First of all, let me explain why I chose the subject of local
Nowadays, all kinds of foods from all over the world are available
in Japan-- if you can afford them! This Asian island nation is
perhaps one of only a few such places in the world.
That is good news in itself. But on the other hand, how many
Japanese people really know enough about the food of our own
Everyone has heard the phrase "local cuisine". But
what does this really mean?
Originally, "local cuisine" meant dishes made with
local ingredients using methods typical of the local area. In
the old days, distribution was much less efficient than it is
today, so people depended on whatever fresh produce was available
locally. Of course, that remains the case today; but with highly
developed distribution networks, the word "local" has
taken on a whole new meaning. Salmon caught in Hokkaido is sold
in Osaka markets in perfectly fresh condition. It is now almost
impossible to make local dishes solely with ingredients from
the local area. Even miso and soy sauce, the basic flavourings
of Japanese cooking, are made from imported soybeans, since Japan
has to import most of the soybeans it consumes.
I think a better definition of "local cuisine" is
dishes prepared using traditional methods of that area, if not
with local ingredients. There must be a good reason why some
dishes have been passed on from generation to
generation. In this series, I'll be selecting some traditional
Japanese dishes, exploring their historical and cultural background,
and presenting the recipes.
Since I'll be taking a personal approach, I may not always
be correct. So if you spot any mistakes, please don't hesitate
to point it out.
And now, let's begin with Osaka, where the Tsuji Group is