FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (7)-32018/11/12（Mon）
♪ Osaka prefecture has the second largest population in Japan, the second smallest area in Japan, and the second most densely populated in Japan. For local culture, it is said that Osaka has the “Merchant’s culture” against the “Court nobles culture” of Kyoto and the “Samurai and craftsmen's culture” of Edo (Tokyo now).
♪ Because Osaka prefecture geographically faces a part of the Pacific Ocean and the Seto Inland Sea, seafood has become abundant. In addition, because there is the Osaka Plain behind, many agricultural products were produced. Agricultural products and seafoods which can be taken in Hokkaido (Ezo) and many foods from all over Japan were brought to Osaka. Therefore, Osaka became a big trade port and it is said to be “Kitchen of Japan”.
♪ Consequently, many merchants were born in Osaka and they sold goods including various foods. This resulted in the birth of "Osaka Merchant Culture”. “Osaka Merchant (Osaka Shonin” in Japanese)” gathered informations on food from all over Japan. On the other hand, they introduced “Osaka Shonin’s Food Culture” through out Japan. “Osaka Shonin” has three major features concerning food cultural view.
☆First, “Osaka Shonin” has a rationality that emphasizes cost performance, and this characteristic has also become a representative citizenship of Osaka citizens. From the food cultural viewpoint, unlike Kyoto’s food culture, Osaka’s food culture has a characterized as that is "respecting practicality without formality and using ingredients efficiently".
☆Second, the characteristic ideas of “Osaka Shonin” for "food" is simple that may be shown as follows: "Eat delicious foods deliciously" and "eat delicious foods happily". From such a way of their thinking, it is said that "Osaka’s people will eat delicious foods until they become poor," which is now being expressed as "Kuidaore” of Osaka’s people. This is a feature of "Food Culture of Osaka Shonin”, that is, “Food Culture of Osaka”.
☆The third feature is "Culture to taste foods in elegant with light taste and flavor" which means to extract the taste of the ingredients beaytifully. . It became the basis of tasting for seasoning cuisines of Kansai including Kyoto. This culture concretely refers to “Culture of Soup Stock (“Dashi Bunka” in Japanese). The representative of ”Osaka’s Dashi Bunka” is “Kelp Soup Stock (“Konbu Dashi” in Japanese).
♪ “Konbu Dashi”: Konbu has been brought to Osaka by the “Kitamae Ship” from Matsumae of Ezo (Hokkaido now) after the Edo period. The kelp-specific taste and flavor (“Konbu no Umami” in Japanese) which are composed of glutamic acid, inosinic acid, etc were exracted from Konbu by an excellent exracting technology of craftmen in Osaka. This makes “Konbu Dashi” which shows light pale color and elegant taste being favorite for Osaka’s people. Futher, “Konbu Dashi” became indispensable to Japanese cuisines. By fitting “Konbu Dashi” to “Bonito Soup Stock (“Katsuo Dashi” in Japanese)”, “Blend Soup Stock (“Awase Dashi” in Japanese)” was born.
♪ “Cuisine which is baked on iron plate (hot plate) using flour and favorite vegetables etc” (“Okonomi Yaki” in Japanese): A mixture of the ingredients of "favorite" such as finely chopprd cabbage, pork and fish meats, shellfish, powder of clothing of tempura and flour, is spread on iron plate such as hot plate to bake. It is time to eat when this mixture burns and solidifies.
☆On the baked “Okonomi Yaki”, worcester sauce and bonito are placed. Especially the sauce is decisive. At ”Okonomiyaki” restaurant, it is preparing a dedicated sauce. There are Kansai style centered around Osaka and Hiroshima style around Hiroshima in “Okonomi Yaki”. The history of “Okonomi Yaki” started in the Azuchi-Momoyama period, but the history of “Okonomi Yaki” in Osaka started in early Showa period.
☆"Okonomi Yaki" is a symbol of “Culture of Baking Flour” (“Oyaki Bunka” in Japanese)”. You can see the culture in “Kyabetsu (cabbage) Yaki”, “ Radio Yaki”, “Tako (octopus) Yaki” other than “Okonomi Yaki”. “Oyaki Bunka” is also said to be “Konamon Bunka”. “Konamon” means “cereal powder (mainly flour)”.
♪ The character of Osaka’s people is characterized to challenge newly developing local cuisines. Examples of such cuisines are shown in “Battera Zushi (a kind of pressed Sushi using toppings marinated in vinegar)”, “Omurice (Omelette rice)”, “Sokuseki Ramen (instant ramen)”, “Kaiten Zushi (Conveyor Belt Sushi)”, “Okonomi Yaki” mentioned above and so on which were developed from the Meiji to the Showa period in Osaka. Among them, “Conveyor Belt Sushi” (“Kaiten Zushi” in Japanese) will be introduced below.
☆“Kaiten Zushi” was founded by an owner of a sushi shop, Yoshiaki Shiraishi in Higashi Osaka city. He got inspiration for “Katen Zushi” from the automated production line of beer, and the first "Kaiten Zushi” was born in 1958 by him. Until the appearance of “Kaiten Zushi”, Sushi was an expensive food. It means that common people could not eat easily. “Kaiten Zushi” made possible to eat easily such people including children. Therefore, "Kaiten Zushi” is said to be one of the representative inventions of the 20th century in Japan.
