Kitchen Culture

tasty tidbits from the old-fashioned Japanese Kitchen





© 2010 photo by Leigh Beisch, styling by Karen Shinto

In Japan fuku-bukuro shopping bags stuffed with surprise merchandise (deeply-discounted, high quality goods, the contents of which are unknown to the consumer) are wildly popular. When stores re-open in the New Year, fuku-bukuro will be everywhere! 

Gifts of cash at New Year's – otoshi dama
are presented to children by doting family members; this cash fuels a mini-spending spree on fuku-bukuro.

And, its not just children who indulge in fuku-bukuro. Grown-ups treat themselves to surprises with
squirreled away savings.

Agé fuku-bukuro – tasty surprise packages of fried tōfu stuffed with food it is your “good fortune” to have on hand – are commonly simmered in a soy-tinged broth or added to nabémono (cook-at-the-table, hot-pot casseroles), especially oden.