• Should You Choose Hot or Cold Sake?

    Traditionally, sake is a drink that was enjoyed warm, but today, many sakes are offered chilled, thanks to a changing flavor profile. This change leads many people dining in Japanese restaurants to wonder exactly what kind of sake they should be drinking. In reality, there is no answer that applies to sake every kind of sake.

    Sake responds to temperature in a similar way that grape-based wines do. The flavors tend to vary depending on the temperature at which it is served. With sake, Ginjo varieties tend to taste better chilled, while Junmai can be served at rom temperature of slightly warmed. Keep in mind that warmed sake should be only warmed very gently, while cold sake should be chilled gently.

    Experience Japanese dining traditions, from teppanyaki to hibachi, at House of Genji in San Jose. Whether you’re looking for a tasty change at lunchtime or a show-stopping meal for date night, you’ll find it in our Japanese restaurant. Learn more by calling us at (408) 453-8120.

     

  • Exploring the History of Teppanyaki

    If you have ever been to a teppanyaki restaurant, then you know the performance is just as important as the food. Although today’s teppanyaki dining usually happens in restaurants with large groups of diners, its origins are in the home, where people gathered together over small grills to cook and eat their meals. Generally, teppanyaki restaurants are more popular in the U.S. than in Japan, but the techniques and flavors used are steeped in Japanese traditions.

    The Rise of Teppanyaki Restaurants

    Originally, teppanyaki was a style of cooking that was performed on small, flat grill tops at home. In fact, the work teppan means “iron plate” while the word yaki means “grill.” This style of cooking was not done for entertainment’s sake but was simply a way of preparing family meals. However, in 1945, the first teppanyaki restaurant, called Misono, opened up in Tokyo. The restaurant was not popular with locals in Japan, who did not like the group dining style of the meals. However, it was instantly embraced by Westerners who were in Japan after the end of WWII and by tourists who visited the country. They fell in love with the showmanship of the flipping knives and flaming onion volcanoes, and soon, Misono became a chain throughout Japan.

    Teppanyaki Restaurants in the West

    Westerners loved teppanyaki so much that soon the restaurant concept moved outside of Japan to Western countries. Benihana was the first teppanyaki restaurant in the U.S. It opened its doors in New York in 1964 and is now a national restaurant chain. Many teppanyaki restaurants in the U.S. are referred to as Japanese steakhouses and complement their teppanyaki menus with other Japanese foods, including hibachi entrees and sushi. Japanese cocktails and sakes are other staples of most teppanyaki restaurants.

    Indulge in the excitement of teppanyaki dining yourself at House of Genji. Our teppanyaki restaurant in San Jose is the perfect place for date nights, family dinners, and celebrations. You can find out more about our menu by calling (408) 453-8120.

  • Budgeting for Your Trip to Japan

    Many people who are eager to travel to Japan are worried about the cost of the trip. Japan has a reputation for being a very expensive destination, but in reality, there are lots of ways to experience the country on a budget, with low-cost options for Japanese food, hotels, and more.

    Watch this video for advice on traveling to Japan while sticking to a budget. Because Japan has recently experienced a tourism boom, lots of low-cost domestic travel, food, and accommodation options have appeared. With a little planning and research, you can save a significant amount of money.

    For a taste of Japan closer to home, try House of Genji. We offer teppanyaki dining and a range of other traditional Japanese foods, with lunch and dinner service. Call our Japanese restaurant in San Jose at (408) 453-8120 for more info.

  • Inside the World of Japanese Whiskies

    When people think of whiskies, they tend to think of Scotch made in Scotland, bourbon made in America, or rye made in Canada. However, Japanese whiskies have surged in popularity in recent years and are giving these standards a run for their money. In fact, the Yamazaki distillery in Japan was recently awarded the distinction of having the best single-malt whisky in the world, according to a leading critic, beating out the top distilleries in Scotland. Since then, demand for Japanese whiskies has been growing and more people across the globe are indulging. If you love Japanese food, why not give Japanese whiskies a try? This information will help you pick a bottle.

