Get happy with lesser-known delicacies of Kansai!
From the many delicacies spread out across Japan, we will let you in on the very best of wintertime gourmet dining in the Kansai area surrounded by mountains, ocean, and lakes.
Mizu-Yokan: the Taste of Wintertime in Fukui
In Fukui Prefecture, the traditional Japanese sweet “mizu-yokan (red bean jelly)” is a wintertime delicacy. Being a cold sweet, mizu-yokan is more associated with summer on a national level, but in Fukui it is the norm for families to eat mizu-yokan together at the kotatsu (Japanese foot warmer/table). It’s mildly sweet and refreshing, and the aftertaste of brown sugar is scrumptious. It comes in square boxes taking the shape of a flat rectangle.
Tastes and textures differ between each confectionery, so you can enjoy many types of mizu-yokan, such as firmer ones, softer ones, ones in which the azuki beans are more prominent, or even ones flavored with chocolate. When you visit Fukui during the wintertime, try different kinds of mizu-yokan to find out each confectionery’s unique qualities and preferences.
Delicious! Shiga’s Local Dish “Junjun” Paired with Local Omi Sake!
In Shiga Prefecture, “junjun” refers to a hotpot in which freshwater fish caught at Lake Biwa, beef, or chicken is seasoned with soy sauce and sugar sukiyaki-style. This is a locally inherited specialty, especially in the area north to the Lake. It is seasoned lighter than sukiyaki, and since the vegetables simmered together absorb excessive fat, it is rather refreshing. The name is an onomatopoeia of the sound of the ingredients simmering.
Local Omi sake is a perfect match for this dish. Shiga is home to 33 sake breweries, and unique local sakes are brewed from the area’s abundant water and delicious rice. Local sake has been intertwined deeply with the area’s traditional culture such as festivals and events, and has developed along with the area’s unique food culture and local cuisine.
By pairing local cuisine with local Omi sake, you can have a taste of the food culture of Shiga. Enjoy local dishes and Omi sake together, both blessings of Lake Biwa’s splendid natural environment. We’re waiting for the day when we entertain you with Shiga’s food culture once the Coronavirus pandemic is over.
Take it Slow and Taste Winter in Kyoto by the Sea!
Have you heard of “Kyoto by the Sea”?
“Kyoto by the Sea” is the area in northern Kyoto Prefecture facing the Sea of Japan. The scenery there is a perfect example of the Japanese heartland, and the area boasts foods and delicacies brought by its rich natural environment. One of them is the winter yellowtail of Ine, a wintertime delicacy that represents Kyoto by the Sea in winter.
Ine is one of the three major yellowtail fishing grounds, where winter yellowtails rich in quality fat are fished from late autumn to winter when the waters get colder. A dish that’s especially popular is “buri-shabu (shabushabu-style hotpot featuring yellowtail)”, which is said to have originated from here, and many fans pay a visit from all over Japan. When eating buri-shabu, you take big thin slices of fresh yellowtail flesh and give them a quick dip in hot dashi broth. By just cooking the surface, excessive fat falls off the flesh, enabling diners to enjoy the exquisite taste of yellowtail.Kyoto by the Sea boasts many other delicacies such as snow crab, which is represented by crab brands such as Taiza crab and Maizuru crab, and Pacific oysters grown in nutritious waters. Why not take it slow on a trip to visit tourist attractions spread out across the coast, mountains, and towns, while enjoying tastes of winter?