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Mr Vigs

Eating in Kansai

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Actaully... I might as well ask:  If you were to allow yourself one lavish kaiseki meal in either Tokyo or Kyoto, where would it be?  (I'll be in both but assumed that Kyoto would be the more economical choice).

And is there a difference between traditionoal kaiseki and kyoto-style kaiseki meals?

Thanks!!

neither of these questions is easy...

The first one would just depend on who you ask.... :biggrin: I personally find food in Kyoto to be a bit on the bland side and prefer the kaiseki meals I have had in Tokyo.

Some people say Kyoto has the best foods as they have superior water that makes evverything taste better.... :blink:

Kaiseki is sort of like a branch of kyo-kaiseki, which in itself evolved from cha-kaiseki (the meals served with the tradtional tea ceremony). I think part of the difference now is the ingedients used for kyo-kaiseki are traditional Kyoto foods like fu (wheat gluten) and yuba (soy milk skins), etc, though you may find these in regular kaiseki as well....


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I just dug this up, verjuice's account of a meal at Hyotei:

I knew that I wanted to experience kaiseki-ryori (classic Japanese haute cuisine evolved from tea ceremony) while in Kyoto, along with yudofu and ramen. I had my kaiseki meal at Hyotei, which is where Jeffrey Steingarten had the kaiseki meal he wrote about in Kyoto Cuisine (The Man Who Ate Everything). Steingarten ate there at the same time of the year over a decade ago, and I was surprised to find that my meal varied only slightly from the one he describes. Since only fresh, seasonal ingredients are used in a kaiseki meal, I suppose that this explains most of the similarities and/or parallels. It was raining lightly when I arrived and I was led through the garden to a four hundred year old tearoom lined with tatami mats. I thought that the dampness brought out more of that “hamster cage” odor from the mats, which I actually appreciate.

I was served seven courses, with the order of the meal following the traditional sequence of courses defined by cooking technique; beginning with zensai (appetizers), suimono (clear soup), and sashimi and moving into yakimono (grilled) and/or mushimonto (steamed) and nimono (simmered) and then on to agemono (fried) and rice and sunomono (pickled) and cooked vegetables (aemono), traditionally ended with tea and dessert. Everything about the meal was thoughtfully considered, beautifully orchestrated, and flawlessly executed. The presentation was exquisite, but best of all it was lots of fun.

I was started off with a cup of sencha and a warm towel, and then ordered daiginjo when I was offered a choice between sake and beer.

The first course, presented on a bright lapis-colored plate shaped like a flower, was tai (bream) sashimi; three overlapping slices on an edible leaf, with the delicious pine bark patterned skin attached. A tangle of green pea shoots, a baby cucumber still with its brilliant, edible yellow flower and a delicate, pale lavender shoot of myoga (Japanese wild ginger) were perched alongside. Next came a light dashi in which floated a silky rectangle of yomogi (mugwort) tofu studded with black sesame and a pea-sized dab of wasabi. The broth was brimming with junsai (water shield), which are gelatinous little pods that burst in the mouth and taste pleasantly of pond scum. Their texture is one of the most interesting I have ever experienced, with a mouthfeel that compelled me to emit a few childish giggles as they burst and popped.

Next came more fish, rolled this time and filled with uni and abalone, and poached in a sweet white miso broth which contained a few strips of yuzu zest and three decorative rings of unidentifiable green vegetable that looked like olives and tasted of nothing.

This was followed by a tai chimaki, which is a sort of Japanese tamale of non-glutinous rice rolled, along with the raw fish, into a cone and wrapped in a bamboo leaf. Each of the four corners of the tray that held the chimaki carried its own treasure; three bright, tempura-fried fava beans, a sweet. tender morsel of the much-loved and highly coveted hamo (pike conger), a halved boiled egg with a creamy, liquescent yolk, and a translucent slice of yuzu sandwiched by two thin slices of Japanese mackerel.