    Flavor Profiles

    Many of the people who make whiskies in Japan got their start by training in the distilleries of Scotland, so they bring back many of the distilling and flavoring techniques that are common in Scotch. The whiskies produced in Japan have much more in common with Scotch than bourbon or rye. However, whiskies made in Japan usually are smoother that Scotch.

    Though most Japanese whiskies are smoother than Scotches, the flavors vary greatly. Some of them mimic the peaty flavors of Scotches from the Islay region of Scotland, while others are very light, with floral or vanilla notes.

    Popular Bottles

    Japanese whiskies are changing in response to high demand. Whiskies used to be aged for 12 years or more, but because it became impossible to turn around enough whisky fast enough to meet the demand, younger bottles are flooding the market. Yamazaki 12-year single malt is a highly sought after, peaty pour. Miyagikyo single malt is heavily influenced by sherry flavors and has a fruity flavor with a hint of peat. Akashi is one of the easiest to find and popular Japanese whiskies. The flavors are not complex, but it is extremely smooth, with oak and spice flavors.

    For more of the flavors of Japan, visit House of Genji. From our cocktail lounge to our teppanyaki dining, our Japanese restaurant in San Jose has something for everyone. Dial  (408) 453-8120 to find out more about our menu and hours.

  • Tamago: A Staple in Japanese Food Culture

    Tamago is Japanese for egg. This simple food is one of the most popular ingredients in Japan. Sometimes it is a component of another beloved dish, and sometimes it stands alone, but eggs can be found in a huge number of places, from top Japanese restaurants to street food vendors. As a country, Japan consumes the most eggs of any place in the world, so it’s not surprising to find them in so many popular Japanese dishes. Here is a closer look at how tamago is used in Japanese cuisine.

    Raw Eggs

    Unlike many places in the world, people in Japan like to eat their eggs raw. Raw eggs are used in many popular dishes, such as tamagokake-gohan, which is a dish that consists of rice topped with a raw egg and soy sauce, and an omelet that is filled with rice. Although many people in other cultures think of eating raw eggs as dangerous, people in Japan believe them to be safe if they are eaten within a specific window of time. Eggs are marked with a best-by date that indicates the window in which eggs can be eaten raw. After that, they must be cooked to be enjoyed safely.

    Evolution of the Egg

    Eggs are a quintessential Japanese food now, but this wasn’t always the case. From the 14th century onward, eggs were frequently banned under Buddhist guidelines. Even when they weren’t banned, they were often not a popular choice. Starting in about 1603, eggs became embraced as a luxury item, but it wasn’t until after World War II that eggs became a dietary staple.

    Popular Egg Dishes

    Eggs form the basis of both sweet and savory dishes in Japan. Marinated eggs are frequently used to top ramen or enjoyed on their own. Egg puddings and custards are popular desserts. Raw eggs are frequently mixed with soybeans as a side dish, and many variations of chicken and eggs cooked together are served with rice or noodles.

    For a taste of Japan, visit House of Genji. Our teppanyaki dishes offer an authentic Japanese experience close to home. You can learn more about our Japanese restaurant in San Jose by calling (408) 453-8120.

  • Attending the Hanazono Shrine Festival

    The Hanazono Shrine Festival is held every May, on the weekend that is closest to May 28. People travel from all over to celebrate at the festival, which features art, vendors, and plenty of Japanese food. Although this festival—sometimes called the Hanazono Grand Shrine Festival—is the largest festival held at the shrine, there are many smaller festivals held at the location throughout the year.

    The Hanazono Shrine is located in Shinjuku. Although the festival lasts throughout the weekend, one of the most popular parts of the event is when a small mikoshi, or portable shrine, is carried throughout the surrounding neighborhood. The mikoshi weighs 1.5 tons, and people come out of their homes to see it passing through the streets. As with most Japanese festivals, food is also a major draw. There is a huge array of vendors selling Japanese food onsite at the festival.

    You can experience Japanese dining for yourself closer to home at House of Genji. We bring Japanese food to life with our fun and vibrant teppanyaki dining experience. For more information, call (408) 453-8120.

