Sunday, August 18, 2013

Favorite Foodie Television: Matsuko No Shiranai Sekai (マツコの知らない世界)

My next favorite foodie television introducing today is Matsuko no Shiranai Sekai (Official Site Wiki Page). A translation of the title is "Matsuko's Unknown Worlds" or "The Unknown Worlds of Matsuko"...

This is the third post of my series btw but I since decided not to number each with parts because they won't really be in any significant order and I'll be jumping around quite a bit. But anyway this program is another Variety Style (バラエティ) television where the category seems to encompass everything and anything entertainment related these days. To be honest to introduce all these Baraetii Bangumi shows that has some sort of food segment in would be impossible because most do, imagine due to it being an easy way of getting viewership ratings in Japan. But the ones I've covered and will be covering I find consistently interesting and they have a good portion of the show dedicated to food.

As the name gives away, the show's host is the currently super popular Matsuko Deluxe. You may have seen him her in Japanese Mister Donut commercials. It covers all topics of nerdities, maniac and otaku, and I am guessing directly reflects Matsuko-san's personal geeky interests. Some covered in the past were the 'unknown world of high-end headphones,' Lego bricks, maps and city planning, competent taxi drivers (so random), movie stuntmen, everything you wanted to know about restrooms, aqua dams, convenience store ice snacks and uninhabited tropical islands. All extremely fascinating when explained by experts in their discipline and further dissected by the razor sharp wit of Matsuko-san.

I mentioned in a previous Foto-Buffet post but EatNapo-san was recently a guest to help disclose the undiscovered world of the Japanese Spaghetti Naporitan. I wasn't sure how much more was to cover since he had already been on a few network shows but things came to an unexpected twist when Matsuko-san first focused on the evident easygoing good character of EN, haha. A few thoughts on what constitutes as a Napo, Naporitan-centric cities (Shinbashi still considered the 'seichi' holy ground because of the concentration of Salarymen), odd spots to find good Napo's such as old kissaten cafes above pachinko parlors, and of course a few tastings of Napo-san's favorites (who claims to have eaten over 2000 plates).

A discussion of whether the rather luxurious shrimp is an appropriate ingredient for the humble Napo ensues, but the segment peaks when the question of the existence of a true Naporitan Boom is in fact present or not was brought up. Interestingly the answer was both a yes and no. Was explained that while there is definitely a lot more Naporitans seen on konbini shelves and restaurant menus these days, some even with a gyoretsu line out, the buzz seems to subside rather quickly after a week or so of its introduction. The best metaphor was maybe how while there are people crazy enough to quit their jobs to pursue a life of ramen making, you can't really say such is true for the Napo. Still, the dish's staying power and cultural mark as a genuine comfort food in Japan is definitely permanent. It was nice to see EatNapo-san and the nostalgic meal get some deserved airtime again. :)

October of last year there was a two-hour special that was completely food-centric (was so great that I have it archived on DVD). Went over were the unknown world of Japanese frozen foods, instant ramen, canned foods and yakitori. I'm in food curious nerd heaven!

Apparently a whole lot of advancements were made in Japanese frozen food technology in recent years. The top-five list of most sold per year, to of course the personal top list of the guest expert were discussed. Every company seems to have its unique strengths and this was all explained in detail. Super fascinating. Too bad we're lucky to maybe get a fraction of them in our Japanese markets here. :P

Easily my favorite topic was that of the instant ramen. It was expert Ooyama-san's (who supposedly had eaten 10,000+ different makes to date) second appearance on the show but he had plenty more things to share.

Quickly goes over some of the high sellers and recent spotlighted including the relatively new game-changing phenomenon Maruchan Seimen brand (which of course we don't freak'n get here...). It quickly sold hundred million servings the first six-months after introduction and made 14-billion yen the first year. Said there is a definite resurgence/boom back to package (brick style) ramen, reasoned perhaps because of the increase in frugality of people with the economy.

A news update that the Shirokuma (polar bear) Shio Ramen from Sapporo Maruyama Zoo introduced previously is said to have octupled in sales since aired the previous year. The power of television.

A few more tastings from several top-three lists for cup-men and also cup-yakisoba. Above, Ooyama-san wiping each lid clean because he collects every one, haha. He later goes over the entire line of Cup Noodles to date. Did you know the very first was actually a Ten-Soba? It was re-released January of 2012 for a limited time. I know I missed plenty of these limited time flavors but the "Buta-hotate-dori" (pork, scallops and chicken) I really wished I could have tried...

The segment ends with the two visiting an Instant Ramen Izakaya, Sakura. where a person can taste rare regional packaged ramen from all over Japan.

The canned foods bit was actually very short, but still fun. Ah man, I totally remember that canned Yakitori from Hotei Foods...

Last is Yakitori Journalist Hantsu Endou going through the seductive attractions of the Japanese grilled chicken skewers. Says he has had 7000+ yakitori meals for various articles throughout his career.

He covers a few famous places and further explains the importance of the first three skewers. Recommends in strict order of Shio-Shio-Tare, or salt, salt, then your first with tare sauce. The rich flavor of tare can easily overpower one's palette and skew (no pun intended) the tone of the rest of the meal. So it is best to start with the simple seasoned with only salt. Below Matsuko-san having a taste of the Seseri, a more rare portion of chicken's throat/neck meats. Because it is a muscle that the animal uses a lot, it is on the firmer side but with lots of flavor.

Some Tebasaki wings are had as well as some minced chicken Tsukune, both done in Shio and Tare flavoring. Since Matsuko-san can't eat any odd bits the tastings were focused on your standards.

The foodie television I share next shouldn't be a Variety type. Maybe a cooking show or a documentary style. There's plenty to cover so hope some are enjoying the series! :)


caninecologne said...

Wow, these shows sound so fascinating! Thanks for sharing your faves. I saw your link on how to make the juicy hamburg steak and now I want to try making that too!

Dennis K. said...

Hi CC! I hardly watch any local television now and I canceled my cable account months ago...