In many places, potato salad is a summer dish. But in Japan it is an all-season food, readily available everywhere from convenience stores to gourmet department store food halls. There’s even a specialty potato salad stand in Tokyo’s Jiyugaoka neighborhood called Potato Cream.

Potato salad is a subject I keep coming back to because it is such a personal favorite. My mother made potato salad frequently, of course. And in middle school, on days when my mother was too busy to make me a bento, we would buy something called a “vegetable sandwich.” This was basically a shokupan (sliced bread) sandwich filled with potato salad. It was a classic carb-on-carb item, like potato-croquette sandwiches or yakisoba (fried noodles) rolls. In any case, I loved the combination of the soft white bread with the tangy-creamy potato salad. A more “mature” combination I particularly like is grilled Pacific saury (sanma), a quintessential fall fish, served sizzling hot with a dollop of chilled potato salad.

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