Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Finally a Japanese dressing you can buy in the supermarket

I love the ginger dressings served in many Japanese restaurants. When I lived in Westchester County, NY, my favorite Japanese restaurant was Noda's.

I was a regular customer and earned two special privileges. Because I drank a lot of water, I got an extra large "sumo size" water glass. I also was able to take home some of Noda-san's special ginger dressing in a cleaned out Kirin beer bottle.

It has always surprised and troubled me that despite the overwhelming effect of Japanese culture on the US (sushi, Kirin, Benihana, Honda, Sony, Godzilla, hentai, anime, karaoki, Nintendo, kanban, judo, transforming toys, pokemon and much more) I could not simply go to the supermarket and buy a bottle of Japanese dressing to take home and slosh on a salad.

Many other nations were represented. There were endless choices of French, Russian, Greek and Italian dressing, but nothing from one of America's most important trading partners. I could even buy dressings with dumb names like Ranch. What the hell does a ranch taste like? Dirt? Cow shit? Cowboy sweat? None of the alternatives have been appealing enough for me to taste it.

Fortunately I don't seem to be the only one seeking the taste of a Japanese salad at home.

Makoto is a Japanese steakhouse in Melbourne, Florida, in business since 1985.

Makotos' customers, like me up north at Noda's, begged to buy their ginger dressing after a meal. Local grocers wanted to buy it for resale, too.

In 1990 they began packaging and selling Makoto dressings and sauces for local retailers in Melbourne, and since then their distribution has expanded across the US, and made me a very happy gaijin. It is absolutely delicious, and I recommend it highly.

Makoto dressings are made with fresh, natural ingredients. In addition to being great on salads, Makoto dressings and sauces are excellent as vegetable dips, sauces or marinades for beef, poultry and fish.

In addition to the traditional ginger dressing, you can also get Makoto Honey Ginger Dressing, Dill Dressing, Seafood Sauce, Teriyaki Sauce, Ginger Slaw Dressing and Vegetable Sauce. Until I typed this list, I didn't realize that they made teriyaki, too, and I'll definitely try it as an alternative to my usual Kikkoman.

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