Let the record show that, at 00:22 on February… 23, 2022, I chose to spice things up with Finding Food Fluency–
More food in the here-and-now!
With that digital intro out of the way, today I will take you all on a brief tour of Toma’s Wine Cellar, a restaurant in Kutaisi, Georgia specializing in food from its home region of Imereti.
It’s a family production where Toma is the host, first shows you where the wine – and chacha, a Georgian firewater made of grape pomace – are made. Then, you’re treated to a supra, a feast of local specialties, all washed down with good conversation and relaxing vibes.
Since it’s at the family home, you must call or email Toma first; the info is in the video.
For your reference, the first vegetable in the video is called jonjoli, or Caucasian bladdernut (wow, so appetizing!). Thereafter, things start make a bit more sense.
More importantly, what does Shenzhen have to do with this?…
Once settled in there, in order to spice up my daily Chinese meals, I went looking for Japanese food. After stumbling upon a vertical “Japantown” in Luo Hu, the old commercial center of Shenzhen, I started to explore different floors of the building. Seedy stuff – with discounts for Japanese businessmen – was located on the top floors, whereas just below those were restaurants.
Hungry, I alighted to find something that had been making me chuckle since watching the sushi video above:
Just what am I pointing to?
Salt. Right outside of a Japanese restaurant.
The mound of salt is known in Japanese as 盛塩 (morishio). Why was it there? I asked the manager, and she didn’t know. Though, one theory says that it was placed out front by the door sill in the event that your meal wasn’t salty enough. Other possibilities include a nobleman being present in the restaurant, or that when you pass through the door you’ll be purified. Another two mention that salt is placed there for good luck for the owner, or to keep evil spirits away from one’s abode (in Japanese).
Imagine at your own discretion, but please, the next time you reach for a bit of salt, think of your kidneys.
Have you noticed this when you’ve gone out for Japanese food? Have you taken advantage?