♪ Since Osaka prefecture has a very unique culture and food culture as described above, please visit there and enjoy the Osaka’s food culture.
♪ Wakayama is a prefecture with deep history and high cultural level. This prefecture (“Kishu” in old name) was respected by the court nobles and Shoguns. Since a son of Ieyasu Tokugawa whose name is Yorinobu Tokugawa came to “Kishu” in 1619. Until Yoshimune Tokugawa, ”Kishu” was occupied by the Tokugawa family. This “Kishu Tokugawa Family” had given infuluence the culture of “Kishu” (Wakayama prefecture now).
♪ In Wakayama prefecture, forests occupy most of the prefecture except the plains along the Kinokawa River. Since the central and southern parts have a temperate climate, many fruits and vegetables can be collected. Also, the southern part of the prefecture is blessed with marine products. Thus, Wakayama prefecture is rich in ingredients. Representative Wakayama fruits are Unshu- orange, persimmon, plum, etc. So, this prefecture is said to be "fruit kingdoms" which support the economy of Wakayama prefecture. Marine products harvested in this prefecture are mackerel scad, longtooth grouper, saber fish, tuna, bonito, whale, etc, whose Japanese names are Muroaji, Que, Tachiuo, Maguro, Katsuo, Kujira, etc respectively. Therefore, there are lots of local cuisines using these ingredients from long ago. People in Wakayama who eat the local cuisines are expressed to be " Kishu people well examine food taste".
♪ There are many local cuisines in Wakayama prefecture. Plums (“Ume” in Japanese) will be become to "Plum rice (“Ume Gohan” in Japanese)" and “Plum pickles (“Umeboshi” in Japanese). For local cuisine using vegetables, there are "potato cake (“Imomochi” in Japanese) ", "bean curd grill (“Tofu Yaki” in Japanese)”, "sesame bean curd (“Goma Tofu” in Japanese)”, etc．In particular, as using sea foods we can see many kind of “Sushi”. You may frequently hear names of “Sushi of saury (“Sanma Zushi” in Japanese)”, “Sushi of sweet fish (“Ayu Zushi” in Japanese), “Sushi of persimmon leaf (“Kakinohazushi” in Japanese)” which was described in our “Nara Prefecture” in FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (7)-2 , etc. It must to be valuable to eat such “Sushi”. Of course there are also many local cuisines using seafoods other than “Sushi”. For example, "longtooth grouper cusines (”Que ryori” in Japanese)” , "whale cuisines (“Kujira ryori" in Japanese)”, "moray eel cuisines (”Utsubo ryori” in Japanese)” etc. Let's introduce some of "Sushi" of Wakayama prefecture.
☆“Antokume sea weed (Japanese name is "Antokume” or “Me”) is harvested in spring on the coast of Higashi Muro region. This sea weed has bigger size than Japanese fan (“Uchiwa” in Japanese). To make “Me no Sushi”, after the sunny-dried the sea weed was boiled with “Dashi”, vinegared rice (“Sushimeshi” in Japanese) was wrapped with the boiled “Me”. In the case of wrapping cooked rice (not Sushimeshi) with the boiled “Me”, it makes “Me no Nigiri”.
☆“Fermentedted Sushi of mackerel (“Saba no Narezushi” in Japanese)”: There is a history of “Narezushi” (fermented Sushi of fish) over 800 years in Wakayama. “Narezushi” in Wakayama is originally an event food. .In "Narezushi” of Arita region, mackerel is wrapped with "leaf of Ase" in which “Ase” is a bamboo-like gramineous plant. Then closely packs it in a barrel on which a heavy stone is placed. You can eat after soak it for 4 days in this state. Although the smell is tight, it is addictive if you eat it. It is said that it occurred with lactic acid fermentation by accident, when rice and salted mackerel are packed in bottles and barrels together.
✩”Gun-shaped Sushi of saury fish” (“Saera no Teppo” in Japanese)”. “Saera”is the dialect in the southern part of Wakayama prefecture, that means saury fish. In this region, “Saera” having less fat is taken from autumn to winter. Sushi rice is cut in a slender shape according to the shape of saury and push the saury onto the rice. The total shape of this Sushi resembles a gun which means “Teppo” in Japanese. ”Saera no Teppo” was basically made when there is a celebration.
☆"Que" which can be taken in Hidaka town is known as an expensive fish with white meat and it is a carnivorous fish. The season of this fish is winter. It is the best delicious as cooking of pot hot but is very delicious too as Sashimi, fried cooking and mixing to cooked rice. Please eat “Que” cuisines by all means.
♪ Wakayama prefecture faces sea and further, there are mountains, hot springs, plenty of delicious fruits and many local cuisines. There are many historically attractive places too. Why do not you visit there?
♪ Next will be mentioned for the FOOD CUTURE ANECDOTES of Tottori and Shimane Prefectures as FOOD CUTURE ANECDOTES Part1 (8)-1.
Refer to FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (7)-2 (Hyogo and Nara Prefectures).