Takoyaki: Deliciousness in Federal Way

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Japanese Hot Easy Snack on the Go

Those ball-shaped Japanese snacks, called Takoyaki, are basically batter cooked in a special pan with half ping-pong sized molds. Flour is dissolved in a specially mixed soupy stock and poured individually over the half molds. Then minced or diced octopus or “tako” are added, along with leeks, pickled ginger, and tempura scraps. Made of cast iron, the pan is evenly heated. As one side of the takoyaki gets cooked, each is turned to the other side with a pick to get cooked in turn. The balls are brushed later with takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise is added, then green aonori and shavings of dried bonito are sprinkled over. Takoyaki makes for great, delicious snacks.

The dish first appeared in Osaka in 1935 by some street vendor credited for this invention. It was inspired by akashiyaki, a small round dumpling from the city of Akashi, made of egg batter and octopus. What was comfort food for the people of Osaka spread to other regions and now is available throughout Japan. It has long been associated with street food especially during matsuri, which are any local religious festivals held in Japan.

Everybody seems to love takoyaki. They’re bite-sized and easy to eat even by children, but be careful since they’re usually freshly made and hot. There are many individually operated traditional takoyaki stores, especially in Osaka. However, big companies have gone into franchising their takoyaki versions since the 1990s and since then been competing in the fast food market within and outside of Japan.

The hot dish has evolved into high quality snacks with attention to ingredients, toppings and degrees of cooking. In the US, one can find takoyaki stalls in malls and supermarkets and other commercial areas. Many Japanese restaurants also serve this favorite snack.

Hot Balls of Snack and Fun in Federal Way

At K-Ton, our takoyaki is not just your regular street food fare but is a different restaurant experience. From the hands of our talented chefs, we bring you the popular Japanese snack balls you’ll always love.

August 14th, 2017

Tempura: The Journey from Snack to Meal

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How a Foreign Dish Became Truly Japanese

The crunchy tempura is one of the best-loved dishes of many non-Japanese. Its slightly sweet and slightly tangy dipping sauce, the interplay of delicious batter outside and fresh seafood inside make it a must-order in a Japanese dine-out.

The usual tempura consist of seafood, either shrimp or white fish deep fried in batter. There’s also vegetables, like onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, Japanese pumpkin, carrots and green peppers. You can also have kaki-age, a mix of seafood and veggies.

However, it is tempura’s batter that makes it distinct from other Japanese fried foods. It doesn’t use bread crumbs and uses less grease. Batter is basically beaten egg, flour and cold water, and sometimes oil, starch or spices may be added.

Many regard tempura as a Japanese dish, but lo, its origins are not so. With their ability to turn foreign foods into something that suits their taste, the Japanese actually borrowed tempura from the Portuguese. When Latin-speaking Portuguese missionaries came to Japan in the 1600s, they introduced this method of frying food, quite unknown to the Japanese at the time. It was basically meant for Lent when eating meat was disallowed observance.

The dish was referred to as tempora cuaresme, meaning ‘in the time of Lent.’ It was introduced at the port of Nagasaki when it were only the Dutch, Chinese, and the Portuguese who were allowed to trade with then closed-off Japan. It became a quickly loved snack food, served between meals.

By the 18th century, Japanese chefs experimented with frying fish and vegetables whole, differing from the tradition of eating fresh food. Though fried, the foods preserved their unique taste and character. This is when the popular snack became a meal on its own and has become truly Japanese.

In modern times now, tempura is served on a rice bowl called tendon or on top of soba noodles. It is also ordered as a side dish with dipping sauce. Sometimes, other foods are batter-fried tempura style – like sushi rolls, fruit or noodles.

The Japanese have remarkably made tempura their own, making it a traditional Japanese cuisine.

Loving Fried Foods in Federal Way

Love the tempura at K-Ton, your Japanese restaurant in Federal Way where we keep our grassroots tradition alive, even among our fried selections.

