Kyoto's home cooking

Japan’s traditional food culture was registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013, and many people might be interested in Japanese food.
Kyoto’s food culture reflects its long history, rich nature, and religion.
Among the food culture of Kyoto, “Obanzai” is the style of cooking in which one can feel the daily life of Kyoto. When you visit Kyoto with your children, we really want you to enjoy the taste of Kyoto “Obanzai”. The traditional Kyoto flavor based on Japan’s unique taste of the broth is something that even small children can enjoy.
This time we will introduce the charm of “Obanzai”.

Kyoto’s home cooking – what is “Obanzai”?

“Obanzai” is written in Kanji as “番菜”.
It is said that “番” (ban) means “every day” and “poor”, and “菜” (zai) means “side dish”. So, “Obanzai” is a home-cooked dish that is eaten daily in Kyoto. People often refer to “the taste of the home,” and “Obanzai” is exactly the same thing. It may be said that it is a taste that has been passed on from generation to generation in Kyoto.
“Obanzai” is a daily home cooking, so it is well thought out to save money, and use up seasonal ingredients and dried food. In addition, ”Obanzai” is often made of food which will last for a long time and can be prepared ahead of time and used when needed.
A typical meal would be rice as the main staple along with some soup, one main dish, and two side dishes. In Japanese, this is called “Ichiju-sansai” (one soup, 3 dishes). Because meals usually consist of these things you will often see some “Obanzai” on the table.

Kyoto's home cooking

“Obanzai” is a mother’s dish that supports children’s health

There are beef bouillon, chicken bouillon, consommé and so on in the world. Do you know Japanese broth, called “Dashi,” in Japanese? “Dashi” is an element of the so-called soup of Japanese cuisine. It is an important ingredient used to highlight various tastes. “Dashi” is made from either dried bonito flakes or dried seaweed called kelp. The base of “Obanzai” seasoning is also based on this soup, as well as simple and gentle flavors using traditional Japanese seasonings (soy sauce, miso, salt, sugar, etc.).
The soup and the mild salty flavors stimulate the appetites of children tired from traveling. Also, many dishes are easy for young children to eat because they are soft from boiling.
In addition, two more attractive qualities of “Obanzai” are that it is healthy because many foods are made by simmering so as not to lose the nutritional balance, and the small portions allow you try various foods.
Indeed, “Obanzai” is a mother’s dish full of wisdom that supports the healthy life of the child and family.

A choice of three menus for children to eat

“Obanzai” is not only delicious, you can enjoy the original taste of every single ingredient.
It may be an opportunity for picky children to discover foods they never imagined they would like.
Here are some of the great “Obanzai” menu that adults and children alike can enjoy.

1.Boiled pumpkin

Boiled pumpkin with “Dashi”. Not only is it appealing to the eye with the beautiful color, but it is also appealing to the mouth as you eat it and enjoy its texture and sweetness.

boiled pumpkin with Dashi

2.Boiled radish with miso sauce

Daikon radish boiled in “dashi” and eaten with miso. The flavor of the “dashi” is absorbed into the daikon radish and when you bite into it you are greeted with a juicy burst of the flavorful “dashi.”

Boiled  with miso

3.Boiled spinach with seasoning

Soak boiled spinach in the “Dashi”, eat with soy sauce, dried bonito and sesame seeds. You can enjoy the vivid green color of the spinach and the crisp texture. It is rich in nutrition.

boiled spinach

Would you like to enjoy a good time with your children and your family?

When you come to Kyoto with your family, fine Kyoto food is good, but trying out everyday home-cooked food in Kyoto will make you feel more familiar with Kyoto.
There are many shops in Kyoto where you can enjoy dining with your entire family, including children.
If you have a small child, you may be able to enjoy a more relaxing dining experience if you have a private room.