Living in Japan, there are many times when I miss my mom’s cooking. I dream of the stewed pork and potatoes in red sauce she makes every week, and the perfectly steamed and seasoned Mexican rice to go along with every dish.
The homesickness grows heavier in the winter when I think back to Christmases with my abuelita’s tamales washed down with an ice-cold bottle of Coca-Cola. I dream of the scent of corn dough wafting from the kitchen, of unwrapping a perfect bundle, the steam rising fresh out of the pot and digging into the soft delicacy. Needless to say, replicating this feeling is impossible, however, replicating the flavor is somewhat possible while stationed in Japan.
Since some of us aren’t lucky enough to be able to head home for every holiday season, recreating a taste of home abroad is better than nothing. Shopping at the commissary might get you a good selection of some of your staples, but your shopping list might come up short depending on the season and availability.
So, where do you get the ingredients you need to match the sweet aromatic Café de Olla or the corn husks to wrap the bundles of heaven we call tamales? The key ingredients integral to the dishes of my childhood and those from other Latin American countries are not easy to find in Japan, but some many transplants and businesses are making it a little easier.
Source: Japan Stripes