  • The Legend of Tokyo’s Ramen Culture

    Ramen is a favorite food export from Japan, and in Tokyo, going to a ramen café is a regular occurrence. One of the most famed ramen spots in Japan is Taishoken, which was one of the first to exist and is still one of the most popular.

    Watch this video to learn more about Taishoken and the history of ramen culture. The chef of Taishoken is considered to be the inventor of ramen restaurants and spent his days in his restaurant until he passed away in his 70s.

    At House of Genji, we give you access to another part of Japanese food culture: teppanyaki. You can find out more about Japanese dining in San Jose by calling us at (408) 453-8120.

  • Japanese Cocktails to Mix Up Your Next Night Out

    Japan has a robust drinking culture, and many social occasions revolve around alcohol. In fact, it has only recently become socially acceptable to refuse alcohol in favor of soda or water at social events such as company year-end parties and springtime picnic. Although Japan does have a beer and wine scene, cocktails are also very popular. Some cocktails are familiar around the world, while others make use of uniquely Japanese ingredients. In Japan, these cocktails are served everywhere from small bars to upscale Japanese restaurants.

    Umetini

    This cocktail will appeal to gin fans. It contains three parts gin to seven parts umeshu, which is a Japanese form of plum wine. It is a strong cocktail, because it doesn’t include any kind of mixer, but it is also flavorful and somewhat sweet, thanks to the plum wine. Umeshu is the base for a large number of cocktails in Japan and is often enjoyed simply with tonic water. The umetini is typically served in a martini glass.

    Matcha Hai

    If you’re looking for something with a little less of a kick, consider a matcha hai. Matcha hais are 50% club soda. The rest consists of lemon juice, gum syrup, matcha powder, and whiskey. Matcha powder is widely available in just about every bar in this Japan, so while it may be a specialty ingredient in other countries, you can generally order a matcha hai in any bar or restaurant in Japan.

    Lemon Sour

    Lemon sours are one of the most popular cocktails in Japan. It is a bright and tart drink that consists of three ingredients in equal measures: lemon juice, club soda, and shochu, which is hard liquor that is made from distilled grains or sweet potatoes. The lemon juice is sometimes substituted with juice from other citrus fruits, including grapefruit, lime, and yuzu.

    At House of Genji, you will find a variety of cocktails on our menu that make perfect accompaniments to our Japanese food in San Jose. Contact us today to learn more about our teppanyaki meals and the rest of our menu by calling (408) 453-8120.

  • Japanese Good Luck Charms: Maneki Neko

    Maneki Neko—sometimes called Fortune Cat—is a staple in many Japanese restaurants and stores. Maneki Neko is supposed to bring good luck to its owners, which is the reason for its popularity. The waving cat is often found by cash registers in order to attract fortune.

    Maneki Neko literally means beckoning cat in Japanese. In English, in addition to Fortune Cat, it is sometimes called Welcoming Cat, Lucky Cat, and Money Cat. If the cat’s left paw is raised, Maneki Neko is said to attract customers. If the right paw is raised, it is said to attract money. Sometimes, both paws are raised, which is said to attract money and customers and to offer protection. The colors on the Maneki Neko also have special meanings. For example, red is for success in love and green is for good health.

    If you love Japanese culture, why not enjoy some Japanese food at House of Genji? We offer teppanyaki, hibachi, and much more at our Japanese restaurant in San Jose. For more information, call us at (408) 453-8120.

  • A Look at Craft Whiskey Culture in Japan

    When most people think of craft whiskey, they think of Scotland, but Japan has a thriving scene of whiskey distilleries. In fact, a Japanese brand of scotch has recently been named the best in the world, beating out Scottish single malts for the first time.

    Watch this video to learn more about craft whiskey culture in Japan. Although they are tight-lipped about their secrets, they credit the clean water of Japan as one of their secret ingredients.

    Indulge in more Japanese specialties with a meal at House of Genji. Our Japanese restaurant serves up teppanyaki fare and a variety of other Japanese foods, with something for every palate. Learn more about Japanese dining in San Jose by calling (408) 453-8120.