Fu, vegetable gelatin, freeze-dried tofu, bean-starch vermicelli, dried radish strips, beans, dried noodles…Japan boasts a huge variety of dried foods.
These possess the image of being merely"traditional preserved foods" and they are also mainly used in dishes like nimono that appeal mostly to older people.
They have always been taken for granted and are considered very common, and recently we find that they are being used less and less, which seems a shame.
However, we have also recently seen them used in unconventional ways, too, for instance, dried radish strips fried in olive oil or fu fried in breadcrumbs.
People are exploring new possibilities for these dried foods.
Although each of them has its own unique taste, they tend to be rather bland and so make ideal partners for seasonings; moreover, they are cheap.
One last added advantage is that as they were originally made as preserves, they keep for a long time, making them useful to keep in the home.
Finally, if we stock a large quantity of these items, they will make perfect emergency rations in the event of a disaster, providing alight, nutritious food at a reasonable price.