The next course was a bowl of grass-green matcha congee in which rested a tangle of fresh yuba and about a teaspoonful of a coral-hued and mild-mannered ama ebi (sweet shrimp) paste. What made this dish extraordinary was the undeniably potent whiff of yuzu that hits as soon as the lid is lifted from the bowl but doesn’t seem to interfere with the subtle flavors of the other ingredients. This was followed by panfried suzuki (sea bass) with a few springs of something that reminded me vaguely of dill. After this, I was poured a cup of hojibancha (a Kyoto specialty) and served a dark miso soup with five short celery sticks and a single fern-like vegetable hiding in its depths (gotta love dark miso soup for that reason alone), warmly spicy myoga-infused rice and two kinds of pickle; one of shiso and cucumber and the other of enoki and tiny silver fish. Dessert followed; some sort of broken jelly in which two ambrosial slices of strawberry and two of grapefruit were suspended. This was garnished with a single candied black bean, and followed by usa-cha (thin whipped green tea) and a lavender-tipped mochi sweet filled with smooth white bean paste.

from this thread


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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This site lists current events/flower blooming/etc all around Kyoto, including information on seasonal food tours (look under seasonal courses).

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I'm kicking myself for not taking better notes during my trip to Kyoto.

Can anyone help me find the name of a restaurant located nearby the Kiyomizu temple? It's a tofu restaurant (nothing but tofu) located in a Victorian-style building designed by Takeda Goichi. There's a wrought-iron dragon out front with a sign suspended from its claws -- the sign says "Tofu Restaurant" in English. Seating is upstairs on tatami mats, both indoors and outside on a terrace.

Can anyone please help me with the name of this restaurant so I can send a friend there? Thanks in advance for any help, I appreciate it.

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YES!!!! THAT'S IT!!!

Kristin, you are the best. Thank you so much for your help.

If anyone reading this thread is looking for a great vegetarian meal while in Kyoto, I hightly recommend Junsei (now that I know the name).

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Can you recommend any particular dishes? I'll be there in a couple of months and might want to give this place a try...

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When I was there, they had only one option, a set lunch menu featuring all kinds of tofu handmade on the premises. Since I don't speak Japanese, and our waitress spoke little English it made it easy to order lunch.

I never thought I would enjoy a meal centered around tofu, but I really did.

The first dishes we were brought were: a small dish of pickled daikon radish; round, dough-like tofu balls, skewered and grilled; a block of soft tofu coated with a sweet peanut sauce, resembling a flan (and difficult to convey from plate to mouth with chopsticks); and light vegetable tempura.

Next: the waitress brings a communal hot-pot to the table, which is set atop a gas flame. The tofu cooks at the table, and then each diner ladles the boiled tofu, miso soup, and diced scallions into their individual bowls.

There was no dessert, but it's possible that it was offered on the menu and I was unable to read it or ask for it.

Seating is on the floor, on tatami mats, and visitors are expected to check their shoes at the door. I think there's another room with Western-style tables and chairs.

I hope you enjoy your trip!

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Junsei is a yudofu restaurant, so most of the courses revolve around this dish.

Yudofu is an extremely popular and ancient type of tofu-based cuisine. Kyoto, with its long winters, many temples (monks are traditionally vegetarians), is the biggest center for tofu in Japan. Excellent tofu requires high quality soy beans and, more importantly, fresh pure well water which Kyoto has in abundance. The yudofu hot pot is filled with water and large pieces of sea kelp. Various vegetables and square chunks of silky tofu are placed in the simmering broth. The vegetables and tofu are then removed with chopsticks or a ladle and dipped in a fine soy-based sauce.

from here


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Kyoto seems to be the place of the month!

Here is a short report with great pictures from Tokyo Food Page on Nishiki market and some of the recommended shops.


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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So I'm going to Osaka next week for a week and I'm looking for the best Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki out there. Can anyone help? Any other suggestions will be appreciated also.

Thanks!

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So I'm going to Osaka next week for a week and I'm looking for the best Takoyaki and Okonomiyaki out there. Can anyone help? Any other suggestions will be appreciated also.

