Gourmet Traveller

A COOK’S YEAR

Spring

The spring ingredient that captures the Japanese imagination more than any other is takenoko, giant edible bamboo shoots that grow all over Japan and are at their most tender as the snow melts from the mountains and brings new life. Many country people will head into the forest first thing in the morning to dig up the pyramid-shaped shoots to make into dishes such as takenoko gohan, where they’re simply boiled and served with rice, sake, mirin and soy sauce.

The Japanese love to celebrate the blossoming of colourful flowers during every month of the year; the chrysanthemums of late autumn and the shaga, or wild fringed irises, of spring are just two. But the flowers that lure most tourists

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