President Obama's first mission upon touching down in Tokyo: a fish expedition. Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe joined Obama at Sukiyabashi Jiro, the three Michelin-starred restaurant made (even more) legendary by the 2011 documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi."
Jiro Ono, the 86-year-old chef/owner, still presides over every bite of the set menu. Obama seemingly approved, telling the pool of reporters assembled outside: "That's some good sushi right there."
Japan's first state visit by an American president in decades comes as the United States works to reassure Abe and other Asian leaders that the U.S. remains committed to turning foreign policy focus on them. The weeklong tour will also take Obama to South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.
CNN's Dan Shapiro dined at the three-Michelin-starred restaurant in 2012 and shared a dish-by-dish account of his extraordinary 39-minute, $375 dinner of a lifetime:
(Travel + Leisure) Dim sum calls for dumplings, and about 55,000 are sold annually at State Bird Provisions in San Francisco. But not classics like shrimp-filled har gow. Chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski prefer their dumplings with guinea hen. “Dim sum service offers a slew of freedoms with our cooking,” explains Brioza, whose menu includes steak tartare in lettuce cups.
The pleasure of a dim sum meal also comes from the showmanship and ordering experience. At Seattle’s New Hong Kong, for example, carts glide past diners and attendants raise the lids off steamer baskets, bellowing out what’s inside, whether sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves or garlicky spareribs. It’s all washed down with generous cups of fragrant tea.
Read on for more of America’s best dim sum destinations, and share your favorites in the comments below.
Under the bright lights of the waterfront Haedomari warehouse in Shimonoseki, Japan, tails twitch and bodies writhe in defiance of the onset of death.
The floor is awash with seawater as Yoshi Yanagawa moves down a line of 20 boxes, each containing about 15 puffer fish of varying values, lengths and states of coveted plumpness.
"Eeka! Eeka!" he chants, as 20 or so interested parties put their hands up to bid.
The puffer fish, or "fugu" in Japanese, gulp in more air, ballooning out their white belly sacs.
Editor's note: Coinciding with the annual Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament (March 28-30) CNN is profiling parts of Hong Kong in a special series.
Creative new takes on dim sum are a common trend in Hong Kong restaurants these days, particularly at the higher end, with chefs incorporating traditionally Western ingredients such as truffles, foie gras or Maine lobster.
At the same time, many classic dim sum dishes have fallen out of fashion, making them harder to find in the city.
The first thing offered to me at Suntory's Yamazaki whisky distillery - the birthplace of Japanese whisky - is a glass of water. It's so delicious it comes as a shock.
Even before the reason is explained to me, I'm asking: why does it taste so crisp, so different?
The distillery is surrounded by beautiful bamboo forests on a mountain - they must be getting to my brain.
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