Japanese food that we boast to the world! We introduce to you the culture, the history, and the interesting information of food unique to Japan that you have never heard of!
Nara's dishes are rich in flavor."Kakinoha-zushi" is filled with ancient people's knowledge and tradition.
Kakinoha-zushi is a local speciality that is scattered across Japan. Different from nigiri-zushi, it is wrapped in persimmon leaves as the name indicates, and the leaves are peeled off when eaten. Because persimmon leaves have sterilizing effect, it has been carried on as the preserving technique, allowing for preservation over couple of days depending on the season. Moreover, by wrapping sushi with persimmon leaves, the fragrance is transfered onto sushi and thus makes the flavor better. Back then, it had been eaten as the way nare-zushi (fish lactic fermented with salt and cooked rice) was eaten. However, as brewed vinegar became commonly spread after the mid-Edo period, it transformed to current style of using vinegared rice, and became widely spread as Nara's speciality dish, as it was appreciated as the indispensable dish for festivals and auspicious events. In this area, the standard is to have salmon or mackerel on top of bite-sized vinegared rice. You could carry it when strolling around, and have a bite when you get a bit hungry, or have it as the side dish with Japanese sake.
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Sakai's Conger Eel acknowledged by gourmet Rosanjin
Full of conger eel restaurants with special processing techniques, Sakai was called "Sakaimon" until the war. The gourmet Rosanjin once said, "the conger eel in the Sakai Sea is famous for being delicious". Once referred to as "Fugu of Shimonoseki, Conger Eel of Sakai", Sakai has always been known as a producer of Japan's most delicious conger eels. The Kansai style dishes that bring out the best taste of conger eels is exquisite.
"Kushikatsu", the soul food of Osaka that vies with okonomiyaki and takoyaki.
Kushikatsu was born approximately 80 years ago, around Shinsekai of Osaka City (1912, not in existence today), where the Tsutenkaku Tower stands. Kushikatsu of Osaka fries small-cut meat and fish, vegetables, and other various ingredients, after they are skewered and dipped in breadcrumbs. Able to fill the stomach cheaply and casually, kushikatsu has established quickly among the surrounding areas.
There is a rule that must be obeyed in kushikatsu stores; no double dipping of sauce. Because kushikatsu is dipped in sauce in shared container, to dip again in the container after a bite is unsanitary. If you really want to eat with extra sauce, you can scoop the sauce with cabbage. The freshly-fried kushikatsu is crispy with light texture, and it's so tasty that you can't get enough of it!
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"Narazuke", the traditional pickles made since ancient times.
Narazuke has a very long history, and its origin dates back to approximately 1300 years ago according to the description of "kasuzuke" on Mokkan (narrow, long, and thin pieces of wood strung together that were used to write on in ancient times) found within the remains of king's mansion in Heijokyo (the southern capital from 710 to 784 located in Nara) in Kyoto city, reminding that the aristocracy back then had relished it. In addition, it is said to be that the basic form of current Narazuke was formed, as the production of refined sake begun at Shoryaku-ji Temple on Mt. Bodai in Nara during the Muromachi-period, and the vegetable was put into the sake lees. Narazuke contains the highest amount of salt among pickles, and has unique flavor. It is unresistable for people who like its good texture and deep flavor. Its compatibility with sakeis outstanding. We hope you enjoy the fragrance and texture of Narazuke that are only relishable in its home, Japan.
Tuna, the treasure of fresh fish
Wakayama Prefecture is known for its tuna! Many fresh fish gather from various places in Japan to fishing ports such as Nachikatsuura fishing port, the largest fresh tuna fishing port. The raw tuna dismantling shows put on by the professionals are a must see. There are various way of eating raw tuna, and you can even enjoy various parts of tuna including red meat, chu-toro, o-toro, fried brain, and stomach.
Enjoy "yellowtail shabu" at one of the three biggest yellowtail fisheries in Japan.
Ine town in Kyoto Prefecture has been referred to as one of the three biggest yellowtail fisheries in Japan since ancient times. Yellowtail grown in the extremely cold waters of the Japan Sea has a tight body and plenty of good fat that isn't greasy. It is delicious when you dip it in hot water and just let the surface heat up! Enjoy yellowtail shabu at tango, the birthplace of authentic yellowtail shabu!
Miyazu City, which includes Amanohashidate, is one of the three best scenic spots of Japan and is a popular fishing industry
Miyazu City, separating the Wakasa Bay and the Aso Sea, is a popular fishery mainly for sardines, horse mackerels and squids, and occupies one fifth of the Kyoto Prefecture. In the Aso Sea, there is a traditional fishing boat named "Tomobuto" that is currently still active. Recently, there have been many brands of thick clams such as "Tango tori clams" and "Amanohashidate clams". It is a beautiful oceanfront city where you can enjoy the wonderful scenery and fresh seafood gourmet.
