When a town’s being is inextricably linked to the maxim, “To devour oneself into smash” (Skidmore), it’s a foregone conclusion that the metropolis is severe about its meals. Such is the case of Osaka, Japan’s 2nd-biggest metropolis and gateway to the Kansai region.
Osaka’s disposition for all things culinary stems from a location that has provided get right of entry to extraordinary ingredients, its mercantile history, and being near the ocean and waterway change, defined Aiko Tanaka, professor of meals research at Osaka Shoin Women’s University and creator of “Food Studies of Osaka: From Paddy Field to Our Chopsticks.”
“The mountains surrounding Osaka are the supply of high-grade soft water, that’s simplest at extracting the umami and flavor additives from kombu (kelp) to make dashi,” she said, describing the Kansai location’s preference for making Japan’s flexible and subtly flavored sea inventory. The kind of kelp favored in Kansai is ma kombu, harvested in southern Hokkaido, which turned into historically shipped to the location by using kitamaebune cargo ships following the Edo Period (1603-1868).
An abundance of neighborhood vegetables which includes Naniwa varietals (Naniwa being an olden call for Osaka), as well as smooth, get right of entry to clean and bountiful seafood from the Seto Inland Sea, also performed a part in the prefecture growing its wealthy meals way of life according to Tanaka.
The city’s mercantile beyond was no much less vital, she mentioned, as it formed a significant position in Osaka, turning into what might be described as the epicurean epicenter of Japan. Trade saw Osaka end up a storehouse for rice, and the metropolis earned the moniker of the state’s kitchen take no daidokoro. Merchants might take their clients out to eating places for entertainment and business purposes instead of dining at home.
“Osaka became distinct as a ‘unique financial zone’ within the Edo Period,” Tanaka said. “Located away from the crucial authorities and overt spiritual and political stress, the metropolis gave beginning to famous civilian meals within the huge sense, with Osaka cuisine created and perfected by the ‘human beings’ of Osaka themselves.”
The position of soy in nearby delicacies
Because the Kansai region has historically favored a lighter fashion of dashi than that of Japanese Japan, there is also a desire for a mild-colored soy sauce, usukuchi shōyu. A precursor to soy sauce, tamari is stated to be a liquid byproduct of miso production. It derived simplest from soybeans without wheat brought changed into first produced in Yuasa, Wakayama Prefecture, across the 16th century.
Usukuchi shōyu’s roots can also be traced to Kansai, particularly Tatsuno in Hyogo Prefecture around 1660. The lighter-colored soy sauce functions better than normal soy sauce (Kikuchi shōyu), usually used in Tokyo and the Kanto vicinity.