s called zazamushi, which is stonefly larvae, and the other one is hachinoko which is black wasp larvae.
Editor’s note: see the photos in this post (scroll to bottom of post)
Allison: I’ve eaten weird stuff in Vietnam, but I don’t think I’ve ever had anything that weird in Japanese cuisine.
Rachael: I think you have to try a bit harder to have something weird in Japan. Because things may be unfamiliar, but it’s not weird like things in Southeast Asia.
SushiPRO: Have you eaten fugu?
Allison: We’re going to have to do an episode about this.
Rachael: Except we can’t prepare it ourselves.
SushiPRO: Have you been to Tsujiki Market in Tokyo?
Rachael: Oh yeah. And anytime we had anyone visit, we went again. So we’ve been many times.
SushiPRO: Are either of you big sake fans?
Allison: I don’t think either of us drink alcohol.
SushiPRO: Are either of you Iron Chef Japan fans?
Rachael: I fell in love with the Japanese one. It’s just so entertaining.
SushiPRO: So who was your favorite chef?
Rachael: Chen Kenichi
SushiPRO: Favorite street food?
Allison: That’s a hard one, I’d have to say probably okonomiyaki.
Rachael: I would have to agree, with takoyaki being a close second.
Allison: Yes, a very close second.
SushiPRO: Favorite type ramen or favorite place to get it?
Allison: I love tonkotsu ramen, and there’s a place near me in Gardena, California called Ramen Mottainai and they’re delicious. Also Shin-Sen-Gumi hakata ramen in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles.
But in Japan there’s this place called Bassanova. Keizo from the blog “Go Ramen” works there. I think he manages the place now. And they have this green curry ramen that I am obsessed with. It’s so good, and I’m so sad that I can’t get it here.
SushiPRO: Is that green curry as in Thai green curry?
Allison: Yes I think so. It’s spicy but it’s so addictive.
Rachael: My favorite is tantanmen ramen at Manrikiya, which is spicy ramen. And my favorite ramen place in Tokyo is Azabu-juban. And I have not found a place here in the US that I like for tantanmen.
Allison: I think we need to do a ramen research trip.
Rachael: I like that idea.
SushiPRO: Rachael, do your kids like Japanese food as much as you?
Rachael: They love Japanese food. In fact my oldest is probably a good part of the reason why we eat it as much as we do. When we moved back to the states, she kind of went on a hunger strike, and I realized it was because everything was just a little bit too new for her. She started eating as soon as I stocked the pantry with her familiar favorites. Her tastes definitely encourage me to continue cooking Japanese food.
SushiPRO: What is your favorite sushi?
Allison: That’s really hard. If we’re talking about rolls, I really like tuna and avocado. There’s also a few that I make really often — I do a tempura shrimp with avocado and green onion which is pretty popular. It’s also very good if you add bacon. I make that a lot for potlucks, or for my family.
I also make a spicy shrimp inari quite often. That’s just an easy and quick. If I need something for dinner and don’t know what to make, I’ll make that just because it’s filling, it’s good, it’s delicious.
Rachael: I love sashimi. I really love toro sashimi, and I love uni genkan maki.
SushiPRO: You just published your show about uni. Are there any other topics you’ve decided on that you’re not afraid to announce to the whole world right now?
Allison: Well we’re recording a chocolate episode for next week, since Valentines Day is coming up.
Rachael: Then next week aren’t we recording an octopus episode?
Allison: Yes we are.
SushiPRO: What did you eat for dinner last night?
Allison: It was my boyfriend’s Dad’s birthday, so we went out to Ichikawa Shabu Fondue and Sushi, a hotpot place.