"Fushimi Sake" made with natural famous water
"Fushimi Sake" is blessed with good quality groundwater "fukusui", which is suitable for brewing, welling up abundantly from Momoyama hills. The rich natural climate and the culture of Kyoto have also contributed to refine "Fushimi Sake". Its history is old, as it is said to originate in the Yayoi era when rice crops were transmitted >to Japan. Afterwards, it flourished when Toyotomi HIdeyoshi's Fushimi castle was built, and gained its foundation as a brewing place during the Edo era. Being called as "woman's sake" for its delicate but generous taste, it is best suited not only for Japanese cuisine but also for a variety of dishes. Its attractiveness is beginning to regain attention.
When you come to Tottori, enjoy the "Matsuba crab"!
Matsuba crab is a regionally limited brand name that is allowed to be given only to the snow crabs picked up at the fishing ports in Tottori prefecture. It is characterized as a tightly packed body and an elegant taste. In addition, there are other brands of crabs such as the "seko crab" which is smaller but has richer taste than the Matsubara crab, and the "waka-matsubara crab" that is softer and packed with sweetness. You can only enjoy the crabs during crab season from November to March.
The culture of tea rooted deeply in Japanese life
In 1911, Eisai, the founder of the Rinzai shrine, brought back tea from the Song dynasty and published the first tea specialization book, "Tea Ceremony Record" in Japan. In the latter half of the fifteenth century, Murata Shigeru created "wabicha", which became the base for "cha no yu" completed by Takeno Joo and Sen no Rikyu. It became well known among traders and samurai. Japanese tea ceremonies is not simply a matter of drinking tea, but is also the aesthetics of "hospitality" such as preparing the garden for guests, preparing blankets and tea bowls, and spending important time with each other.
"Yamato Tea Porridge" passed down from 1200 years ago
Yamato tea is said to have brought to the Yamato area during the beginning of the 9th century, when Kukai brought back tea seeds from the Tang dynasty. Yamato tea porridge is created by using Yamato tea leaves. Its history dates back 1200 years and is said to have been eaten by monks. Yamato tea porridge has become an essential part of many people of Nara's breakfast, and is nicknamed "Okai-san".
Yamato Chicken recreates the taste of the phantom "Yamato Kashiwa"
The "Yamato Kashiwa" won the reputation "good quality meat" in the old times and was loved as a locally produced food of Nara. "Kashiwa" is a name that mainly refers to chicken meat in western Japan. "Yamato Chicken" recreates the phantom taste of Yamato Kashiwa, which is no longer produced due to the enormous time and effort it takes. It was created by mixing Shamo, Nagoya Cochin, and a New Hampshire breed. The popular way to eat it is with kamameshi (rice cooked in iron pot), as the rice soaks the chicken's taste.
The taste of "matcha" served at "Uji",the area famous for tea production
Uji is a famous place that produces tea in Japan. Uji tea, born from the soil suitable for cultivation and the excellent manufacturing methods cultivated in history, is counted as one of Japan's three major teas. "Matcha" is commonly consumed in its powdered form Tencha as it being mixed with hot water, but is also widely used as a material for confectionery. During "tea ceremonies", which appeared during the Sengoku era, Uji's "matcha" was loved by famous military commanders and tea professionals. Since then, Uji tea has continued to support the history of tea ceremonies as the top brand of Japan.
"Nada Sake", the sake with a sharp taste
"Nada sake" has a history that is said to date back to the 14th century. Nada in Hyogo Prefecture is known as one of the three greatest sake producers in Japan together with Fushimi in Kyoto prefecture and Saij? in Hiroshima Prefecture. Yamada Nishiki rice grown in nearby Banshu Plain and Miya water suitable for sake production flowing from Rokko mountain is used as the ingredients. Yamada Nishiki is known as the best rice for making sake. Made from hard water with lots of minerals, "Nada sake" is known for its rich flavor, resilience, and dryness, which allow it to be called as the representative of "men's sake".
"Eel of the Uji River" has been popular from the Heian era
From the Heian era, the "eel of the Uji River" was recognized as a brand that was being shipped vigorously to various places including Kyoto. The eel of the Uji River is very tasty and is also the origin of the dish name "Uji Maru", which is one of the typical eel dishes at the time. In Uji River, eels were caught by "masonry fishing", a method in which bamboo baskets are set up within the stones piled up in the river.
"Omi Beef" has the longest history in Japan
During the Edo era, "Omi beef" was presented to the shoguns and was considered to be a special presence in the country. Its history dates back 400 years, which is the longest out of all the Japanese beefs. With the various developments and improvements of agriculture and the efforts of local farmers, it is now branded as the finest "marbled meat". "Omi beef" has its roots in the Japanese black cattle from Tajima. The characteristics of "Omi beef" is its fine quality meat, sweet fat, and melting sensations in mouth. It is often selected by famous restaurants and chefs.
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