The Hairy Bikers' Asian Adventure (2014) s01e04 Episode Script

Japan - Tokyo

1 We've packed our passports and bought our phrase books .
because we're off on our biggest, craziest adventure yet.
Meow, meow, bn-eeep! We're travelling further than we've ever done before to uncover the authentic roots of Britain's favourite takeaway foods I've always wanted to know how to make proper sweet-and-sour sauce.
going off the beaten track and being welcomed into some of Asia's hidden worlds.
How marvellous is this! From the high-rises and hot woks of Hong Kong The hit on this is really, really intense but listen, it's like a jet engine.
I love it! To the sweltering tropics of Thailand We love a tuk-tuk! .
where they say it's impossible to eat badly.
Thai food's arrived in Britain but, by crikey, it's only the tip of the iceberg.
And we fulfil a lifelong ambition to explore Japan.
That is perfect.
Wow! Look at that.
I've just had a sushi-gasm! We finish up in South Korea where the spicy cuisine is sensational.
This will go down a bomb down the local.
So leather-up and take to the road for one extremely hairy Asian adventure! We've got a trip of a lifetime ahead of us.
Two weeks travelling all over Japan to unlock the secrets of Japanese food and there's only one place to start.
I can't believe it, mate.
We're here in Tokyo.
Oh, we've been dying to come here for years.
Land of the Rising Sun.
Sashimi, Sushi, noodles and neon.
What are we waiting for? Sugoi! Tokyo is the world's largest metropolis.
And it's the gastronomic capital of the world.
It is home to over 13 million people and has more Michelin stars than Paris.
Do you know what, Si? What? I think we're going to love this place.
Japanese is Dave and I's all-time favourite food.
And it seems we're not alone.
Sushi now outsells some of our most popular sandwiches in supermarkets across the UK, making Japanese one of our best-loved lunchtime takeaways.
Now, since our diet, we've both been watching what we eat.
The Japanese have the lowest obesity rates in the world and we want to find out how they do it.
We want to discover the secrets of sushi.
We want to get under the skin of the national obsession with the noodle.
We want to find out what people are eating in restaurants.
And in their homes.
Oh, enough blathering, Kingy.
I'm starving.
Let's eat.
Armed with a good Japanese phrase book and a voracious appetite A potent combination, there's no time to waste, David.
But first, we've got to navigate through this monster of a mega city, which is bigger than the whole of West Yorkshire.
Tokyo is an urban area made up of 23 districts, 26 cities and five towns, each with their own identity.
Our first port of call is Akihabara, or Electric Town, and it's THE place to go and see Tokyo by night.
Can't believe we're here.
Can you? It's a sea of neon, isn't it? It's great.
It's the most surreal environment, isn't it? Everywhere you look, there's stimulation.
Choosing a bite to eat is just as mind-boggling as the city itself.
They have robot restaurants, vampire restaurants and even kitten cafes.
Meow! But some restaurants have capitalised on the Japanese obsession - and I mean obsession - with manga, Japanese comics popular with children and adults alike.
Manga is a ã1.
5 billion industry in Japan and the more lovable characters of the comic strips have spawned whole chains of restaurants based on innocence and cuteness, like the Maid Cafes.
The first Maid Cafe opened here in Electric Town in 1999.
Now there are over 200 in Tokyo alone.
Can I have a number one, with curry rice? In our culture, this is very different.
It's very eccentric.
How did this start? Like manga? Yeah, manga.
Yeah, OK.
It is.
It is.
It is like Disneyland.
It's like a mad kindergarten but for everybody.
The Japanese call this culture kawaii.
You might not realise it, but you're already familiar with kawaii from cartoon characters like Hello Kitty and Pokemon.
But here's the crazy thing - kawaii began as a rebellion in the 1970s, when teenagers refused to conform to the strict Japanese rules of how to behave as adults, with the long working hours and rigid home lives.
In the same way British teenagers rebelled and became punks, the Japanese simply refused to grow up.
They created a fantasy world to escape in and the cutesy kawaii culture took off.
Ooh, Hello Kitty! We're getting in the swing of it! If she puts them on me I am going to Meow meow! Meow meow! Meow meow! Like all good fairy tales, I wish I could say I was sitting comfortably.
But for a British bloke, this is all a bit bizarre so let's hope the food is good, at least.
Oh! Oh.
Thank you.
Oh, it's a heart.
To give the food even more cutesy appeal, they decorate it with cartoon animals using ketchup and brown sauce.
Aw! Oh, it's a cat with a parting.
Thank you.
Three, two, one.
Meow, meow, bl-eeen! Please enjoy your meals.
Thank you.
What is it? Well, it's an omelette in some sort of sauce with rice underneath, I think.
Go on, have a dig in.
I just want to see what's in it.
It's curry rice.
Curry rice? What's yours? Oh, mine's a bear katsu.
If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise.
Meow meow! Here's a little train coming in the tunnel.
Choo-choo-choo-choo-choo I think it's getting to me, this place, Kingy! Meow, meow! If you do that again, I'm going to stab you with my fork.
