Find Out Food Culture in Kyoto

yatsuhashi

◆Kyoto—Kyoto cuisine’s table manner affected the habits of home made dishes.

Since Heian-kyo period, the society of imperial courts and the court nobles have affected Kyoto cuisine. People carried the ingredients from all around Japan.

to Kyoto. The habit that we make an offer the food that we received to gods and buddha first is the one of the manners of Kyoto cuisine. The Kyo-yasai(Kyoto vegetables) grown by the Kyoto basin soil and also the ingredients carried from the other areas such as the fresh seafoods from the Japan sea, makes Kyoto rich in foods. The Kyoto food culture, such as Gion-tofu and Hamo(sea eel) dishes are the cuisine that you can only have seasonally.

Toshikoshi-soba (year-crossing soba) “Nishin Soba”

nishin soba
Soba (black wheat noodles) was first special product in Tamba region in Kyoto back in time. That is why you see soba restaurants a lot in Kyoto city too. Nishin soba (a bowl of soba in hot soup served with stewed herring on top) became popular in the end of Edo period.
This was an idea from the “Nishin Konbu”(kelp roll herring) which had long been side dish in Kyoto.
People in Kyoto likes Udon, as much as people in Osaka. But the difference is that soba restaurant in Kyoto doesn’t serve udon like ones in Osaka.

Kyoto’s famous sweets “Yatsu-hasi”

There’re two stories how “Yatsu-hashi” sweets was born in Kyoto.
One of the story is that the man who heard this following story originally created Yatsu-hashi. “Yatsu-hashi bridge of Mikawa-kuni”– Once upon a time, there was brothers that were drawn when they went to see their mother across the river. From the sadness of the mother lost her children,
she built a bridge with eight timbers and people called the bridge “Yatsu-hashi”. (meaning eight bridge)
To let people know this story, the man who ran the shop in the area decided to make sweets that shapes like the Yatsu-hashi bridge.

The another story is that in the Edo period, the man ran the shop created sweets for people who visit the grave of Yatsuhashi Kenkou, an expert of Japanese harp. So he made this sweets shaped like the Japanese harp.

The original Yatsu-hashi is a baked confectionery. The doughy Yatsu-hashi that you recently find often at the stores in Kyoto is caled Nama-Yatsu-hashi (Raw Yatsu-hashi).

Kyo-yasai – Vegetables from Kyoto

kyo yasai
Kyo-yasai (Kyoto vegetable) is the general term of the traditional vegetables and branded vegetables made in Kyoto. There’re about 40 kinds registered as Kyo-yasai. Since Kyo (capital of Kyoto in old days) was far away from the sea, Kyo was not rich in fresh seafoods.
So Kyo putted lots of effort for cultivating vegetables.
Also because the temples and shrines developed its own vegetarian cousins from long time ago, Kyo-yasai continued to be cultivated locally.

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