A unique bamboo shoot
WASHOKU that has the parade of the seasons
WASHOKU is a culture to eat seasonal food in their best season. It is included nice and characteristic ingredients of each season from the mountains and the sea or from the north to the south of the Japan islands.
Talking about seafood, there are four big ocean currents flowing around the islands, the local people as well as visitors enjoy migratory fish caught in every season.
Even if the bonitos, which is almost caught through a season, we distinguish it by the name in different season. Spring bonito is called “HATSU-GATSUO”(HATSU means the first) which is nice and light, autumn bonito is called “MODORI-GATSUO”(MODORI is returning) which is rich and fatty, both definitely fascinate us.
Totally rich in ingredients
For the food from the mountain, SANSAI, or edible wild plant is unique in WASHOKU. SANSAI often means the buds of the plants which passes the winter. It has a strong scum and bitterness in the buds to protect from the bites of hungry animals after hibernation.
That bitterness is also never tasty to human beings. The ancestors established the method of removal of harshness to prepare the wild plants as spring treat, handed down by tradition to a new generation.
TAKENOKO, or bamboo shoot, is a kind of edible wild plant. It is treated as a precious spring ingredient at a traditional Japanese restaurant. It also holds the strong harshness. Generally, it is boiled with rice bran or white rinsing water after washing rice to remove harshness.
However, there is a great difference between the bamboo shoot gathered in the Yamashiro district of Kyoto and the one which we usually eat.
The transient TAKENOKO eaten in the raw
The bamboo shoot harvested in Kyoto is only 10% degree of all the production.
However, the people who know a thing or two say the quality would be the best in Japan.
The selected best quality is called “SHIRAKO TAKENOKO” among them. Surprisingly, you can eat it in raw, truly the exquisite without any unique harshness!
It is never easy to find this “SHIRAKO TAKENOKO” at all.
You must dig up only the shoot totally remains underground because once it comes to the surface on the ground, even a little, it starts holding harshness because of self-protect system as explained above.
Due to this difficulty, few are on the market and traded in 10,000 yen or more per shoot.
I know one farmer to manage bamboo forest which includes cutting the bamboo tree, fertile soil work and fertilizer supplying to harvest “SHIRAKO TAKENOKO” of the highest grade every year.
He wishes many people as possible to taste this feast for only a few weeks from a plum blossom falling to a cherry bud opening.There is no guarantee to sell it at certain times because the nature decides the season.
Anyway, if you have a chance to visit Kyoto in the early spring, trying to find “SHIRAKO TAKENOKO” is one good way to feel the season as well as Hanami, the plum blossom viewing.
Duration of quality retention:
A few days
At a room temperature ,avoid direct sunlight and high temperature
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Experience or Factory tour
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Enjoy your trip in Japan and WASHOKU CLIP WORLD !