Ah! Oh, God! You know, mate, even if you find the whole cute thing a bit too cute, you've got to admire how much effort goes into the presentation of what is essentially fast food.
I'm starting to get a sense that the Japanese don't do things by half.
Yeah, right! I can't wait to find out what else they've got in store.
But first, I reckon it's time for a spot of cooking, David.
Oh, cowabunga! Thanks very much.
Selling tonkatsu! We've picked up one of these traditional Japanese mobile food stalls called a yatai, which means a cart with roof.
We're doing pork tonkatsu, a breaded and fried cutlet served with shredded cabbage and a tasty home-made brown sauce.
We're going to kick off our recipe with the katsu sauce which is based on good old tomato ketchup.
And then we're going to fire it up with some grated ginger and garlic.
You can buy tonkatsu sauce as well in supermarkets here but honestly, it's not as good as home-made.
Next, another familiar ingredient.
This is Japanese Worcester sauce from that famous county of Worcestershire, about 6,000 miles north of Kyoto.
You can use British Worcester sauce.
Look at that.
That's a commute, I tell you.
Oh, yes.
But don't worry, we'll give it a proper taste of Japan with a couple of spoonfuls of mirin and soy sauce.
And now we have one teaspoon of Japanese mustard.
Japanese mustard is like a mixture of English mustard Hello! .
English mustard and Dijon mustard.
It's a clever little sauce, this, isn't it? Oh, it's lovely.
And lastly, a tablespoon of sugar.
It's fluffy sugar here, isn't it? It is fluffy.
Now, you put that on the heat for about five minutes just so those flavours amalgamate and then we take it off and strain it and that's it.
Now, I've got two pork cutlets and I'm going to painier them.
That's just a posh French word for "covering in breadcrumbs".
Now in this bowl, I put some flour.
And whether you're making pork tonkatsu or fish fingers, the routine is the same.
Flour, egg and breadcrumbs.
These are panko breadcrumbs, a Japanese super-crispy breadcrumbs.
You get the mineral supermarkets and honestly, I use these loads.
Great on fishcakes, aren't they? Absolutely epic.
Fried chicken, fry anything.
Panko are made from a crustless loaf and they are lighter and crispier than regular breadcrumbs.
This is the secret to perfect breaded dishes.
The flour helps the egg and breadcrumbs stick, so the coating doesn't come off in the pan.
Actually, it makes a small amount of meat go a long way.
You could, if you were skint, you could beat this out thin and make it go twice as far.
Now more egg and then more crumbs.
And don't be afraid to just slightly put some pressure on to push the crumbs into that egg, so it stays nice and firm and you get a lovely crust.
That's Si's way of telling me, you're not pressing it down long enough to keep the crumbs in.
Thank you.
You're welcome.
Now, while Dave's doing that, all I'm going to do is, I'm going to strain off this sauce through a little sieve here into our bowl.
Have you finished? Do you want me to get your pan up? Yeah.
I'll get my pan up.
Hold on.
I don't want to peak early.
Don't peak early, for God's sake.
You know, pork tonkatsu, it's a bit of a guilty pleasure, isn't it? You know how we have, like, fish on a Friday, or a nice steak on a Friday at home, well, tonkatsu was the equivalent of that.
It was the Friday working man's treat.
You get the temperature right, you get the pork cooked just so it's juicy.
Which gives me six minutes to get all the trimmings ready.
Take cabbage.
Chinese cabbage, Japanese cabbage, could be Savoy.
Shredded raw green cabbage is delicious.
Finer than a hummingbird's toenail clippings.
That fine.
This calls for a tangy accompaniment - like these pickles.
Nice, Dave.
So your pork goes for about three minutes per side, because what you want to do is you want to keep it lovely and moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside.
Righto, Si.
I think we're kind of We're just about ready to combine.
OK, mate.
Look at these tiny, tiny spring onions.
They be nice chopped on the top.
Oh, man! They are perfect.
Minters! Aren't they? Lush! Eh, God! So, what we do on an angle, you want five slices.
Because remember, you've got chopsticks.
You don't want to give somebody a blooming great chop at table! Honestly, cabbage is one of the main events.
Nice, Dave.
We put that on there like that.
But then, you bring it to life with your tonkatsu sauce.
Should I, or do you? I think you should.
I mean, that's pork tonkatsu how you get it in Tokyo.
How brilliant is that? How quick is that? How comforting is that? And how Japanese and Tokyo is that? Loads of places in the UK sell chicken katsu but if you see pork tonkatsu, give it a go.
And if we can knock it up in a barrow, it's going to be easy to do in a kitchen.
Giddy-up, dude.
Got an early start tomorrow, you know.
Morning, Kingy! Or should I say, ohayou gozaimasu! Now I reckon today's the day to hunt out more traditional Japanese food.
Tradition here equals seafood which equals sushi, which equals Tokyo fish market.
It is the engine room that drives Japanese food.
