That was my general impression, arriving from Europe and shopping for fruits and veggies in Japan : the scale and shape of familiar veggies has been modified.
West vs East.
Paprika sweet chili/pepper vs shishito sweet chili/pepper.
They are relative, close relatives, but…
Well, first look at my noodles… I had boiled a bundle yesterday, then I thought I’d eat only half. So before it turned into a block of glue, I quickly coated the hot leftover with a salad sauce (olive oil, sudachi lemon juice, shreded mint, salt, pepper, a few scraps of garlic)
They were well flavored the next day.
With more toppings.
Would you exchange the 4 big ones against all the small ones ?
You’d be cheated, ask the double of the greens to get the same weight.
The shishito (lion peppers) are tiny. They surely all originated from Peru in the night of times, before being introduced to Asia and Europe. But the small green have become “Japan’s traditional” sweet peppers, they are a must for a classic tempura.
The others retain their “Western” image.
In old-fashioned shopping streets, there are a few shops that only present the “traditional veggies” and try to offer the same products as they did when they opened the shop in 1750, well, maybe only 1950. I have not any other country as meticulous in preserving old traditions.
In trendy shops, that’s all the contrary, they have new “models” every week, either Japanese farmers create new varieties, or they go all over the world to find unusual plants. Often, I was very happy to see some French products appearing here for the first time. But they were proposed only during a few weeks, and never again. Like what ? Oh, one day, they had 12 kinds of mint. The one you see is a small leaf peppermint. But one day, I got green and white mint like in my granny’s garden, and nana mint like the one for the tea in North-Africa, and others. Since then, they have only one mint. 2 months later, they proposed 12 colors of tomatoes… Well, I wouldn’t want to eat the same things all the time anyway.