July 10th, 2017

Currying Favor for the Curry Flavor

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Japanese Style Curry

The menu at K-Ton Japanese restaurant in Federal Way features a full section of curry dishes. You might know curry better as a middle-eastern spice, but the phenomenon of “Japanese-style curry-rice” has grown to a point that it has taken on a life all its own. This should hardly be a surprise to anybody familiar with the country; after all, Japan has a long history of good, healthy food, and curry is among the healthiest substances you can eat.

Health Benefits

It can be hard to list all of curry’s health benefits, as “curry” actually describes a number of different blends of spices that each have their own merits. However, one highlight that runs through most curry blends is turmeric.

A known “superfood”, this substance has been shown to be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, capable of reducing arthritis symptoms and opening up blood vessels to increase circulation. Other scientific evidence also suggests at the spice’s power to fight heart disease, certain cancers, and the onset of age-related mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease.

At K-Ton, you can enjoy curry rice with veggies, tofu, or your favorite kind of katsu meat. Come by for a different combination each week, and make curry a regular part of your healthy diet!

June 23rd, 2017

Japanese Healing Foods in Federal Way

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Saving and Prolonging Life: Japan’s Dietary Guidelines

It has been reported in the British Medical Journal about a study on the Japanese famed longevity is owed to the dietary guidelines set in 2000 which may be associated to a 15% reduction in mortality rate. The mass population study reviewed the eating habits of 36,000 men and 42,000 women, aged between 45 and 75 years, over a course of 15 years. It was found that those who abided by the guidelines decreased their chances of dying compared to the group that did not adhere. Also, there was a noted reduction in incidence of severe stroke in the abiding group.

The study showed that contributing to the Japanese population’s longevity by decreasing the risk of death particularly from cardiovascular disease is the balanced consumption of grains, fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, dairy products, soy products, confectionery and alcoholic drinks.

This diet reflects the longevity enjoyed by Japanese men averaging 80 years life expectancy, while the women live as long as 87 years on the average. The exclusion criterion for those involved in the study is no history of cancer, stroke, heart disease or chronic liver disease.

So what are Japan’s dietary guidelines? Developed by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in 2000, the guidelines were structured into a pyramid – grain-based dishes like rice, bread, noodles and pasta at the top, the middle holds vegetable based dishes, and then fish, eggs and meat dishes, the bottom includes fruits and dairy.

Serving sizes should be small, vegetables are 70 grams per serving, regular water and tea drinking, snacks in moderation, and physical activity important – are additional recommendations.

Indeed, the Japanese can be regarded as a model for healthy eating habits. And it’s not because of some genetic predisposition either. While the West are prone to major illnesses like CV disease, diabetes and some cancers, it is more by choice – a matter of culture and not biology, the study said.

Celebrating Longevity in Federal Way

Find at K-Ton, your Japanese restaurant in Federal Way, the balanced mix of healing foods in our selections that will surely promote healthy eating habits. Bring down your risks for major illnesses by eating healthy in Federal Way.

May 25th, 2017

Yaki Soba: Japan’s Fried Noodle Dish

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Have you ever experienced yakisoba? You can try this popular noodle dish at K-Ton!

It is a dish of stir fry noodles, adapted from the Chinese chow mein to suite Japanese sensibilities. In Japan, the dish is frequently enjoyed during festivals, and is a big hit with foreign visitors as well.

For Meat-lovers or Vegetarians

The dish is usually stir-fried with meats and vegetables (or just vegetables for our vegetarians) and seasoned with a sweet and savory sauce, similar to teriyaki sauce. It’s easy to make at home, but it’s best if you use a wok in an open-fire stove for the smokey taste.

People familiar with the Japanese soba buckwheat noodles can make the mistake of assuming that yaki soba is akin to this dish. However, yaki soba and soba are not terribly similar. Yaki soba is generally served warm, unlike the cold soba noodles. Additionally, though its name contains the word “soba”, it is not generally made from buckwheat. It is, however, a hearty and delicious treat, so come on down and enjoy a plate today at K-Ton!

April 17th, 2017

Savory Octopus on Your Plate in Federal Way

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What Makes the Octopus Nutritious?