It's the biggest, best fish market in the world.
We've dreamt of visiting the Tsukiji fish market for 20 years but it means an early start.
30 in the morning.
Is it worth it? Yes! It is.
This is the lodestone for sushi lovers.
As a nation, The Japanese eat three times the amount of fish we do in the UK, which is believed to be part of the reason why they have the highest life expectancy in the world.
The Tsukiji fish market in central Tokyo is a living, breathing example of just how important fish is to Japanese cuisine.
2,000 tonnes of seafood arrive here every day by ship, truck and plane from all six continents of the world.
There is every variety of fish you could possibly think about.
You can buy anything, from penny-apiece sardines, to ã500 a pound sea slug caviar.
Oh, wow! Look at this.
Look at the size of those tuna.
We're here to taste the freshest sushi known to man at a traditional sushi bar near the market.
People start queueing before dawn.
We're meeting local sushi fiend Marina.
How are you? I'm Si.
Nice to meet you.
Nice to meet you, Marina.
Sorry, watch out.
Hey, it's quick here, isn't it? Yes.
I'm so looking forward to this.
I mean, we're both sushi hounds.
We love sushi.
We love Japanese food.
She's going to give us an insight into how sushi here differs from sushi back home.
Now before we start, you can take your little plate here.
And you've got the soy sauce in there so you can put a little bit.
Just soy? Yes.
Don't make it a bath.
Don't make it a bath! Say when? That's it.
Oh! Is that it? Yeah.
The good The proper Japanese only put a little bit of soy sauce on the plate.
Now do we put our wasabi in that and squidge it around? It's going to be wasabi in each sushi, so you don't need to add it yourself.
Because that's what everybody does in the UK.
You get the soy sauce, a bucketful of it, you take a bowl of wasabi mix it with that and then dunk the whole piece in.
Really? No, use it to flavour it.
Including us.
Yeah, OK.
Yeah, all right.
These bars specialise in just two types of sushi - nigiri, which is rice with fish on top and maki, little rolls with fish inside.
But there are over 20 different varieties of seafood.
Sushi in Britain tends to revolve around salmon and tuna but here, there's mackerel, sea urchin and fish roe.
We're starting with cuttlefish and the sushi equivalent of a sirloin steak, fatty tuna belly.
So when you put it in your mouth, put it sideways.
Ginger on top? Mmm! Sideways.
Shall we? Mixed with the rice and the fish, goes around the mouth a bit better.
Wasn't it? Mmm! I've just had a sushi-gasm! In Japan, people use their fingers instead of chopsticks to eat sushi and the ginger is just a palette-cleanser.
It's interesting looking at the nigiri here.
It's a big piece of fish and a small piece of rice.
At home, it's teensy-tiny piece of fish and loads of rice.
How often during the day do the Japanese people eat sushi? Not so often.
Once a week, once a month, if you have a family gathering.
So is sushi still seen as being celebratory or expensive to the Japanese? Mm.
It is, it is.
Now, back in the days, it was a snack, it was a street snack.
So it's very different but nowadays, yes, it became a specialty food.
I'm not surprised it's a special meal.
It's not cheap.
Eight pieces of nigiri will set you back about ã22, three times what you pay back home, but the fish is fresh, the nigiri are huge and it's all prepared by a sushi master, the Japanese equivalent of a master baker.
I'd love just to go behind the sushi counter and make one piece of nigiri properly at the hands of the master.
Do you think he'd allow me? Shall we ask? Wow! He says OK.
Good luck! Thank you.
This is my mate's complete lifetime ambition.
It can take up to ten years to become a sushi master with at least three spent learning to perfect rice before you're even let loose on a fish.
Let the knife do the work.
All right.
Whoa! Dangerous, dangerous! Yeah, yeah.
The sushi master's knife is said to be sacred like the sword was to the Samurai.
Season it.
Season it.
Taste very good.
Ah, first time? First time? Um, first time properly.
First time correctly.
Best sushi.
Best sushi.
Thank you so much.
You're so kind.
Thank you.
Better quit while I'm ahead! Look, it's holding together.
I take it sideways.
It's not bad, you know.
I admit, it looked brilliant.
Well, mate.
That was a genuine moment for me watching my mate do one of his dream things.
Oh, aye.
I did feel a bit like I was a pub pianist playing at the Festival Hall, d'you know what I mean? And now of course, I've learned at the hands of the master Well, that's it, isn't it? Yes.
Oh, I mean, by the time I get home, that one nigiri would've been a plethora of You know.
He's going to be unbearable.
Aye! Sushi bar number one.
It may take years to become a sushi master, Kingy, but I know a delicious recipe that we can all master in minutes.
We're in the middle of Tokyo in Kiyosumi gardens.
The buildings of Tokyo are encroaching on it, but here there are is an aura of peace.
And we're standing in the most beautiful teahouse you've ever seen.
What we are going to do here is show you ways of making great sushi that bridges that gap between East and West and gives you something lovely to make for your tea.
