Friday, August 17, 2012

Kochi B-grade Gourmet

Shirasu Ramen

   Have you ever heard the term “B-kyu” (B-grade) gourmet? Much of local dishes are what we call B-grade, meaning they are not high-class, but rather affordable yet tasty dishes for the common people.

   In 2009, Kochi Food Think Tank and Kochi City’s Tourism Division held a joint project called “Kochi B-kyu Gourmet Restoration!!” with the idea to invent a new dish representative of Kochi using locally produced ingredients. A contest was held with a noodles division and a donburi (rice bowl) division, and “Shirasu ramen” and “Naruko-don” were declared the winners. The two dishes are already being sold in some eateries in Kochi.

   Shirasu (whitebait) ramen uses irijiru—stock taken from whitebait—for the soup, and toppings differ at each eatery. Some include dried whitebait, fish meatballs, myoga ginger, and boiled egg. There are restaurants that also add bonito stock or yuzu citrus zest to the soup. Kochi prefecture is number two in shirasu production volume.

   Naruko-don is rice topped with colorful ingredients such as eggplant, shishito peppers, ginger, and myoga (all of which Kochi prefecture boasts the highest production in volume), as well as red and yellow bell peppers, and resembles the naruko clappers used in Yosakoi dancing. Variations include added dried soybean for a crunchy texture or Tosa Hachikin Jidori (local free-range chicken meat). Some places even use rice grown here in Kochi.

Taken from vol.40 PDF

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