Grilled as you like it

Evening on Pontocho-dori February 17, 2010

Filed under: Eating,Four seasons in Japan,Japan,Travel — laurel @ 5:37 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Along the Kamo-gawa in Kyoto, you can see a row of old-fashoined Japanese buildings, their wooden decks jutting out over the adjacent canal. What a wonderful sight it is.

And around the other side, you’ll find a narrow alley lined with equally traditional looking entrances, each hung with a lantern. Welcome to Pontocho-dori, Kyoto’s old red-light district and current home of delicious obanzai restaurants.

In the early evening chefs in their white coats walk up and down the street, or inspect a delivery.

Many restaurants entice customers with displays of their fresh kyo-yasai, Kyoto’s uique vegetables…

…and beckon you with their traditional architectural touches.

We chose a spot that advertised charcoal grilled foods and had hamo on the menu, which I really wanted to try. Sorry, but I can’t remember the name.

They ask customers to choose the set menu in order to dine outside, but that’s ok, because the set menu looked pretty good. We actually started the meal inside due to the rain, but soon the rain let up and we moved out to the balcony overlooking the river.

Octopus, long green onion, and abura-age (fried tofu) with su-miso sauce
Deep-fried fu (wheat gluten) and eggplant
Salad with fried yuba (thin sheets of soy)
Smoked duck with boiled vegetables
Hamo (conger eel) and vegetable tempura
Matcha soba
Pickled Japanese vegetables
Warabi mochi with kinako

Octopus, long green onion, and abura-age with su-miso sauce

Deep-fried fu and eggplant

Salad with fried yuba

Warabi mochi

After dinner, take a stroll back down the alley and enjoy the sights. Goodnight owls.


2 Responses to “Evening on Pontocho-dori”

  1. Evelyne Says:

    Hi Laurel, I received your recent posts and each one of them is so interesting. And the photos… WOW ! The dinner you had seems wonderful, do you know how to make su-miso sauce ?
    I am crazy about wheat gluten, was it just fried and plain or with a sauce ? As I said before, I am very interested in Japanese food and very interested to find authentic recipes. According to your experience, which blog would you say is the best and most complete that I could learn from.
    Thanks. Evelyne

    • laurel Says:

      Hi Evelyne, for the su-miso, try mixing 3 parts Saikyo miso with 2 parts rice vinegar and Japanese karashi mustard to taste (it’s really spicy). Thin it to the consistency that you want with dashi and if you like it saltier season with soy sauce or salt.
      The fu was in a bit of broth if I recall.
      If you’re interested in learning about Japanese food, I’d recommend starting with a book instead of blogs. I like Washoku by Elizabeth Andoh or The Japanese Kitchen by Hiroko Shimbo. Online, I like the Way of Washoku series of articles available in the food section of the Japan Times. Just Hungry (and sister site Just Bento) and Tess’s Japanese Kitchen also have a good variety of recipes.

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