Thanks!

i think that everyone has a different idea of what is the BEST but i will tell you one place that i frequent. it is called tako-tako okonomi blues bar....

it is on the south side of suomachi-suji close to sakai-suji. (in the shinsaibashi area) it is a tiny place! it think they have three tables and a small counter. the menu is not in english though i am sure the ultra friendly staff will help you out :biggrin: there is always one staff member selling tako-yaki on the street and yelling quite loud so you should be able to find it without much effort.

great okonomi, yummy tako-yaki with a choice of sauces and great teppan. hotate/aspara is delicious (scallops and aparagus).

some of the other best takoyaki is from the little old ladies on the street. i am never fearful of street food in osaka.

for luxury okonomi, you can always go to president chibo. i dont really think it is any better but it is a little upscale compared to some of the local shops.

look for this お好み焼き sign and you will find okonomiyaki!

now you have to decide how you will eat your takoyaki...ponzu, shoyu, mayo, nori, katsuo....try them all of you can and dont be afraid to ask the vendor for "hanbun/hanbun"......half with one sauce and half with another.

enjoy!

oh here is a link to some restaurants in kansai


"Thy food shall be thy medicine" -Hippocrates

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Thanks Eastersun! Take a look into your suggestions. Thanks for the link too, it has alot of listings that sound pretty good.

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I'm try to track down a great okonomiyaki restaurant in Kyoto. Are there any that stand out, with a bonus for one that would serve it with Kobe beef (I've heard a couple of them do).

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I'm try to track down a great okonomiyaki restaurant in Kyoto. Are there any that stand out, with a bonus for one that would serve it with Kobe beef (I've heard a couple of them do).

hhmmm.....

I had never heard of this, and it sort of seems like a waste of good Kobe beef.... but it turns out this is a pretty popular dish in the Kansai region. I didn't get too many hits with Kobe beef, but there do seem to be a couple places where the speciality is gyuu-suji. Gyuu-suji are beef tendons ad there is a popular simmered dish in the Kansai area called suji-kon that consists of long simmeerd beef tendons and konnyaku. This dish is often used as a topping for okonomiyaki or added to the batter.

here is one shop that uses nama suji (raw tendons)

this one specifies they use wagyu (Japanese beef)

It actually seems to be a pretty popular topping/addition in this area, so just look for gyuu-suji 牛スジ on the menu. :biggrin:


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I'm try to track down a great okonomiyaki restaurant in Kyoto. Are there any that stand out, with a bonus for one that would serve it with Kobe beef (I've heard a couple of them do).

My favourite okonomiyaki place in Kyoto closed many years ago, and I have not yet found one to replace it--in Kyoto, that is. If you can travel a bit further (about 90 minutes by Hankyu, less than 60 by JR) I would suggest heading out to Kobe. I know of one okonimiyaki place that has some of that great gyuu-suji okonomiyaki that Kris mentioned, though I don't know for certain that it is made with wagyuu. It's located across from the BAL building--be careful, though. There are two right across from the BAL building--the one that has lighter coloured wood is the one I like. My favourite there is pork with mochi and cheese toppings.

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芋蛸 (Imo Tako)

Imo means potato, and tako means octopus.

This takoyaki shop is run by a former itamame (Japanese cuisine chef) and his wife. They make dashi by simmering 'Satsuma Kuro Dori' chicken, vegetables, fruit, etc. and using Rishiri kombu.

Their popular item, 'Imo takoyaki', is innovative and delicious. It contains pieces of simmered yama imo (i.e., mountain potato or yam, not potato).

Besides imo takoyaki, they also serve グルメ or gourmet (takoyaki with thickened sauce) and エビマヨ or eba mayo (shrimp instead of octopus, with mayo)

http://natural.web.infoseek.co.jp/imotako.html

as well as seasonal dishes such as that featuring hamaguri (clam) and bamboo shoots in the spring, eels and cucumbers in the summer, and matsutake and octopus in the fall.