I am going to do you a kaisen don which fundamentally is a bowl of rice with a load of sashimi on the top.
I am going to be making a California roll, which is nothing to do with Japan, it's got more to do with what you get in the supermarket, but when it's made properly it's really delicious.
It all starts with rice, doesn't it? Everything.
Everything starts with rice.
This is Japanese sushi rice - you can get it in all the supermarkets - it's not soft-grained pudding rice.
It's kind of It's gets slightly sticky, but just enough.
Now, obviously, we are in a wooden teahouse of extreme beauty in the middle of Tokyo, and it's took a lot of trouble to get here.
We can't light a fire or boil stuff, so we've had to make the rice first.
Our system does work, it's a really, really acceptable sushi rice.
You wash it three times, you leave it to stand for 15 minutes, after that you simmer it for 10 minutes with a lid on, leave it for 20 minutes with the lid on and no heat, then you have a bowl of hot rice.
Tip the rice into a dish and season with rice wine vinegar, sugar and salt and leave it to cool, stirring occasionally.
And they will be pearlised, like they are.
Pearlised means they glisten and shine.
They have just enough stickiness to stick together but not so much that you're like a Labrador chewing a caramel! And you end up with rice like that.
Now you can start to make your sushi.
He's good, isn't he? Put half a sheet of nori seaweed on a bamboo rolling mat covered in clingfilm.
You can buy both the seaweed and the mat in large supermarkets.
Take the rice and cover that entire sheet of seaweed with the rice.
Then, for colour, taste and texture, add black and white sesame seeds.
Remember, this is the OUTSIDE of the California roll.
So now you pick this up carefully - the rice will stick to it - and turn it over and press it down.
Now the filling where to the Japanese people, it all goes a bit off-piste! So, we take some crab sticks.
As its name suggests, the California roll doesn't come from Japan.
The man who invented the California roll, was a gentleman called Ichiro Mashita at the Tokyo Kaikan hotel in Los Angeles, and he found, in the 1970s, that many Americans couldn't face eating fatty tuna - the fools - so he found the texture of avocado was similar so he got away with avocado.
And it was cheaper.
Also, the reason for the inside-out roll - the Americans didn't like the seaweed on the outside.
"Ew, seaweed! We can't do that!" So he puts the seaweed on the inside - an inside-out roll - so he hid it in the middle.
Now, some mayonnaise.
It's wrong, but it's right.
Some more of those lovely sesame seeds down the middle.
One item that is authentic, is this grated Japanese horseradish, or wasabi.
Fresh wasabi, Kingy.
Have you ever tasted it? No, I haven't, actually.
It's really mild.
Here you are.
You just take a big bit You know, it's very gentle.
Youtoad! It's natural, isn't it? Natural, all right! It'd blow your toupee flamin' off.
We'll add a little bit of that.
So it's seasoned, now you take your mat, roll it up .
and then just deftly, with confidence, turn it over.
Squidge squidge Roll And there we have .
perfect California roll.
So, that's the sushi done.
Now, I'm starting on the sashimi, which is essentially thinly sliced raw fish.
I'm using sea bream, tuna and salmon.
Make sure you check with your fishmonger that the fish is sushi grade, which means it's been pre-frozen, so it's safe to eat raw.
Freezing fish kills any harmful parasites that might be present.
The one fish you don't have to worry about is salmon farmed in the EU which prides itself on being parasite-fee.
One cut.
You don't stop, it's one.
That bit's waste, in't it? You are a flaming seal, you! Since you've been here.
That is so good! Look at that.
How beautiful is that? If you don't mind, Si, I'll pinch a few slivers so I can transform my California roll into a rainbow roll! Lay pieces of fish and avocado at an angle, along your California roll to create a rainbow effect wrap it in clingfilm and give it a good squeeze so it sticks together.
If you cut straight through the clingfilm, it keeps the fish on top.
Remember to take the clingfilm off, however! There you are, mate.
Your rainbow roll.
It's proper East meets West fusion.
Every piece of sushi has kind of got a different vibe to it.
Now, I need to assemble my sashimi masterpiece.
On the cooked rice I am adding Japanese shiso leaves, but any salad leaves will do.
Lay the raw fish on top with some tuna tartare for texture, and drizzle with a dressing made from citrus seasoning called yuzu, sashimi pepper and soy sauce.
That looks absolutely lovely! Yeah.
Finish off with black seaweed, salmon roe and wasabi, which can be found in any good Oriental supermarket.
I love that, and I think we've created a true culinary souvenir that we can take home.
That will remind me of Tokyo every time I do it.
How nice is that going to be? Yeah.
And it's not that hard! Come on, give it a go! I'm beginning to realise just how healthy the traditional Japanese diet really is - rice, fish and pickled vegetables are the cornerstones of their cuisine.
It's ridiculously low in fat! Do you know, Kingy, the average Japanese man only weighs 9.
5 stone, but there's one group of gentlemen, who weigh at least three times that! You know who they are? Sumo! We're heading across town to the Ryogoku district which has been the centre of the sumo world for over 200 years.
