Names in this site follow the Japanese custom of family name first.

July 13, 2011

Kyoto Files: Enjoying the evening breeze along the River Kamo

Summer in Japan was so hot this year that I almost despaired if being able to visit the noryo yuka along the River Kamo in Kyoto. For what is the use of sitting on an outside platform if it is as hot as an oven? The platforms are built in May and taken down again at the end of September.

But September has brought some more agreeable evening temperatures, at least along the river. Last week we visited Yamatomi, my favorite "izakaya on stilts." Here are some pictures:

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We arrived early, after six all tables were occupied.

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The view of the River Kamo. It really was nice and cool here!

Oboro-tofu

Dishes we enjoyed - this is Oboro-Tofu (also translated as "Soymilk Curds"). Oboro means "dim" or "hazy" and refers to the fact that the curds have not been pressed into a block like Momen Tofu or Kinu Tofu, but have been loosely scooped up and are enjoyed as such. It is in fact the stage before officially becoming "tofu." Oboro-Tofu has a crumbly texture and looks somewhat like cottage cheese. It is ladled into a bowl and eaten with thick soy sauce and condiments as grated ginger and scallions.

Age-yuba

Deep-fried Yuba (Age-yuba), using the typical Kyoto ingredient of yuba, "Tofu skin." Age-yuba is nice and crunchy, a light but protein-rich snack. Yuba forms as a thin skin on top of the soy milk when this is heated. It is then removed and dried.

Fu-age

Deep-fried Fu (Fu-age). Fu is wheat gluten, a sponge-like ingredient used especially in Kyoto's vegetarian kitchen. It can be used either fresh (nama, solid gluten used in Shojin Ryori, the Buddhist vegetarian cuisine) or baked. The deep-fried Fu here looks like Dengaku (a traditional Tofu dish) and has a topping of sweet miso paste.

Yasai tempura

A set of vegetable tempura (Yasai Tempura), on a plate in the form of a bottle gourd.

Kushikatsu

A Kushikatsu set, skewers with deep-fried ingredients. "Kushi" means "skewer" and "Katsu" stands for "cutlet."  Kushikatsu can be made with pork and other meat, seafood, and vegetables. These are skewered on the bamboo kushi; dipped in a mixture of egg, flour, and panko (bread crumbs); and finally deep-fried in vegetable oil. Kushikatsu are served with tonkatsu sauce. You can also dip them in salt. The special dish of this restaurant, by the way, is Teppin-age, where you get a pot of hot oil and a plate full of skewers with various ingredients; you then fry the skewers yourself. But we felt that working with hot oil was an activity more suitable to a colder season!

P.S. The restaurant has quite a good list of jizake: Suigei, Kokuryu, Kuheiji, Isojiman, Goshun etc.