The sheer scale of seasonings, spices, pastes and sauces can be almost overwhelming on a first visit to Mishoan Japanese delicatessen in the Nihombashi Mitsukoshi food hall. The wealth of items on the shelves looks appealing, but where do you start?
Begin with produce from Kyoto. The old capital of the country is a haven of the refined flavours of washoku, or Japanese cuisine, and has for centuries been a gourmet centre. Read on to discover three of the best flavours with which to start your gastronomic journey and then let the food stylists in-store be your guides as to what to sample next.
Spice merchant Hararyoukaku was founded in 1703 and its Kuro Shichimi, or black seven-spice powder, is one of the most revered food products from Kyoto. The mix of seven ingredients includes white sesame, chilli pepper, dried seaweed, poppy seeds, black sesame and hemp seeds. The resulting aromatic flavour is distinct, memorable and offers an easy way to elevate the most humble of dishes. In addition to familiar red shichimi seasoning which is regionally available, this delicacy opens a door to ancient Kyoto.
Made from young sardines cooked with green Japanese pepper and then dried, Chirimen Sansho comes in various flavours at Mishoan. The condiment is a favourite in-store and comes from Harema shop in the heart of Kyoto. It was originally created as a gift that Yasuo Harema, the first-generation representative of the store, would offer to close friends as well as the geisha and their maiko apprentices who frequented the Gion area. Chirimen Sansho is best enjoyed simply over rice; its gentle sweetness mixed with the tingle of pepper makes it a perfect appetiser with drinks and a perennial Japanese favourite nationwide.
The fine Saikyo Shiromiso of Honda Miso brewery is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. This type of miso is pleasingly pale and has an elegant but full flavour. It is a perfect ambassador for Kyoto cuisine, as well a firm favourite in Western fusion dishes. It has played a big part in the 200-year history of Honda Miso and reflects the ongoing refinement of Kyoto cuisine to the present day.
Explore Honda Miso.
Location: food hall, lower ground floor, Nihombashi Mitsukoshi main building
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