Oshogatsu Japanese New Years Food (Osechi Ryori) - New Years Post #3

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Japanese New Year's Oshogatsu Food
Happy New Year!

If I were living in Japan, I would be recovering from a marathon cooking session right now. New years tradition calls for cooking mounds of special foods that last three days. It is all beautiful and have special meanings. New Years is the big holiday in Japan and the country shuts down for a week as people travel to visit family.

Just a note: I'm a 2 1/2 generation Japanese American. My dad's parents came from Okinawa, and my dad was born in California. My mom was born and raised in Okinawa and came to Los Angeles when she was 24 years old. Unfortunately, I don't know any Japanese except for perhaps the greeting yelled at you in a sushi restaurant (irashiamase = welcome).

Well, I've never cooked the News Years feast...and neither has my mother! It's like Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner and a New Years Party all thrown in one.

Japanese New Year's Oshogatsu Food
So.... um, my family buys the food at Nijiya Market, a Japanese grocery store, and eats it along with guacamole and chips during the bowl games! Yeah, that is the Japanese AMERICAN part. :)

On a trip to Japan, my friend and I went to a village filled with ceramic shops. It was heaven. Rows and rows of studios and stores. (Remember that Yuko?) I picked up this three-tier ceramic container.

Japanese New Year's Oshogatsu Food
Scallops, shrimp and shiitake mushrooms.

Japanese New Year's Oshogatsu Food
Konbu (seaweed) wrapped around fish. Cooked carrot, bamboo shoots, burdock (gobo) root, yam cake, and sato imo (very starchy potato) in a soy sauce/sugar mixture.

Japanese New Year's Oshogatsu Food
Sekihan (sticky rice made with red azuki beans) and a California roll. We always have some sushi and sashimi.

There are a bunch of other foods you should make and eat. Including fish cakes (kamaboku), soba (buckwheat) noodles that symbolize long life, beans symbolizing good health and herring roe for fertility. You can read more about Japanese New Years here and here.

Whew! That was probably way more than you ever wanted to know about Japanese and Japanese American New Years traditions and food! Happy New Year everyone! I'll be back to baking as soon as I feel better!
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Snooky doodle said... [Reply to comment]

wow how many nice dishes ! interesting reading about japanese and American :)

Mallory Elise said... [Reply to comment]

oh those are beautiful! i've always been in love with little japanese lunch boxes--many different little things all in one small little container, beautiful photo! Shinnen omedetou gozaimasu

Mary Ann said... [Reply to comment]

All of this looks very good to me. How fun to have so many traditions and to be able to share them with your family. Happy New Year!

The Blonde Duck said... [Reply to comment]

Happy new year! I hope you feel well soon!

Judy said... [Reply to comment]

What's not to love about the traditional foods? Trader Joe's stopped carrying soba noodles, which I always had in my pantry, and which is very disappointing. Japanese food has always been my favorite Asian food. Happy New Year! (If you're up in this area, give Fabio's place a try.)

Kitchen M said... [Reply to comment]

I miss Osechi Ryori. It really is too much work though if you try to make everything from scratch.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I honestly don't know what I would do if I lived in the US, I am used to buying Green Tea by the liter.. but you BLEW me away.... you made your own mochi.... We have skipped osechi a few times but ... mochi and azuki beans... yum

Monica H said... [Reply to comment]

I'm particularly fond of the guacamole and chips part...ha!

Our family makes tamales for the holidays. This year we made 30 dozen. 25 dozen pork and 5 dozen bean. it's so much work, but so good!

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

Happy New Year, Mary! Cool posts. Thanks for the heads up on JANM festival this Sunday, I'll be taking the kids and we'll check it out. Hope you feel better real soon! :)

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

I love traditional New Years food and when I was in LA, much like yourself, I would go to Koreatown to get my fill on Jan 1. It's so much easier and your supporting local businesses! All of the food looks so good, especially the sticky rice with red beans (one of my favorites).

Cathy said... [Reply to comment]

I love hearing about these wonderful traditions! Happy New Year to you (and I hope that you are feeling better soon!)

Flourchild said... [Reply to comment]

Oh My goodness..my husband would be in heaven if he could just see that sushi. He loves the stuff. YOur pictures are lovely.
Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. I wish you a Happy New Year and Im so happy your my blogging buddy!

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

this was the most awesome post- EVER. Seriously. I love Nigiya too, and I didn't relaize you could buy new years food there, how cool! I will have to try to buy some for next year. I am loving your site, and linkig you to mine so I can always be up on what you are doing.
Best, and Happy New year!!

Pamela said... [Reply to comment]

Just catching up on your posts, Mary! Really great pictures and everything looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year and I hope you are feeling better! :o)

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Great series of posts! It's always fun to read how others celebrate the New Year. Our entire family loves Japanese food/culture (we even have a nephew who has been living over in Japan for the past few years teaching English). Ever been to Aki Restaurant in WLA? My husband discovered it when he was a UCLA student in the 70's and has introduced it to many since then. Everybody loves it! Happy New Year!

Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

How wonderfully colorful and vibrant! Happy New Year! What a wonderful way to ring it in.

Gigi said... [Reply to comment]

Beautiful celebration! I loved all the photos of the food.

Jodie said... [Reply to comment]

ohhhh! I'm so jealous. I'm Japanese, too (3 1/2 generation) and haven't been at home to celebrate with my family for the past couple of years. I made a make-shift dinner last night with tempura and too-American sushi (avocado/cucumber). Not quite the same. Can I come to yours next year? :)

alexandra's kitchen said... [Reply to comment]

So interesting! I love hearing and learning about these types of traditions. Everything looks incredibly delicious. I am now craving chilled soba noodles. That is my favorite!

Mari said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you for the glimpse into Japanese New Years meals, it all looks so gorgeous and yummy!

Rachael Hutchings said... [Reply to comment]

I have loved your Oshogatsu posts! I've been totally homesick for Japan and too pregnant to go buy us osechi ryori this year. :-( But, we'll definitely be having it next year!

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