Thursday, March 06, 2008

Omelette rice, omuraisu, 蛋包饭

蛋包饭 ~ Dan Bao Fun, literally means "egg wrapping the rice". Officially (and technically), they call it omuraisu (in Japanese) where omu - is from the word "omelette" and raisu- from the word "rice". That's pure dissection of words. And coincidentally...I am going to dissect the omelette and show you what's inside --

Rice fried in tomato ketchup!

A dish that sounds relatively simple in terms of ingredients but I never ever thought of making it myself. Perhaps it's the trouble of assembling the omelette and rice that gives so much resistance (heck, I rather eat the omelette and rice, separate). Or perhaps it's food for the kids (that tomato catch-up impression I get...errrmmm...ketchup-flavored rice...errrmmm)

But really, when you take the trouble and go through the process - from frying the rice (without getting burnt ketchup or mishandled caramelization) and swirling the eggs around the pan as they cook (to make an even circle); up to the point of having to place the ketchup fried rice on one side (left or right) of the egg and flip over the other side to "wrap" the rice (just like how I made my seafood omelette); then flipping the omelette onto the serving plate, in perfection and no mistake (making sure it just appears as a regular omelette on the plate, nothing else); and finally touching up with that extra dollop of ketchup on the omelette - it can be just that accomplishment of putting little steps togther to create a single entity, the surprise that an omelette hides, PLUS the satisfaction of turning ketchup-flavored rice into "adult" food.

When we visited Tamagoya in Taiwan, 80% of the crowd were adults! Myth busted! Adults are catching up the ketchup, not just kids! :P

A fluffy yellow egg - just you wait when I cut you through...*evil*

For my personal liking, I would rather have simple fried rice under the omelette. Well, I know. This will not be authentic omiraisu anymore. But anyhow, omiraisu is not traditional Japanese cuisine with true Japanese roots and origin. Omiraisu is known to be an influence of European/Western cuisine on Japanese tastes - yohshoku, translated to "Western food". This is Western-style food that has undergone multi-faceted face-change in Japan, such that it has become so well entrenched in Japanese cuisine that you will never relate them to other foreign cuisine, other than Japan itself. Yohshoku items more familiar to you may include omuraisu (rice omelette), korokke (croquettes) and tonkatsu (deep fried pork cutlet). Many yohshoku items remain very authentic and can be found in mom and pop eateries, Japanese coffee houses and cafes.

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