A Gaping, Unfilled Niche

There are a few things that I used to depend on for everyday cooking and I still use many of them over here, but I sorely miss Mexican food ingredients. I miss the abundance of tortillas, both flour and corn (I can get flour tortillas at Costco in Fukuoka periodically, but it is a pain in the ass). Good cheese is also hard to obtain, because it is prohibitively expensive (except for at Costco, once again). If you want cillantro, you must grow your own, and it will not survive the cold winter of Ubuyama without a heat source (you can obtain it at the Kuju Hana Koen, labeled as “italian parsely”, as a potted plant). I also miss frijoles and canned chilli. These are the ingredients that helped to get me through college.
I was excited to find all of the components for making tacos, including cheap avocados, but there was one ingredient I couldn’t find- tortillas. I tried eating the taco ingredients on top of rice, but rice sucks as a substitute. The only worse thing I can think of is putting the taco ingredients on a slice of toast! I was so disappointed that I thought about making my own tortillas, and found these instructions. Sorry, that’s just too much work for something that I’m used to shelling out 39 cents out for, for a ten pack.
Maybe that’s what made eating Mexican food so great when I came back home last Christmas. I love eating tacos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, chimichangas, taquitos, nachos, and everything else that you can get at a taco truck, Tito’s tacos, Alerto’s, King Taco, and the other mexican restaraunts and taquerias that I remember.
I’m not sure about the rest of Japan, but Kyushu has almost no Mexican restaraunts that I know of, except for Plaza Del Sol in Kumamoto City. This place is pretty good, and the prices are reasonable, considering the rarity of many of the ingredients that they use. THey make decent tacos, burritos, nachos, and other dishes and the cooks are Mexican- again, something truly rare in Japan but not worth mentioning in California. One thing that did surprise me was their pickled vegetables (I forget what these are called in Spanish, help Dad!). The slices of carrots, jalapenos, and whole cloves of garlic are the best I have tasted anywhere.
If you are coming to Japan, and love Mexican food as much as I do I suggest you do two things:
1. Bring your own industrial sized bottle of El Tapatio (or Cholula for all of you rich people).
2. Eat AS MUCH Mexican food as you possibly can for the two weeks preceeding your departure.

4 thoughts on “A Gaping, Unfilled Niche”

  1. Are there any Royal Host restaurants near you? I just noticed today that they have ortegalike tacos on the summer menu. Mmmm, crispy. Might be enough to take the edge off your craving.

  2. I would love to send you a box of great-tasting, easy-to-mix (like, add water…) masa. It’s good stuff and all’s you have to do is mix, press out (rolling pin or flat-sided bottle works) and heat up on grill. Yummy smelling and since it’s fresh, it tastes and chews better that the ready-made, by-the-dozen tortillas! Let me know and I’ll send over some for you and Jus!

  3. Nah, thanks, but that’s a pain in the ass still. Apparently, getting the moisture content right is an acquired skill that takes a lot of time and practice- I’m not willing to do that for a product that I’m used to paying almost nothing for a ten pack. Bottom line- I’m lazy

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