If the traditional Japanese diet is so healthy, we want to find out how these guys manage to get so big! A communal sumo training stable is called a heya.
This is one of only 43 in the whole of the country.
Sumo is as old as Japan itself.
It's the national sport, and has millions of fans.
Being allowed in the ring, is a true honour.
A bout of sumo rarely lasts for more than a minute.
The rules are simple - the wrestler who first exits the ring or touches the ground with any part of his body besides the soles of his feet, loses.
Do you know, I've seen sumo on the telly.
It's It's It's big, isn't it? I'd just try and give him a massive wedgy and toss him over.
It's more complicated than that.
The daily routine here is very strict.
They train from dawn on an empty stomach and don't sit down for breakfast until 11.
The more junior wrestlers are in charge of cooking breakfast.
Today that means us and wrestler Ray.
Is there anything we can do to help? We might not be good at wrestling, but we're good at cooking.
OK, maybe you can cut some chicken.
Yes, certainly.
Yeah, no problem.
I bet you look forward to this after fighting? Yes, everybody is so hungry.
How old were you, Ray, when you decided to be a sumo? I have taken sumo for about almost four years.
But many of these guys are doing sumo for more than 10 years.
Some people is even 15 years.
Long time.
What does your mother think? She like sumo very much.
So she is proud of me.
I have noticed that it doesn't matter what size sumo you are, if you are 250kg or 120kg, you will both fight together.
Isn't that a bit unfair? Oh, that's why everybody try to get big.
You eat and drink hard, because there's no weight limit.
There is no weight limit? No weight limit.
In order to pile on the pounds, sumo wrestlers all have to eat the same 10,000 calorie breakfast each day.
The centrepiece is a traditional hot pot called chankonabe, but this is the super-sized version.
So, is that the chanko pot? Yes, this is.
So, would you like to try put it in? Yeah.
All of it in? The hot pot is packed with meat and tofu for protein and fistfuls of traditional veg.
It all looks pretty healthy, but the wrestlers put on weight by eating huge quantities of it, along with copious portions of rice and a fry-up on the side! Sumo breakfast is very interesting.
We've had rice, ham and eggs, we've had fried dumplings And there's octopus, and then there's the broth.
It certainly beats a Weetabix! Could you ask the gentleman, when they first arrived at the stable, how heavy they were? And how heavy they hope to be.
First time he came, he weighed about 120kg.
He gained about 20kg.
And what about this gentleman? So, he said at first he was 215kg, now he weighs about 220kg.
He was already big man.
Now 220kg is almost 35 stone.
You know, during the course of your careers, do many of the sumo leave the stable and get married and have a family? How does your domestic life, your family life, fit in with the stable? If we become top sumo wrestlers, like makuuchi, then we can leave stable and have own apartment.
And get married.
Able to get married.
Sumo first, then marriage then family.
That's dedication, Ray.
Now, after breakfast, the lads take a nap in their dorm, before another round of fighting and a 10,000 calorie tea.
What's interesting, is sumo You live together, you play together, you fight together and you eat together.
Yes, like we all family.
Like brother.
I can sense that.
It's interesting.
The stable, it is a very masculine environment, where people fight, but there is a gentleness to it, there is a camaraderie.
And it's a nice place to be, isn't it? Now it is time for us to show the boys what we're made of.
You could've warned us! Do you ever suffer from chafing? We're supposed to be sumo and butch, don't talk about chafing! Have you done your bikini line? You have, haven't you? A quick whizz with the clippers.
You girl! Wrestlers wear the traditional mawashi, so they've got something to grip onto.
It's slipped at the back.
Shurrup! See, I told you.
But if it slips during a fight, it's instant disqualification.
So they have to be fitted really, really tightly.
Can you low yourself? Like he did? OK, thank you.
OK, that's good.
Is that enough? Yes.
Thank God for that.
And you lot at home can shut your faces! We'll start with a practice called shiko.
Now, if you want to join in at home, do feel free, you know.
It's not as easy as it looks.
It's about balance, coordination, and fluid movement.
Neither of which, Mr Myers and I possess.
OK, I think you guys are warmed up, now I will show you a small partner.
OK? Come in.
I think it might be your go first, Kingy! OK, he's saying let's try hard and push on to the edge.
I was trying! OK.
This is a clear demonstration of why being bigger is sometimes better.
It's like pushing against a tree.
And the tree is pushing back.
Thank you so much, Ray, for showing us this side of a sport that we didn't understand and appreciate and now we do.
The food, the camaraderie, the people, the sumo - it's fantastic.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
It's been an enormous privilege.
Thank you.
Oh! You can tell we've done a bit! I tell you what - sumo stable - has to be the ultimate boys club! Do you know, I love it here.
I could live here.
It's just so delightful - motorcycles, raw fish and pickles.
Enough dreaming we've got work to do.
Time to get to grips with one of the ingredients that defines Japanese cuisine.