The octopus is probably the most intelligent and behaviorally flexible invertebrates we have come to know. Large and small octopi have the striking capability to defend themselves from predators in the water. They can shoot ink at their enemies before a quick getaway, jet through the water with ease and speed, change their camouflage to hide, and squeeze into tight spaces. However, they also make up many cuisines, becoming delicious ingredients in many dishes around the globe. In particular, the Japanese, Polynesians and Mediterraneans make them part of their diet. Do you know that they are also nutritious and healthy?

The octopus is lean and low in calories, as nearly all seafoods are. While it is naturally low-fat, its cholesterol content is high. Hence, low-fat cooking methods must be employed to avoid adding to the fat content. Remember that one 3-ounce serving of octopus provides less than 2 grams of total fat, including less than .5 gram from saturated fat.

There are key nutrients in octopus that makes it a healthy dish – high amounts of iron, selenium and vitamin B12. One 3-ounce portion of octopus offers more than 8 milligrams of iron, which men need as daily dose; women on the other hand need 18 milligrams. Iron as we know delivers vital oxygen to all tissues and cells. Selenium is an antioxidant, neutralizes free radicals and decreases the risk of chronic diseases. A person needs 55 micrograms of it daily; one 3-ounce serving of octopus contains about 75. And then, there is vitamin B12, essential for metabolism, of which 2.4 micrograms are needed daily. The same octopus serving offers 30 with no additive effects.

Your octopus also is a source of essential omega-3 fatty acids. They reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and depression and beneficial in preventing diseases like chronic bronchitis and Alzheimer’s disease. See that octopi are great additions to diet, but mind the cholesterol.

Enjoying Octopus in Federal Way

Conscious about your calorie intake? Have lean yet nutritious delicacies at K-Ton, your Japanese restaurant in Federal Way. We strive to give you a broad cross-section of what makes Japanese food so great, avoiding the greasy selections that haunt most corner Japanese eateries. Health-conscious? Try octopus at K-Ton.

March 20th, 2017

Okonomiyaki: Osaka’s Soul Food in Federal Way

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Japanese Pancake: A Flexible Dish

Widely available throughout Japan, though commonly associated with the Kansai or Hiroshima areas,
okonomiyaki is sometimes compared to an omelette or a pancake and comes in a variety of toppings and batter depending on the region. The Kansai- or Osaka-style okonomiyaki is the most popular and predominant version. The batter is made of flour, grated nagaimo (a type of yam), dashi, eggs and shredded cabbage. However, there are other ingredients included, that makes this dish really flavorful and rich in texture – green onion, pork belly, octopus, squid, shrimp, vegetables, konjac, mochi or cheese.

Okonomiyaki is said to have originated in Osaka and its manner of preparation and cooking is just like you would a pancake. The batter and other ingredients are pan-fried on both sides. Once cooked, other ingredients are placed on top – like seaweed flakes, bonito flakes, pickled ginger, and 2 or so different sauces – otafuku/okonomiyaki sauce and also Japanese mayonnaise. Metal spatulas are used to slice the pancake when ready to be eaten.

The Hiroshima variant of okonomiyaki – batter and ingredients – is layered rather than mixed and has 2 to 3 times more cabbage than the Osaka style. The dish is grilled and not pan-fried and sometimes topped with noodles and or fried egg. There are other versions across Japan that are thinner, more liquid, uses other meats instead of pork, like chicken, ground meat, oysters or fish; some use radish.

See that the okonomiyaki is a very flexible dish. Its literal translation is “how you like” or “what you like”, “grilled”. It can replace a rice meal or if you’re really very hungry.

Japanese Pancake Anytime in Federal Way

And when you’re really that hungry or would rather not opt for rice, try K-Ton’s okonomiyaki, Osaka-style. We prepare it as only our experienced chefs can. Drop by anytime for okonomiyaki, a special, here at our Japanese restaurant in Federal Way.

February 15th, 2017

Curry: Just as Japanese as Ramen in Federal Way

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Curry: The Spice of Japanese Life

Perhaps you didn’t know that curry is just as Japanese as ramen and considered more a national dish ahead of sushi or miso soup. Japan’s hot and spicy dishes with curry are thought to cool you down when you perspire and, hence, popular in the summer months. But it’s so flavorful that people don’t mind having curry dishes even when it’s chilly outside.

