Thursday, May 3, 2018

Japan Autumn Nov 2017 一人で日本の旅 - Genmai Cafe Hibinokate 玄米カフェ日々の糧

Visited 18.11.2017 (Sat)

Tiring day. Day 13 was a wet day and I "fought" a battle against the strong wind and intermittent drizzling with my umbrella (which eventually was damaged) while travelling the entire day. Was drenched, hungry and tired by the time I returned to Yonago JR Station in the evening and immediately set off to search for an eatery to settle my dinner. Followed a recommendation in ことりっぶ co-Trip travel guidebook to Genmai Cafe Hibinokate 玄米カフェ日々の糧, located on the second floor of Hotel Sanada (ホテル真田) and within walking distance from the train station. Hibinokate is a humble restaurant offering vegan cuisine and one of the few to do so in San’in region.

Food for health. My encounter with vegetarian food back at home has mostly been stir fried beehoon accompanied with mock meat (my favourite has got to be the fried mock goose meat) and vegetable curry sold in hawker centers and food courts. I have to admit that my knowledge and exposure to vegetarian food in Singapore has been pretty limited. In Genmai Cafe Hibinokate, there are no meat, fish, eggs, dairy products and chemical preservatives used in their preparation of food. While reading the menu of Hibinokate, I was already attracted by the tantalising food photos which completely reformed my impression of vegetarian food. The lady owner, who spoke good English, knowing that it was my first time here recommended me to try their set meal. Food was prepared upon order and I was already drooling to the mouthwatering aroma generated from the cooking coming from the open concept kitchen. 

Home cooked food. I knew I was in for a treat when my dinner was served!  The set meal comprised of brown rice (or genmai) topped with mukago (yam tubercles which looked like tiny potatoes), salad with sweet potatoes mash, several side dishes of vegetables, main dish and miso soup. Undoubtedly, the highlight was the main dish. Mash daikon was mixed with glutinous rice flour and shaped into a patty. Next, it was pan-fried till light golden brown and eventually coated with a savoury sauce. I am not a fan of daikon radish (my tastebuds deciphered it as peculiar) but the seasoning and cooking method brought out the sweetness of daikon and I enjoyed it a lot. Vegetables used in Hibinokate are also freshly harvested from farms, which they collaborated with, every morning. The sense of assurance you get from eating food here, where meals are well thought out and prepared, nutritious and beneficial to health is the same as that derived from eating home cooked food.

Wonderful dessert. Dinner was so satisfying that I placed my order for dessert without further ado. The restaurant has a very homely and cosy ambience which made me want to dwell here a little bit longer. Ordered their satsuma yam (さつま芋) Mont Blanc, which is also eggless and does not contain any form of dairy product, and a cup of earl grey tea to go with it. It was equally delicious; the baked tart was crispy, filled with cream rich in yam and soy milk flavour! All the desserts served here are also handmade and the menu changes regularly. Patrons can always look forward to new creations added to their menu when visiting this vegetarian restaurant.

To conclude, this enjoyable meal I had at Genmai Cafe Hibinokate has convinced me that vegetarian food can be healthy and delectable at the same time. Like all cuisine, it requires excellent knowledge of the ingredients, how they can complement one another in various aspects and endless effort put in by the chef, through multiple trial and error, to perfect the taste.

Discovery. In Japan, normally tea/water is served to guests at restaurants. At Hibinokate, the tea served was very different from the ones I have come across previously. It tasted like green tea but it has an aromatic scent coupled with the fragrance of tea, and a refreshing aftertaste. Found out from the owner later that the soothing smell came from holy basil and tea used was organic Muso Bancha (無双番茶), cultivated from mature tea leaves and stem. Wanted to recreate this taste when I return home but I have yet to do so till now...


Genmai Cafe Hibinokate 玄米カフェ日々の糧
〒683-0053 鳥取県米子市明治町197 ホテル真田2F
Opening hours: 1100 - 1500 hrs; 1700 - 2030 hrs; closed on Sundays.

How to get there?
About 5 minutes walk away from Yonago JR Station.

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