Other links:

http://www.jalan.net/kanko/SPT_177231.html

http://www.citydo.com/tako/chubu/1003.html

Map:

http://www.jalan.net/cgi-bin/jalan/jweb/cj...i?jam_cd=177231

(Located in Kuromon Ichiba (黒門市場).)

Access: 5-minute walk from exit No. 10 of Subway Nihonbashi Station

Open: 11:00 to 20:00 (14:00 to 20:00? on Mondays)

No holidays

Imo takoyaki: 360 yen (9 pieces)

Gourmet (thickened sauce): 500 yen

Ebi mayo (shrimp with mayonnaise): 500 yen

Parking space: None

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tamarahen!!!!!takoyaki kuitai!!!!!!!

I used to go to a place where you could make your own right at your own table. It was near Umeda Station and was probably Takonotetsu - Umeda 1-9-20, Maru Building B2F, but I remember the place to be outside the station on the ground level and have some huge giant taco outside the store front. While I always tried to do the takoyaki swirl with the needle-like takoyaki tool, usually some restaurant worker would come over and do the swirl for me.

I also loved the negiyaki with ponzu....it is much lighter that a full-on okonomiyaki.

:wink:

Paul


猿も木から落ちる - Saru mo ki kara ochiru

(Even monkeys can fall from a tree)

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tamarahen!!!!!takoyaki kuitai!!!!!!! 

I also thought Kansai-ben sounded weird, it looks even stranger when written.... :raz:


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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hi folks!

i am joining the ranks of the image gulleteers (thanks kristin for a nudge in the right direction! :wub: )

i have been snappy happy for a couple months and this is a tad late in coming!

the blue note osaka has moved into the fancy schmancy herbis plaza. herbis plaza is part of (?)/ connected to the ritz-carlton...here is a link to some of the other dining establishments in the herbis plaza. (the first fifteen or so are part of herbis) there are some amazing places to eat and it will take me most of the next year and a whole lot of yen to partake. time to start rubbing my magic lamp :cool:

in the past, i have always enjoyed the shows at the blue note but i always ate before i went! this is not limited to osaka either, however, things have changed!

now, to be honest, i did eat before attending the show because of some bad experiences in the past but i wish i hadnt! the food (other people were eating :laugh:) looked gorgeous and the menu was full of items my group wanted to try.

these are just some munchies:

gallery_26697_822_24238.jpg

garlic toast served with pesto

gallery_26697_822_11063.jpg

kari kari salad with crunchy fried onion, crispy bacon and a tangy wafu dressing

gallery_26697_822_8345.jpg

napoli pizza

gallery_26697_822_2989.jpg

ok, this was LUSH!

a sheet of wonton, a sheet of nori, negi toro (chopped raw tuna and scallion) with asparagus in the centre. it was deep fried long enough to cook the wonton wrapper but not long enough to cook the tuna too much. i think the asparagus was blanched but i could be wrong. the sauce was a thick, sweet shoyo (soy sauce).

i managed to re-create this one at home and it is really simple and got rave reviews from my resident critic :raz:

all these shots were taken with my mates mobile phone camera...i promise not to pre-eat next time so that i can order an entree :biggrin: and post the pics here.


"Thy food shall be thy medicine" -Hippocrates

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I am glad you figured out the pictures. :biggrin:

Great review! I am looking forward to more.


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I love the Herbis group--Herbis, Herbis Ent, and Herbis Plaza! I've passed the new Blue Note many a time, and have wanted to see many a concert there, but it's so hard to schedule around work--a lot of the interesting concerts are on weekdays, and I'm afraid I'll fall asleep during the concert....But now I know the food will help keep me awake!

At Herbis, you'll find my favourite bakery called Burdigala. They have the best Croque Monsieur I've had in...ever...and their cafe latte is quite good, too. But for vegetarians, they always have one or two quiche options that would do. Their very reasonably priced lunch set is priced at about Y700 (maybe Y800) which includes a few small samplings of desserts!

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