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Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring vegetables feature at open-air market

Staff writer

Look hard enough at the supermarket shelves today and you may find some obscure vegetables that you will hardly see at other times of the year. Whether it be taranome (shoots of Aralia elata, known also as the Japanese angelica-tree), urui (the young leaves of a plantain lily), or kogomi (the young shoots of an ostrich fern), many of these mountain vegetables have a subtly bitter taste, but it is exactly this bitterness that many people here crave. The spring veggies are also believed to have a "detoxing" effect.

News photo
Seasonal greetings: Spring foods are served at Yebisu Garden Place.

An open-air market at Yebisu Garden Place in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, will be a good opportunity to check out such seasonal produce, as about 20 organic vegetable producers and tsukemono (salted vegetables) stores from the Kanto and Tohoku regions will set up booths there. The market will be held on April 3, 4, 17 and 18 from 10 a.m. till 3 p.m. at the central plaza of the shopping and restaurant complex.

Or if you don't feel like cooking them yourself, you can choose from 29 restaurants in the complex to satisfy your gastronomic curiosity. Among the spring menus — on offer through April 18 — are a foie gras dish with a green pea sauce, as well as takenoko (bamboo shoots) and duck grilled with Kyoto miso, topped with swirling kogomi shoots on top.

For more information, contact Yebisu Garden Place Information at (03) 5423-7111 or visit gardenplace.jp (in Japanese)

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