Curry has always been regarded as Western in origin, as Anglo-Indians of the British Empire brought the spice powder to Japanese shores after the country opened its doors to the outside world in the mid-19th century. Since then, curry has evolved to suit Japanese taste and doesn’t much resemble Indian curry anymore. It is now entirely and uniquely Japanese. At first it was considered a luxury food, being time-consuming to prepare and requiring special skills, but soon became more accessible to all social strata.

Inventive dishes start to proliferate -udon and soba noodles in curry-flavored soup and dough stuffed with curry paste, breaded and deep-fried. Then came instant curry mixes and even gourmet curry which boosted the curry popularity more. Once unsuited for kids, there came out the milder and sweeter curry for children. Now, even ready-to-eat curry dishes are everywhere. Not needing refrigeration, the bags or pouches are just heated and you have an instant meal.

Did you know that Emperor Akihito enjoyed the spicy dish? And that it was a Japanese astronaut who introduced curry packs to the NASA space program? Curry is indeed a national spice.

A Quick Curry Fix in Federal Way

You need a quick lunch or dinner fix of curry? Drop by K-Ton, your Japanese restaurant in Federal Way and enjoy chef-crafted, delicious combinations of katsus and curry. Our katsus are freshly breaded and our curries are home-made. Served with soup and salad, there’s no way to beat that satisfaction.

January 12th, 2017

Different Interpretations of Donburi

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What’s Donburi and other Dons on the Menu?

When you say donburi, you’d mean a rice bowl. In Japanese, donburi means “bowl.” As a dish, it’s a big bowl of Japanese white rice with toppings – usually protein (like pork cutlets, beef, shrimp, or chicken), an egg, and some vegetables, usually green onions, simmered in a sweet soy sauce broth, or sometimes without. It’s a hearty meal, a simple meal but with many interpretations.

You can have variations of donburi, depending on what’s on top of the rice. Using the word “don” and adding whatever the topping would be gives the donburi a different interpretation. If you go for oyakodon, meaning “mother and child bowl,” you are having chicken and egg. Chicken is of course the mother, and the egg, the child. Gyudon means “beef bowl,” which is thinly sliced beef and onions are simmered with soy sauce and mirin, a sweet sake cooking wine. Another popular don is katsudon. It’s deep-fried pork cutlets and the egg on top of rice. Tendon is deep-fried, breaded shrimp or tempura, as well as breaded vegetables added.

And then you can also have raw toppings on your don. Kaisendon is sashimi with sweetened vinegar and a soy sauce side. Tekka-don is spicy tuna. A similar version is negitoro don, fatty tuna belly with spring onions.

Donburi is a very popular lunch or dinner meal in Japan, both in restaurants and in homes. It’s quick to prepare and inexpensive. Donburi recipes are not all the same from one region to another; sauces also vary depending on the season. It’s versatile and a great filling meal.

Donburi as You like it in Federal Way

Now that you’re familiar with donburi and its more popular varieties, you can come over for your big rice bowl at K-Ton, Japanese restaurant in Federal Way. Order your don like a native Japanese and enjoy one of the best tasting donburi meals this side of Federal Way.

December 12th, 2016

The Complete Protein of Tofu

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Eating tofu as a health food is not a new thing. People have been celebrating the benefits of soy-based dishes for centuries. For people who live a meat-free lifestyle, tofu has always been a strong choice as an alternative protein source. But what is it about tofu that makes it the vegetarian protein of choice?

It is true that there are many vegetarian-and-vegan-friendly sources of protein. Nuts, grains, beans, and other plant-based foods can give you a healthy dose of many of the important amino acids that your body needs. Unfortunately, very few plants have all nine amino acids. Tofu and other soy products are a complete protein, which means that they are a viable substitute for meat.

If you are getting most of your protein from tofu, it’s worth noting that you need to eat more tofu to get the same protein you would from meat. It therefore pays to have numerous delicious soy-based options available to you. At our Japanese restaurant in Federal Way, you can enjoy the strong protein of soy in the form of our miso ramen. Come and give this old favorite a try today!

November 7th, 2016

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