Kaiseki-ryōri, Japanese haute cuisine

Kaiseki-ryōri (会 席 料理, sometimes referred to simply as kaiseki) is traditional Japanese high food. Its origins date back several centuries, consisting of simple meals that accompanied the tea ceremony, but later evolved into an elaborate style of food within aristocratic circles. Today the kaiseki It is served in specialized restaurants or it can be eaten in a ryokan.

The food has a prescribed order of dishes, most of which are prepared using traditional Japanese cooking techniques. However, the chefs of kaiseki they are free to add, omit or substitute the order to highlight regional or seasonal delicacies, as well as add a personal touch. Below is a list of the dishes presented in order:

Tickets

Kaiseki entrance

  • Shokuzen-shu (食 前 酒): It is an alcohol-based drink that is taken before starting to eat, it serves to whet the appetite. It is usually a sweet wine or local alcohol.
  • Appetizers: It is a selection of beautifully prepared morsels served on an elongated plate known as hassun, named for its typical measurement of eight suns (approximately 24 centimeters).

Cymbals

Kaiseki cymbals

  • Soup (吸 い 物, suimono): Soup is an integral part of kaiseki. It usually consists of broth with few ingredients such as vegetables, tofu, or seafood.
  • Sashimi (刺身): Sashimi consists of raw fish, cut into thin strips, served with Japanese radish and accompanied with soy sauce and a bit of pasta. wasabi. Sometimes he sashimi it is also used as an aperitif.
  • Boiled dish (煮 物, nimono): The nimono it is a boiled dish or stew of vegetables and meat or seafood. It is usually mixed with soy sauce, cooking sake, and sugar.
  • Grilled dish (焼 き 物, yakimono): Cymbals yakimono they usually consist of grilled fish or meat. The fish can be a local variety of freshwater or shellfish, depending on the region. The meat usually consists of wagyu (beef) local.
  • Fried dish (揚 げ 物, agemono): The fried dish is commonly tempura (seafood and vegetables fried in a thin layer of flour). It is usually served near the end of the meal and accompanied by a dressing.
  • Steamed dish (蒸 し 物, mushimono): The most common steamed dish is chawanmushi, a salted egg custard, seasoned with fish and containing small portions of mushrooms, chicken, ginko nuts and shellfish. It is served in a cup-shaped plate with a lid, and eaten with a spoon.
  • Vinegary dish (酢 の 物, sunomono): These dishes usually consist of vegetables and seafood (fish or octopus) dressed with a vinegar-based sauce. They are usually served in shallow plates.

Shokuji (食 事)

Kaiseki shokuji

The shokuji consists of rice, soup miso and pickled appetizers (漬 物, tsukemono) and is always served at the end of the meal, before dessert.

  • Rice: A plate of white rice is served, although in some ryokan variations such as mugi gohan (rice with barley), okayu (rice pudding), takenoko gohan (rice with bamboo stems) and other seasonal dishes with rice.
  • Miso soup: Accompany the rice. It consists of pasta miso with fish, shellfish, vegetables and tofu.
  • Pickled appetizers (漬 物, tsukemono): Pickled vegetables, including foods like takuan (radish), umeboshi (plum) and hakusai no sokusekizuke (Chinese pumpkin).

Desserts:

  • Sweets: Usually local or seasonal food is offered, such as fresh fruit, a sorbet or other light desserts.