Kaiseki Cuisine of Foodstuffs from Fukushima Offers Best of the Tohoku Prefecture

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Kaiseki cuisine using Fukushima foodstuffs

FUKUSHIMA — A variety of Fukushima foodstuffs, including flounders and tiger puffer fish caught off Fukushima Prefecture and Aizu brand chicken, were used abundantly for a kaiseki multi-course meal devised by chefs from the prefecture and the Japanese Culinary Academy, a Kyoto-based nonprofit.

Its taste and appearance are inspired by Kyoto cooking — which brings out the best in ingredients — and wowed the participants of a tasting event held in February in Fukushima City.

About 100 guests, including Reconstruction Minister Shinako Tsuchiya and municipal officials, attended the event at the Yumori Onsen Hostel. The menu comprised of 10 dishes, including steamed dishes and soup made with local marine products known as Joban-mono; Aizu chicken meatballs; and desserts made using Fukushima-grown fruits.

The tiger puffer fish, which are marketed under the brand name Fukutora, were used as sashimi that was marinated in koji malted rice to bring out its umami. The idea was from the NPO’s vice chair Shingo Sonobe, 53.

“The fish tastes different from what I always eat, and is delicious,” said tiger puffer fisherman Masahiro Ishibashi, 44, after the event.

Tsuchiya said, “I’d never had puffer marinated in koji. It has a profound flavor.”

Anpogaki dried persimmons, a specialty of Date, were served as a side-dish along with yuzu from the town of Yamatsuri.

“I realized anew that Fukushima is a treasure trove of ingredients,” said a student of the academy. “I would like to use these dishes as reference for my cooking.”

The recipes will be posted on the Reconstruction Agency’s website in mid-March, and the kaiseki cuisine will be sold as a bento boxed lunch.

Kenji Maruyama, 44, executive chef of Koriyama Hotel Hananoyu, who helped the project by procuring the ingredients, said, “Once the recipes are posted, we would like to offer a special lodging plan featuring the cuisine.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Chefs who developed a kaiseki multi-course meal using Fukushima foods