Yesterday I was able to visit the Ainu Traditional Craft Exhibit at Gallery MOZART and afterward have some delicious Ainu cuisine at Cafe & Gallery Pon-no.
The Exhibit at Gallery MOZART featured carvings by Mamoru Kaizawa,
|Ikupasuy prayer sticks|
embroidery by Setsuko Kaizawa,
as well as charming postcards drawn by Maki Sekine.
Works by other artists were also on display, and will be available for viewing until the 28th.
After seeing the exhibit, I headed to Kunitachi to get some good Ainu home cooking at Pon-no. Having tasted the delicious dishes at Cafe Poronno in Akan, Hokkaido, I was eager to try Emi Toko's version of her family's recipes.
|Cafe Pon-no Sign|
The cafe was quite busy with people not wanting to miss out on this limited opportunity to eat Ainu cuisine in Tokyo. In addition to a full menu of Ainu dishes, the cafe also had on display a variety of works by Emi's silversmith husband Ague.
|Silvercraft by Ague|
I enjoyed the delicious Ipeanro Set (ipe=an ro is "let's eat") featuring amam (rice & other grains), yuk ohaw (deer soup - you can also order cep ohaw, salmon soup), rataskep (pumpkin mixed with beans and sikerpe (fruit of the Amur cork tree)), and an additional side dish of cucumbers with bonito flakes.
|Ipeanro Set with yuk ohaw|
The soup was rich with flavor from both the venison and vegetables, and was topped with pukusa (wild garlic) for added emphasis.
I also ordered the potceimo (fermented potato cake), a unique dish made from thawing potatoes in the spring after freezing them in the Hokkaido snow through winter.
The cafe will be open only through the 29th, so don't miss this rare chance to get some delicious Ainu food in Tokyo!
(More photos from the exhibit are available in our Facebook photo album.)