Oh, yes! Now we're getting off the beaten track, dude! We are heading for the quiet backstreets of Tokyo's Chiyoda district where we'll be joining a group of local ladies who are taking a masterclass in how to make miso, run by teacher Maki.
First day at school, Kingy.
That's it, dude! I'm really looking forward to this.
I am, too.
The mystery of miso explained, eh? Miso is a paste made from fermented soya beans, and it's used in everything from soups and stews to sweets.
Making your own miso is enjoying a big comeback and in vogue again with career women in Tokyo, in the same way that baking has become so popular in Britain recently.
OK, from now, we will make rice miso together.
Come on, Maki! Miso comes in different varieties, but we're making classical rice miso.
Wow, that is incredible.
It's You want to say salty, but it is not.
The rice miso is so alive with flavour.
It is made from an enzyme-rich rice called koji, salt and boiled soya beans.
Oh, they're warm! Yes, boiled.
Oh, yeah.
So, that's the three basic ingredients.
It's all we need.
So, please mash the soya beans by your hand on the plastic bag.
You need your weight.
Erm Could I have another bag please? Trust you, Myers! Shooting soya beans everywhere! I'm too strong.
Sumo! Miso is a superfood packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, that means it does wonders for your digestive and general well-being.
Miso soup is an integral part of the Japanese diet, A miso soup a day, keeps the doctor away, they say.
Oh, wow! Like machine! Miso machine! Studies show miso may reduce the risks of some cancers, and some people even believe it increases protection against radiation.
A topic on everyone's lips here in Tokyo.
At home in Britain we heard such a lot about the disaster at Fukushima.
Do you think that's made the Japanese more conscious about food and what you eat? We want to know where the food is from, so, like, more and more people try to find out the source of the food.
Some people really go back to like, the old-fashioned ways, but it's really difficult in this kind of society, so, you know, I'm trying to go moderate, but trying to find out where the food is from, and that kind of stuff.
OK, so once the beans are smooth, make a ring of paste on the table.
It's OK.
Now, yes.
OK, next step, mix the salt and koji.
Together? Together, yes.
Like this.
Yes, yes, like this.
Then in a bag? Please mix them completely.
Aha! Koji is a bit like yeast.
As it ferments, it breaks the beans down, turning them into miso.
Shake these.
Shake, shake, shake.
The process is fun.
It's tactile, it's interesting.
And it's Japanese! It is.
Shall we do it in unison? Right, ready? So, everybody one way.
Ah dooo doo doo! Doo doo de doo doo de doo! We're all making miso! It is for beginners! Miso for your dinner! Ah! Add the mixture into the leaves, bit by bit.
About one-fifth.
The beans and the koji get kneaded together and shaped into balls.
Oh, good balls.
Thanks! And then please throw the balls into the pot.
Throw? Throw? Throw! Whee! Wow! Ho! Sorry.
So, you need to remove the air completely.
That's gone.
Well, he's removed the air, all right! He's welded the ball! Hey! You could see why you would want to do this at home.
There's something just basic about it.
It's like making bread, isn't it? Yeah.
Or it's like making your preserves, your pickles for the winter.
Making strawberry jam when it's in season.
You put the effort in, you have a good time, and you have something really tasty at the end of it.
Fabulous! Come here a minute, would you? You've got it all over your glasses again.
It's dried on, I cannae get it off! The miso is sprayed with alcohol so it doesn't go mouldy, and left to ferment for up to a year.
Do you know, we'd love to use some of your miso and cook a dish for the ladies.
If we cook for you, would you come and join us and have a taste? See what you think? Yes.
Now, this is a challenge! Yes! We've done it again, haven't we?! We have! We could have made it easy and just ate it ourselves.
But now we have ladies who know About miso.
And, clearly, very good food.
Smashing! One, two, three, four I think I'm going Japanese I really think so! Well, this is a challenge! I know.
That miso's so fine, and look at it.
It's the caviar of the miso world! It's fabulous, isn't it? Now, we're cooking something very Japanese, in a bid to win over the ladies.
Black cod marinated in white miso, served with oriental green vegetables.
Anyway, this is black cod.
It's a cold water fish from the Northern Pacific.
Black cod isn't really cod.
It's sablefish, and it's especially rich in omega 3 oils, which helps prevent heart disease.
It's a bit pricy, mind.
But miso has such a strong flavour, it will enhance any white fish.
It'll make cheaper fish like pollock and other such things which aren't quite so tasty, really delicious.
In fact, if you smeared your shoes in miso, you could suck 'em and achieve satisfaction! The first process is to marinade this lovely, lovely fish in all manner of wonderful ingredients from the Orient.
We've kind of used lots of nice Japanese bits that you can get in supermarkets at home.
Or you can get something that's roughly equivalent.
To make the marinade, mix the miso up with some Sake, some freshly-grated ginger, and some sugar.
We want this fish to be sweet and tasty.
And possibly the best fish you've ever tasted.
Then finish off with a splash of Japanese rice wine vinegar.
Right, mate, that's it.
That's it.
Just put your little pinkie in there, just for a minute.
