The Japanese Diet Described at FLO Bellevue Japanese Restaurant

Why the Japanese Diet is Healthiest in the World

One of the things which explains the health and longevity of Japanese people is found in their diet. The traditional Japanese diet is largely fresh and unprocessed, very little of refined foods or sugar. In fact, the British Medical Journal has recently revealed that the Japanese diet reduced the risk of heart disease and stroke.

A diet high in grains and vegetables, moderate in animal products, and minimal in dairy and fruit have contributed to the decreased risk of dying early. The Japanese’s reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, lowest rates of obesity and long life expectancy are attributed to a diet high in fish and soy.

Japan’s diet has changed little over the centuries, hence, it has held on to a very traditional cuisine. The country, being made of scattered groups of islands, enabled them to rely more on marine life for their sustenance, consuming a lot more fish compared to other Asian countries, including raw fish.

Japanese staples consist of rice, cooked and pickled vegetables, plus a lot of pickled, fermented and smoked foods. Soybeans in the form of tofu or fresh edamame and other beans like aduki as well as fermented soybean products such as miso and natto are part of the diet. While tofu contributes amino acids, iron, calcium and other micro-nutrients, fermented foods aid healthy digestion. With a wide variety of land and sea vegetables such as seaweed, the Japanese consume pack-fulls of health-boosting minerals, reducing the risk of high blood pressure.

Not forgetting also, the Japanese are great tea drinkers, especially matcha tea, known to fight cancer, viruses and heart disease.

The Japanese behavior of eating small food servings in rotation is also key to healthy living. Where sweets and snacks are concerned, they enjoy these, too, but with customary restraint.

The country tend to have a healthy attitude to food and eating. There’s a traditional saying among the Japanese – “hara hachi bu”, meaning to eat until you are 80% full, and start teaching it to their children from a young age. This is clearly a way of life and so it is not surprising why the Japanese diet is the world’s healthiest.

Traditional and Fashionable at FLO

Find at Flo a lovely and fashionable setting to dine on the world’s healthiest foods. Also find why Flo is the best among Japanese sushi restaurants in The Best of 425 from 425, Eastside’s community magazine. See readers’ choices of the best of everything, tallied from thousands of votes. It describes Flo as a tasting tour of Japan without leaving Bellevue. So if you’re nearby, come see us and find out why we are readers’ pick.

Bellevue Japanese Restaurant: Having Calamari or Squid?

Know Your Molluscs

Most people will think that calamari and squid are the same thing. Or that once squid is cooked, it becomes calamari, so believed in some places. Or that calamari is just the Italian term for squid. They look quite the same anyway. Well, not at all. They are two different species and hence, not the same. And for that matter, even cuttlefish. The three are closely related cephalopod molluscs found in virtually all of the world’s oceans.

You can tell squid from calamari by the fins that form an arrow shape on the end of the hood. Squids have fins, but these run only for a short distance on the sides of the body. The fins of calamari extend almost all the way down the hood. Squid is generally from Nototodarus gouldi, also known as Gould’s squid, calamari from the genus Sepioteuthis, sepa referring to ink. Squid is generally larger in size than calamari.

At the table, squid is tougher, calamari is more tender. There’s also a price difference between them – about $10 per kilo – calamari being more expensive. You can make squid as tender as the flesh of calamari by marinating it or slow cooking the squid. Because of its tenderer flesh calamari cooks sooner and is tastier. It is best for frying, grilling, and stir frying dishes.

Squid is best for stuffing and stewing. Generally, cuttlefish is the most flavoursome of the three. With nearly all their parts edible, the cooking rules for all three are the same – either short cooking time on high heat or long slow cook on low heat. Anything done in between will result in a tough dish.

In Japan, squid is used in almost every type of dish – sushi, sashimi, tempura, stewed (nabemono’), and grilled (”ikayaki). it is best to eat it as sushi (nigiri way), and can be also sautéed or simmered with vinegar.

Enjoying Molluscs in Bellevue

Over at Flo, your Japanese restaurant in Bellevue, we serve delectable hot or cold specialties of your three favorite mollusks. Try our sunomono salad with squid, sashimi squid, sushi, and our crunchy calamari tempura. You can also ask us to have any of them prepared the way you want it – for a more enjoyable dining experience.

The Toro in Tuna is the Best in Bellevue

From the Underbelly of the Bluefin Tuna

If you like raw Japanese tuna, you’ll easily say that the toro in the tuna is your favorite part. True toro is only taken from bluefin tuna, though there are many types of tuna, like yellowfin and big eye, that are made into sushi. Toro comes from the fatty underbelly of the tuna, divided into grades based on the marbling of the meat. Otoro is the most valuable toro, from the underside of the fish close to the head. A lesser grade toro is chutoro, from the belly in the middle and back of the fish and is less marbled.

In Japan, when bluefin tuna arrives at the fish market, it is handled with care so as not to bruise or damage the flesh. A special tool is used to get the core samples of the flesh and then its color, texture and flavor is assessed before it is priced. When it comes to the fatty belly of the tuna, the higher the quality of the cuts, the pricier it is.

