Last week, I've been to this Washoku Food Festival held at Kenninji Temple.
Beautiful dragon drawing on the ceiling inside of the temple
I should, though, tell you upfront that I'm not taking about Takoyaki (Octopus balls) , Okonomiyaki, Ramen, nor about Japanese curry. I know those are the tastes many tourists in Japan may look forward to experience. So I'm sorry for not talking about them this time.
"Washoku" means "Japanese cuisine" basically, but it's more like traditional/classical food as you would find on grandma's dining table, or it could be the ones you find in posh restaurants.
My aims were to eat "Daikon no Taitan" (Japanese radish cooked in Seaweed/Bonito soup and other seasonings like white soy), and to eat "Kasu Jiru" (soup using sake lees with veges like radish and carrots, also deep fried tofu is very common ingredient).
The chefs serving dishes
"Daikon no Taitan" gets perfumed with freshly grated citron peel on top. SO GOOD.
At this festival, famous restaurants cook those classic dishes with their own recipes. And they offer those 300 yen for each!! Considering those restaurants' course is at least from 5000 yen (and it's for lunch), it's pretty cheap I have to say.
Kasu Jiru is broadly eaten in western Japan.
(As myself being from different part of Japan, I never heard of it until I moved to Kyoto. And it took me a while to try it because of my friend told me it looks like
tissue melted in the soup...haha)
Typical Kasujiru looking
Other than those dishes, there were so many free tastings of vegetable pickles, or sweets. It was kind of sad that I found mostly Japanese people at this festival, and I thought it's no wonder as there is no English nor any other languages. Okay there were some English words, but "Washoku" and "Entrance" are the pretty much it. And Washoku is not even English.
This day I felt I truly love Japanese classical cuisine, but I felt disappointment also on how least it may appeal to non-Japanese simply because there were almost none explanations in English on what this event is all about/what you taste etc.. It is something we have to work on if we want "Washoku" to be know as one of the strongest attractions of Japan (or it just may seem so).
Or if there were English signs, they could have been something like putting Japanese words into alphabets without any explanations (typical case. "Washoku" to start with) which doesn't really speaks anything.
Acquiring self presentation skill is probably more urgent task than learning English?
What am I talking now.
Anyway, "Washoku" culture is something.
And I hope this something will get more widely known outside Japan even for those who are not interested in Japan:)
Image of eating tissue. Eating Kaujiru is nothing comparable to this! Kasujiru is just YUM.