The Art of Soy – Tofu in Kyoto

Shojin Ryori cuisine

Kyoto tofu is the best in the world - perfected by buddhist monks over centuries. Tofu here is varied - from the skin (yuba) to the squares in broth (yudofu) - but never bland and dull. And this also has a lot to do with how Kyoto cuisine has elevated the use of the soybean. On my visits to Kyoto, I will always hunt down some good tofu focused and "shojin ryori" (buddhist cuisine) restaurants and here are some suggestions. To note, all of the restaurants below, except for Seike Yuba,...

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Ajiro in Kyoto is the Temple for Japanese Buddhist Cuisine

Shojin Ryori cuisine

Michelin one-starred Ajiro is certainly the temple of buddhist vegetarian ("shojin ryori") cuisine with the foundation of its food being yuba, the tofu skin that Kyoto is famous for.  I've been here in both winter and summer and have enjoyed both visits immensely. Beautifully presented dishes are brought forth as we scoop the yuba from a simmering box of soy milk. So this is non-stop yuba snacking punctuated by vegetarian presentations of meat dishes. And best of all, whether it's true or...

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Sasagin, Tokyo – Late Summer Goodness at a Favourite Izakaya

Every time I visit Tokyo, I look forward to squeezing in dinner at Sasagin especially when there are seasonal goodies to try. This time round the Sanma fish (or Pacific Saury in english and, according to Wikipedia, also known as the mackerel pike) was in season and it was simply grilled with salt. The Sanma is an oily fish but much less fishy than mackerel or sardine. And when its grilled just right with salt, all you need is a squeeze of lime or lemon. While also known for a great...

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Hanamaru, Tokyo – Best Conveyor Belt Sushi has a Ginza Branch

I'd happily recommend Hanamaru to anyone looking for good sushi in Tokyo and now that its Ginza branch is open, it's even better. This is conveyor belt sushi that renders a visit to a Michelin-starred sushi-ya unnecessary for the most part, especially as I could eat almost 12 times at Hanamaru for the cost of a single meal at the loftier restaurants (JPY 2,500 which is around USD 25 left me very full and happy enough to cry). The fish is fresh and Hanamaru serves some Hokkaido specialities...

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Il Traghetto – Good Hearty Italian in Takehara

After a of day roaming around the nearby islands, I was looking forward to a good warm meal with decent wine and a place I could kick back and relax in Takehara. Il Traghetto certainly met our needs. This is rustic Italian food interpreted by Kaoru Shinzaki, a retired corporate man who loves cooking. Shinzaki-san uses fresh, local produce and seafood and my favorite dish was a delicious risotto full of shrimp that was as Japanese as it was Italian.

Shinzaki-san decided to retire in...

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