4 Mouth-Watering Gourmet Foods for You to Try in Kyoto

  • FOOD
  • Calling all gourmet foodies! Kyoto (京都) is one of the best places for you to try mouth-watering dishes. The city has a wide range of tasty choices when it comes to elegant food culture, and it has an excellent selection of restaurants serving high-quality meals.

    This gives every visitor a chance to have a worthy experience upon visiting. If you are traveling to Kyoto and want to try some top-quality dishes, try these four gourmet foods that’ll surely delight your taste buds.

    1. Konpeito (金平糖)

    Konpeito is a popular Japanese sugar candy. It is aesthetically pleasing and has always been known as the Emperor’s gift of candy. It is more than just a hard dessert as it has quite a history when it comes to its origin.

    It is said that these sugar candies were first introduced by the Portuguese in the 16th century. During this time, sugar was extremely valuable, thus these goods were commonly given as special gifts. High-quality konpeito can be found in Kyoto and these are made by artisans who are still using the techniques developed in the Meiji Era (明治時代).

    A special store in Kyoto called Ryokujuan Shimizu (緑寿庵 清水) specializes in these sweets. The store offers high-grade packaging which makes the konpeito ideal for souvenirs or gifts. They also have an abundance of variations and colors for you to choose from.

    The process of making this is quite complicated as you have to start with a tiny amount of sugar. This undergoes several processes of rotating, heating and adding sugar syrup. If you ever get the chance to visit the Emperor of Japan, konpeito is usually given in an elegant box as a standard way of expressing that you are grateful for the visit.

    2. Sukiyaki (すき焼き)

    Sukiyaki is a Japanese dish that is definitely something worth trying once you visit Kyoto. It is a nabe (鍋) dish which brings out the flavors of the meat, and is often eaten on special occasions.

    Other ingredients are added such as leeks, grilled tofu, shirataki (gelatinous traditional Japanese noodles), shiitake mushrooms, Welsh onions and many more. It is prepared by cooking and stewing the ingredients in a shallow cast-iron pot in sugar, soy sauce, and water.

    If you go to Kyoto, Mishimatei’s (三嶋亭) sukiyaki is something worth tasting; they have perfected serving this dish over the years. It is also offered at an affordable price. However, booking in advance is really important as there are many people who are interested in tasting the best sukiyaki restaurant in town.

    The beef is delicious, and the service and the ambiance are excellent. The beef served here is said to have less fat compared to Kobe beef (神戸牛) so it is great for those who are health-conscious. Whether you are a beef lover or not, you’ll certainly fall in love with this place.

    The building is hidden in a shopping center so you’ll need a little guidance in searching for it. Still, it is one of the places suitable for celebrating occasions such as Thanksgiving.

    3. Mame Daifuku (豆大福)

    Mame daifuku, or soybean cake, is one of the beloved Japanese sweets often given as a souvenir. Some people believe it originated from Koishikawa (小石川) during the Edo Period (江戸時代).

    It often costs 160 yen each and is filled with salty peas and sweet bean jams. Relative to others desserts, it isn’t very sweet and can be eaten with tea. The best place to buy mame daifuku in Kyoto is the well-known Demachi Futaba (出町ふたば), a Japanese sweet store founded in 1899. Most of their sweets are loved by both locals and tourists alike.

    The founder of the shop is said to have originally come from Komatsu (小松), Ishikawa (石川) in which this food has been eaten for a very long time. The sweets they produce are extremely fresh, thus it is advisable to consume them on the day they are bought. Though the line is often long, waiting for this delicious sweet is worth the wait. Sometimes, you can eat them while standing in line waiting to purchase another food. This food is easy to get hooked on; especially the red beans, which have strong, chewy texture and elegant sweetness.

    4. Boiled Tofu (湯豆腐)

    Shoraian (松籟庵) is the place to go for tofu, especially when it comes to boiled tofu from Kyoto. Tofu is a delicate handmade food that is produced in different shops every morning. Although every region in the country produces their own styles of tofu, the ones in Kyoto are differently delicious. This is something which you should eat if you ever visit Kyoto while trying to enjoy the varying seasons.

    The accepted standard of tofu has been perfected over centuries by Buddhist monks, thus it is regarded as the best in the world. It has a deep history rooted in China, where it is believed to have originated from. It was brought to Nara (奈良), which was the old capital of Japan. The presence of many priests associated the food to Buddhism.

    When the priests moved to Kyoto, they brought tofu along with them. From then on, many variations were made such as fried tofu, cold tofu, grilled tofu and boiled tofu. If you’d like to taste the best boiled tofu in town, head to Shoraian. This is not a typical Japanese restaurant as it is located on the western edge of the city. It is located in Arashiyama (嵐山) and can be reached by car.

    Since it is perched on the edge of the mountain, you have to take a short hike along a dirt path and climb several stone steps before reaching the oasis. It has private tatami rooms which provide great views of the scenic river outside. Eating boiled tofu provides a lot of benefits, such as being high protein yet low in fat.

    Japanese cuisines in Kyoto are centered on simplicity and natural flavors while centering on high-quality ingredients. Traveling to the city is never complete without tasting these four must-eat gourmet foods. There are so many affordable dishes and reasonable restaurants that won’t hurt your budget. Explore the elegant food culture of Japan by having your very own experience in one of the best cities in the world.

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