Echizen crab…Japanese people are most likely to imagine the crab when we hear the word Echizen.
Male snow crab, better known as "Echizen Crab" is also known as "Matsuba Crab" in the San-in (Tottori/Shimane/Northern Hyogo Prefecture) area.
Each area, believing that they have the best crab, has their own original names for crabs caught in their area.
There is a whole set of other names for queen crabs (female crabs), such as "koubaku gani" in Kaga area (Ishikawa Prefecture), and "seiko gani" in San-in and Fukui areas.
Although seiko gani is half the size of Echizen crab, it is a delicacy because of the amount of miso (entrails of crab are a delicacy in Japan) in it.…
Sanma-zushi…The Sanma Zushi (Pacific saury sushi) uses the cutlass pike fish which comes south to Kumano-nada from the open sea of Sanriku during the fall - winter months.
This lean-fleshed fish is quite tender and most suitable for sushi.
With its distinct taste, it has become a popular New Year's ★delite (Shogatu Ryori).…
Cha-gayu…Cha-gayu (rice gruel cooked in tea) is also known for its history and taste.
We know that it has been a delicacy for over 1200 years since we know that it was on the menu for Shuni-e (water-drawing) ceremony at Todaiji Temple (Nigatsudo).
Cooking rice gruel in tea - as simple it may sound today was difficult in the days when rice gruel was cooked with millet, barnyard grass, potatoes and other vegetables.
Back then, the rice gruel was a way to eat cold rice, so cha-gayu was considered a luxury meal.
This reflects the rich culinary lives of the people of ancient capital.
Its refined taste is very particular in that its taste must be a dry, with not too much stickiness to
Yoshino kuzu…Kuzu is another basic element in Japanese cuisine, which originates from this area.
The severe weather conditions of the basin contribute to kuzu making, a necessity for Japanese sweets and dishes.
Yoshino kuzu is made in the northern Yoshino Mountains - famous for its cherry blossoms - and Ouda.
Both regions are famous for its kuzu production.
Yoshino kuzu is made during the cold wintry months from the root of the arrowroot grown deep in the mountain ranges of Yamato.
When starch taken from the root is refined by water, you have yoshinokuzu.
At "Kurokawa Honke" in Ouda-cho, the veteran craftsmen continue to make the finest yoshino-kuzu using the same method without any fire that has been used for over 400 years.
The starch from crushed fibers of the arrowroot plant is refined in cold well water - so cold that your hands feel numb - for 48 hours.
The starch is then refined in fresh Well Water again, after the water with grounds is eliminated.
This is called kan-zarashi (cold refinement), and after the procedure is repeated five times over the course of 10 days, the kuzu is then dried by cold wind, Yoshino-kuzu, with its unique flavor, is used as the valued ingredient of yoshino-ni (stew), goma-dofu (sesame tofu) and high-class Japanese sweets.…
Somen…There is one type of food, which is a result of the basin's extremely hot summers and cold winters: somen.
Somen came from China during the Nara period (710-784) and has become a popular product made at the foot of Miwasan (Mt.
Conditions around this area such as the climate, the waters from Hase River and Makimuku River used to run the mills, and the cold dry wind, referred to as "Miwasan Oroshi," makes it a perfect place for making somen.
Somen is dried Wheat flour mixed with goma oil (sesame oil) and salt dried in configuration like a rope, once called "mugi nawa" (roped wheat).
The mugi nawa hung and dried in front of the house, became a popular product on farms as it was easily preserved without spoiling.
Over time, the drying rope became thinner and thinner so that the noodles would dry faster, and Miwa somen became thin, yet retained its tough texture.
This was the result of a severe, cold climate and the dryness of the area during the winter months.…
Kitsune Udon…Kitsune udon, a never-ending favorite of Osakans, is a result of having different kinds of wonderful ingredients from all over Japan.
The nickname "KETSUNE" expresses the playful mind typical of Osakans.
The original kitsune udon uses Kyoto's abura age (fried tofu), flour from Kumamoto, dried bonito from Yakushima, salt from Noto, kombu (kelp) from Hokkaido, shoyu from Shodoshima, and sugar from Awa - a parade of delicacies.
In 1893, the founder of Senba's Matsubaya Main branch, Usami Yotaro drawing from his past experience working in a sushi shop served abura age on the side.
Apparently, the customer who put the abura age on udon loved it and praised the udon, giving rise to kitsune udon.
The main (and perhaps the only) reason why this kitsune udon was loved by Osakans was because it was indeed, reasonably priced.
This, may be the difference between soba, which has a complicated story and theory behind it.…