It should surprise no one who knows us that the Nishiki Food Market was one of our first stops in Kyoto. This narrow covered arcade is the number-one source for all kinds of Kyoto treats.
|These are basically molded sugar.|
|A black sesame rice cracker. These things are heavenly.|
|A kind of sweet brown mochi.|
|You know, I spent a lot of time there making this face.|
|Whale tongues in wet clay.|
|A Polynesian sacrificial altar.|
|The work of an adolescent dolphin sociopath.|
|Either an anorexic squid or an eel with hyperthyroidism.|
|Candied octopus lollipops.|
Obviously, Nana and I were neither hungry nor adventurous enough to try everything we saw at Nishiki, though a couple days later we did eat some pretty wild and wonderful stuff at a kaiseki (Japanese haute cuisine) restaurant near our B&B.
Just a few items on the nine-course tasting menu:
- Smoked oysters in a kind of mustard sauce
- Crab dumpling soup (basically, they use every part of the crab but the shell)
- Sashimi (slices of raw fish), including yellowtail, scallops
- Some smoked mackerel with a touch of mustard (which currently ranks among the most delicious things I've ever eaten in my life)
- A chunk of chicken liver
- A hunk of some kind of fish, vaguely mackerel-ish, marinated in that same brown miso paste you saw above
- Japanese winter stew
- Rice with poached salmon and ikura (salmon eggs)
It wasn't cheap, but it was definitely worth it. Even better, we were seated at a counter right in front of the chef, who spoke some English and was able to describe a bit of what he was up to. A lesson, a show, and a fine meal, all rolled into one!