Oden: A Warm Cure for New Year’s Hangovers and Fatigues

A delicious assortment of ingredients stewed in a light, dashi broth, oden is just the perfect remedy for the after-effects of the seasonable binge-drinking and partying

  • Oden: A Warm Cure for New Year’s Hangovers and Fatigues
  • Oden: A Warm Cure for New Year’s Hangovers and Fatigues
  • Oden: A Warm Cure for New Year’s Hangovers and Fatigues
  • Oden: A Warm Cure for New Year’s Hangovers and Fatigues
  • Oden: A Warm Cure for New Year’s Hangovers and Fatigues

In this severely cold season, oden helps warm the body from the inside out and offers a comforting cuddle for the stomach, fatigued by the customary New Year’s heavy meals and drinking parties. There is many a restaurant where one can have a bowl of the typical stewon one’s own, without feeling too awkward. 
Oden originates from dengaku, bean curd baked and coated with miso, an ancient recipe of skewered ingredients grilled (yaki-dengaku) or boiled (nikomi-dengaku). Around the 17th century, odencame to designate the boiled type, whereas grilled skewers went on being referred to as dengaku. A street food speciality from Kantō (Tokyo area), it later spread to Kansai (Osaka area). Kansai’s oden differs greatly from Kantō’s oden in terms of ingredients and flavour. For example, the Kansai version is recognisable by its thin broth, whereas in the Kantō version the broth is thicker and darker. Kansai people call the Kantō version of oden Kantō-dakior Kantō-ni.
Oden is a highly digestible food, whose base is a soup made with bonito flakes (katsuobushi) and kelp. Stewing in it is a wide array of ingredients, including but not limited to satsuma-age(fried fishcakes), hanpen(surimi triangles), chikuwa(ring-shaped fishcakes), konjac, daikon radish, ganmokudoki(fried tofu mixed with chopped vegetables), hard-boiled eggs and kara-age(deep-fried chicken).
As for Tokyo, you will be spoilt for choice. From long-established shops to more stylish options, here are a few recommendations.
Azabujūban: Fukushimaya
This historic shopsells kamaboko(a type of cured surimi) on the ground floor, whereas the first floor it has an eat-in space offering oden in either a shōyu (soy sauce)-based broth or a miso-based broth, the latter being prepared with Hatcho red miso from Aichi prefecture. 
Yotsuya: Oden-ya
Recognisableby a sign reading Atsu Atsu Oden (“piping hot oden”),  this exquisitely retro-style place has traditional food carts that can be reserved by groups to benefit from the 4,000 yen all-you-can-eat-and-drink formula. A highlight is dashi-wari, Japanese sake mixed with oden broth. Are you brave enough?
Shinbashi: Otakō
When the working day is done in Shibbashi, you can stop at Otakō foroden and a glass of sake, in an unpretentious settingwhich is ideal for some alone time. Also on the menu are sashimi, grilled meat and fish, deep-fried chicken and other delicacies.
Ebisu: Nihonshu Hanatare
Renowned for its seafood umi oden, this cosy shop has a counter which accommodates up to 10 people. The seafood is sourced daily from Sashima Harbour and Yokohama’s Fish Market. Depending on the season, oden is to be enjoyed with a glass of warm or cold sake, chosen from a selection of twenty.
Daikan-yama: Ore no Oden
Situated in a plush residential areathis place it has a completely different flair compared to any other oden shop, resembling a stylish bar or lounge. Here you can tasteKansai-styled oden until well into the night, paired with one of the 100 types of ume-shu(plum wine) on the list.

Author : The Slowear Journal


Oden  | broth  | Tokyo  | Japanese food  |

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