Smart & Cheap Japan Travel

For Those Cold Winter Nights – Oden | May 28, 2010

In today’s world of dreary sandwiches, and canned and frozen food, conventional Japanese cuisine has come up as a blessing to people. Refined and elegant, the Japanese gastronomy is considered as one of the best all over the world. Japanese food items have evolved greatly over the past centuries owing to several political as well as social changes. Whereas much of conventional Japanese cuisine was influenced  by the Chinese and Korean cultures in ancient times, Japanese cookery transformed with time, bringing in new flavors and tastes. One of the more traditional foods, “Oden” is a perfect, healthy fusion of the simplicity and distinct tastes of Japanese cooking.

Oden is eaten mostly during winter season in Japan. It is a special type of Japanese stew which incorporates boiled eggs, yam cake, daikon radish, fish cakes, and more. The ingredients are cooked in a kelp-based stock for many hours. Oden is all about the various ingredients soaking for long hours in the soup, making each and every one of them juicer than the next, extracting hot soup that gradually warms your body with every bite you take on those cold nights.

At home, Oden is often prepared in a central big pan on a table, making it yet another ideal dish to merrily eat around the table with friends or family. Once prepared, Oden is usually served with “Karashi,” essentially Japanese hot mustard. Some even include a bit of Karashi on every bite. There are other Oden-specific sauces that the Japanese use as well.

Though it is quite easy to prepare Oden, the soup base and boiling time can make a significant impact on the outcome. There are many specialty Oden vendor shops and Oden restaurants in Japan where you can enjoy this traditional dish during your Japan travel, including 24-7 convenient stores like Family Mart. Because of different habits, various parts of Japan may have their unique styles of preparing Oden, so go ahead and experiment with different soup elements.


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