Oh, this Keep the skin on, because we want the fish to hold together.
And liberally slather it.
It's a great word, "slather", isn't it? Slather! Slather it! Immerse it, smother it, love it.
Where's the clingfilm gone, Horatio? I will furnish you with said clingfilm! While the fish marinates, there's time to make the sesame dressing.
Now, there's a key about toasting sesame seeds.
You see this here? Look.
I just want to show you a top tip when you're toasting.
What happens is, you'll see a sheen on the top of the sesame seed.
And that means that the oil's coming out and that's starting to toast, nice and gently.
It's gone a sheen on it like a sumo's buttock! Hasn't it? Look.
At that point, what you have to do is make sure that you keep a close eye on it, because they go like that.
The seeds aren't just a sprinkling over the top of the veg.
They're going to juj up a dressing that should be like Japan in a bowl! We're starting with Dashi, which is a Japanese fish stock, citrus juice, and a sprinkling of sugar and pepper.
Grind the seeds, not too finely.
You want a bit of a rough paste, you know, not "paste" paste.
See? You want a bit of a texture on your greens, don't you? You do, mate, you do that.
Just stir them into the dressing, and we're ready to cook.
A splash of vegetable oil.
I want quite a lot of heat in this, so no olive oil.
Nothing that's going to flavour it or burn.
Now, take your fish, skin side down.
And sizzle it off.
And we cook it until we've got a little crust on it.
Oh, the smell of it is epic! I think I'm there now, Si.
It's beginning to colour through just a little bit at the bottom.
And the marinade is just kind of starting to caramelise.
So I'm going to cover this.
Turn the heat down, so it just steams for about four minutes and cooks through in its own "vapeur".
While the fish cooks, steam the greens.
We're using choi sum, but you can use pak choi or even spinach.
What's great about it, when you steam them for a minute and a half, you get this lovely textural difference.
Because the leaf wilts and it goes very soft.
And the stems, you've still got an integrity and a crunch to it.
Hello! Hi.
Are you OK? Are you ready? Yes, we're slightly nervous.
Two minutes.
Two minutes? I'm so hungry! I know.
Don't you worry, you won't be disappointed, I promise.
Thank you.
I'm waiting! OK, Kingy, skates on! Finish the fish with a sizzle.
It's there, Kingy.
Good grief! This is like Miso MasterChef! Time to plate up! Wow! Oh, I hope it's as good as it looks! Wow! You don't have to be nice, but it would help! Mmmm! Is it good? Fantastic! Oh, yes! Get in! Get in! Excellent.
Mmmm! Tasty! Good? Mmm! Fermented Japanese food, it's fabulous.
Wow! Oh, that's worth it! It's very soft with that white miso, isn't it? What do you think? Tastes very Japanese! Yes! What can we say?! Yes! Oh, what a compliment indeed! Thank you.
We're doing our best to learn.
Yes, we are.
We are.
Thank you.
Wooh hoo, ooh hoo hoo! And as the sun sets on our miso triumph, like the rest of Tokyo, we've got that Friday feeling! Wooh hoo, ooh hoo hoo! Wooh hoo, ooh hoo hoo! There's one group of residents who have a very good reason to party.
And that's Tokyo's army of office workers, known as "salary men".
Friday marks the end of a long working week that involves commuting on the most crowded public transport system in the world.
Woo hoo, ooh hoo hoo! Friday night! Right-oh, lads, Friday night, a few beers? Of course! Friday night! Right, lead on! Yes, that one there! Let's go there! We're going to go! We're having kebabs! Tonight, we're guests of Taku, Shuya, and Kiyohiko.
Their favourite haunt is a narrow alley called Memory Lane, packed with dimly-lit bars known as Izakaya.
These are to the salary men what our local pub is to us.
But, unlike at home, you're still allowed to smoke tabs.
Salary men are notorious for burning the candle at both ends and are known for drinking into the wee small hours.
Cheers! On a Friday night! Just explain to us, what do you guys do? What is a salary man? The first thing is, we are salary men, we have to make money, we have to work hard, probably long hours compared to British companies.
So how many hours? Start nine o'clock and finish like eight, nine, ten in the evening.
16 hours days and six days a week aren't uncommon and overtime is often unpaid.
When do your families see you? Do you just see families at weekends? I have a wife and, erm Is she OK about you? No, no.
Before, I used to go out, like, every night.
After working.
Even like 11 o'clock or 12 o'clock, I'd still go out drinking.
But these days, after getting married, like my wife said, "Come home early!" Yeah.
But sometimes I just try to grab some beers and go home like, 10 o'clock or 11 o'clock.
Yeah, me too! Then I say I've been working late, and it's been dreadful! Yeah.
So what about you guys? Are you guys married? Or do you want to be married, or? Not yet.
You are bachelor guys! I'm single.
You're single? Yes.
I'm not yet, I'm single.
You're single too? Shuya and Kiyohiko aren't alone.
61% of Japanese men aged between 18 and 34 are single.
