Salmon and Lotus

lotus root chipAccording to Ms. Shimbo, “namban” means “southern barbarian.” This word was applied to the Portuguese and Spanish, the first Westerners who came to Japan in the 16th century. Until that time, the Japanese traded mosty with Koreans and Chinese. “Namban” reflects the shock that the Japanese felt upon encountering Europeans with their large noses and eyes, hairy bodies, and height. Among the new foods and cooking techniques were squash, potatoes, corn, watermelons, chile peppers, figs, sugary sweets, and deep-frying.