The high quality otoro is pale pink with rich white streaks; the chutoro has less of it while being more fatty than cuts from the upper side of the fish. Of all the seasons, winter is the time that toro is more flavorful as tuna accumulates more fat. And because it cannot withstand prolonged freezing, it is best eaten fresh.

Toro beguiles many fish eaters because of its delightful flavor. The belly fat combined with raw tuna flesh leaves a buttery melting sensation in the mouth as it is eaten. It is often used two ways – in sashimi and nigiri sushi, displaying their distinct beautiful marblings It is also sometimes used to make seared rare tuna, grilled outside and creamy cool inside.

While toro is widely consumed in Japan, it is surprisingly only available in some specialty Japanese restaurants in coastal United States. Finding places like these and experiencing the gastronomical delights of the toro is just rewarding.

Flo: Bellevue’s Favorite Sushi Restaurant

Right here at Flo, your Japanese restaurant in Bellevue, experience our Otoro Fatty Tuna that is one of our more popular gems among other classics. We are truly your authentic and fresh, traditional yet fashionable fusion spot. In fact, Flo has once again been selected as best among Japanese sushi restaurants in The Best of 425, a 2017 survey release by 425, Eastside’s favorite community magazine.

Find here readers’ choices of the best of everything, tallied from thousands of votes. It describes Flo as a tasting tour of Japan without leaving Bellevue. So if you’re nearby, come see us and find out why we are readers’ pick.

Wonders of Enoki Mushrooms in Bellevue

The Healthy Enoki

You must have seen those pure white, long and slim stems and small caps atop of the enoki mushroom in your soups or salads. They are also called Enokitake or Winter Mushrooms. They are commonly found in East Asian dishes, particularly Japanese dishes like nabemono and sukiyaki. Tender yet firm in texture, they come with a crunchy bite and a mild, refreshing fruity flavor.

Available year-round, the mushrooms grow wild on wood stumps, in bundles, of certain trees like the Chinese Hackberry tree, mulberry and persimmon trees. Other types of wild enoki mushrooms differ in color and texture, but experts advise to avoid slimy and brownish stems. If you get cultivated mushrooms, since they are not exposed to light, their stems are white; also grown in a carbon dioxide-rich environment that promotes the long stems. Wild enoki mushrooms have brownish and shorter, thicker stems and larger caps.

You can complement soups, salads, stir-fries and noodle dishes with enoki. They can also be added to omelets, risottos, hot pot and curries. Chefs like to roll up the mushrooms in spring rolls and sushi or wrapped with bacon or thin slices of beef and grilled. They add flavor and texture to soba noodles, soy, ginger, bacon, lemongrass, fresh herbs and seafood. Getting them fresh, they will remain crisp and firm in the refrigerator for a week.

The mushrooms are high in dietary fiber and protein, and rich in the minerals niacin, calcium, potassium, selenium and iron. They’re also known to have anti-inflammatory properties and are immune system boosters. Cultivated for hundreds of years, they are one of the first mushrooms to be studied for cancer prevention. It was found out by an epidemiologist in Japan that people living in the Nagano prefecture had unusually low cancer rates for the period 1972 to 86. He learned that the region was the center of cultivation for enoki mushrooms.

Healthy Mushrooms in Bellevue

Come by Flo, your Bellevue Japanese restaurant for some authentic classics. Our ingredients are carefully sourced and always fresh for your dining pleasure, such as our mushrooms – shiitake or enoki.

Omakase: For the Brave and Adventurous in Bellevue

What You Should Know Before Ordering Omakase

When a diner says to the chef: “I will leave it to you,” it is actually a fine tradition at Japanese eating places that allows the chef to let his creative juices flow in making your dish. “Omakase!” is trusting your chef and at the same time hoping you will have a great dining experience. Though before you go omakase, bear in mind a few details.

Does your restaurant always have fresh ingredients in stock everyday? If so, then you can trust easily. Not all, but most large or chain restaurants or other restaurants with limited ingredients may not do omakase to your liking. Small, intimate restaurants may have the culture of omakase. They usually have counter seats and an open kitchen. It is best if you have a seat next to the chef.

You can also get a conversation going with your chef. A small social interaction can do wonders for your dish. Your chef may even explain to you his creation and tell you why he is choosing certain ingredients over others. If it’s ok with him, you can snap a few photos of him while working your dish. Just be careful with personal questions. Some may indulge you.

Omakase might not be for you if you have dietary restrictions. It is not polite to instruct your chef what and what not to put into your dish. It is not how it works. You can’t even ask what you’ll get. The polite thing to do is to eat your dish when the chef offers it.

At the end of the meal, you’ll get a slip of paper that indicates what they’re charging you for your omakase, drinks included. Do not ask for an itemized bill, it is not to be considered an expense, but a request for a wonderful meal. The price may be hefty but its value is immeasurable. Trust the chef and expect to be delighted.

Delightful Omakase at FLO

Trust your chef at Flo, your Bellevue Japanese Restaurant, where omakase is always a surprise and always to wonder about. Experience our chef’s creations at their best. Worry not for you will know how much the experience will cost you. Our omakase is always a five-course tasting menu to enjoy.