Cheers, mate! Mr Myers is all pleased! Thank you very much.
Peace and longevity of Japanese drinking culture! Yes, indeed! And the wife'll kill me when this goes out on telly! Back home, a night down the local means a few pints of lager and a packet of crisps.
But for these guys, the food they eat at bars like these replaces the family meal.
A salary man's staple is Yakitori, which means "grilled bird".
Most commonly chicken, but pork skewers are popular too.
The meat is basted with a sweet sauce of soy and mirin called tare.
A bit like, well, teriyaki.
So, by the way, a little bit of explanation.
That chicken skin, some people say no skin, but we love skin.
Japanese people love skin.
Now, what I'm eating is liver.
Liver, yeah.
And that gives me a lot of blood.
So when you're tired Yeah.
you're going to eat it.
Iron, iron.
Puts zip in your pip! I've got the chicken, and it's like the tenderest, juiciest chicken thigh.
The great thing is, it's such good beer food, isn't it? Definitely, yeah.
It's savoury, it's tangy.
And of course, it's like tapas, you can order more.
The smell in here's lovely, isn't it? Cos it's like the barbecued food.
There's a little bit of tobacco, which is reminiscent of pubs in the old days in the UK.
And it's it's just lovely and convivial.
I love it here! It's good, isn't it? Cor, look at them! Wow! Wow! Now, these are good beer snacks.
Excellent! Yeah, this is perfect food for a salary man.
That's why a salary man can work hard, because the outside is vitamins from the pepper and the inside is the meat, protein.
It's a high protein diet, no carbohydrate apart from the several pints! It's empty calories! You know, you are just drinking with samurais.
Three samurais.
Salary men, just like samurai, we need protein and we have to drink beer! Are you three having a laugh?! Well, the beer has always given us delusions of grandeur! Cheers! Cheers! God bless Friday! Learning to cook Yakitori can take years and a good chef will never reveal his sauce recipe.
Oh, nice to meet you! Hello, chef.
You're bikers? Bikers! Bikers, that's what we are.
What's the secret of good Yakitori? Love! How long have you been a chef, Chef? Sorry? How long have you been cooking? Cooking? Yeah, how long? A long time.
My father, me, 65 years.
65 years? Yeah.
My father, me.
Together 65 years? Yes.
Chef, could I have a go at cooking? Cooking, yes.
Yeah? Could me come round there? No! No, no, no! No? You I don't think he's going to let me in! Could I cook from this side? No! Could I cook from this side? You? Yeah! I am very well known in the United Kingdom for my cooking, as is my compatriot! He's not impressed, dude.
Most kitchens would welcome me in.
You deluded loon! Got to light the pipe.
Belly pork.
Goes on fire.
No, pork! Pork! OK, tongue.
Tongue, thank you.
Slowlio! Slowlio! Slow! Yakitori is traditionally cooked over special white charcoal called Binchotan.
Prized by chefs for its burning temperature of over 1,000 degrees Celsius.
That's beautiful.
Beautiful, thank you.
Hold on, he cooked it, not you! That one there! So, Si, taste that Yakitori and tell me it's not great.
Thank you.
There you are, Kingy, knock yourself out on the kebabs that I didn't cook.
But I did try.
You did, mate, you did.
I wanted to be there.
It was a sterling effort.
I don't know what he does, but it's from the heart.
The eating part of the evening is done.
But the night is yet still young, Mr King.
And, if you're a salary man in Tokyo, there's only one way to push through until the dawn! Hello, Tokyo! Karaoke! Here I am! Come on, now! It's the national pastime, adored by roughly 50 million people across the country.
Who sing along badly to backing tracks in booths and bars, hotels and hostess clubs, in just about every corner of Japan.
Rocking like a hurricane! The Japanese aren't the only nation of karaoke lovers.
The industry's estimated to be worth billions of pounds worldwide.
One, two, three, four! So, Sally can't wait She knows it's too late As she's walking on by It's probably only in Japan, though, that people are so worried about a bad karaoke performance, they hire coaches to help them.
So, mate, we're so far from home, but I had a thoroughly good Friday night.
Good food, good company, and a bit of a sing-song! And it feels kind of familiar, doesn't it? Yeah.
It's like a bit of there's a bit of drinking, there's a bit of kebab going on.
It might be a slightly different environment, but the vibe's there, definitely.
A good night, I think.
Yes, it was a good night.
So, it's a good night from me And it's a good night from him.
Good night! Good night.
Do you know, mate, I think whatever the Japanese do, they put their heart and soul into it.
And the passion is what makes their food so incredible.
You're right, they really appreciate and respect their food.
Whether it's a fast-food snack or a gourmet sushi experience.
And it's that attitude, together with the wholesomeness of the ingredients, that's the secret to their health.
Well, I don't know about you, mucker, but I can't wait to find out what the rest of Japan has to offer.
Next time, we head to the cultural and traditional heart of Japan for noodles Kobi beef I think that retails around about ã3,000.
And drinking games! Oh, this is so much better than darts!