Like love at first sight, but love at first bite. The place where professionals fall in love with tea is the taste of Oku Yame.
Shigenao Toda, the Asakasa Toda Japanese cuisine restaurant owner, seemed lost in thought as he cast his mind back to the past, “about six years ago at a food trade fair there was one particular sample which completely bowled over everyone who tasted a sip, this was our dashi. When they asked about it, we explained that it is a unique blend of dashi with gyokuro (refined green tea). In addition, it is produced with the assistance of a Oku Yame teashop in Fukuoka Prefecture, an area famous for producing the foremost tea throughout the country, who cooperated with our concept of adding gyokuro to dashi.” Dashi, as it is to washoku, is an essential strut in the foundation of cooking. And, of course Mr. Toda’s restaurant is no different, day after day they make dashi, it is a “dashi so great” that they fell in love with it, and it is the deciding factor for dishes such as soup dish and Takikomi Gohan (a Japanese rice dish made with dashi and soy sauce, and which can include, vegetables, meat, or fish).
Mr Toda is clearly extremely enthusiatic about this dashi, but what exactly is it that makes it so delicious? “When we make dashi, besides gyokuro there are seven other ingredients like konbu (kelp), shiitake mushrooms and four kinds of fish. The sweetness and high-quality taste of the Oku Yame gyokuro links naturally together with the full body taste of dashi, it masks the smell of fish, and produces a taste which is filled with finesse (refined and sophisticated) and vigor.”