Writer Baton: Enjoying Luxurious Oysters from Setouchi, Okayama!

‘Writer baton’ is a project whereby photo-writers from each of the 7 prefectures that surround the Seto Inland Sea send each other their particular prefecture’s specialties. This time Ms. Hori from Hyogo received a parcel from Kokohore Japan’s Ms. Asai in Okayama.

I’d been looking forward to this! After hearing the courier ring the bell I went to the door to retrieve the package. As I gently peeked inside the box I could see the souvenirs, filled with the thoughts of the sender, standing out slightly inside the packaging. I felt excited and opened the box without even using scissors!

Wrapped in English language newspaper pages were two small jars…

And packed on top of the jars was a package of oysters simmered in soy sauce.

Apparently, they’re all processed products made by the oyster fishermen of Mushiage in Setouchi city. The souvenirs came with a message from Ms. Asai to try out all the different flavor variations. By the way, dear readers, did you know that in Okayama there is a city called Setouchi? It was formed through the merger of the towns of Oku, Ushimado and Osafune in 2004.

Well then, without further ado, let’s try these soy sauce simmered oysters.

The oysters that came out of the package are noticeably large. I was surprised at how big they were, considering they were already cooked!

The oysters are wrapped in a sweet, gingery fragrance that doesn’t hide their rich, gentle flavor; it’s almost as if I’m enjoying a homemade dish at a fisherman’s house.

I try them together with the chirashizushi (sushi rice topped with various ingredients) I made for the Hina matsuri (the Girls’ Festival in early March). The combination is the ultimate delicacy. The oysters are so delicious that it makes you feel that you might not need any of the clam soup usually enjoyed during the festival.

The following day, I was pondering how to use the spicy oyster miso.

Recipe ideas for fried miso, or using it as a topping for udon noodles or chilled noodles are attached to the jar. I wondered what to do. After opening the jar to take a look, the lovely aroma of the oysters enclosed within filled the air, and after having a taste of the red miso paste, this is what I came up with.

It’s tan-tan-men (Chinese style spicy noodles) style oyster miso ramen noodles. If you spread the oyster miso paste topping on the noodles, it melts into the soup, giving it a fine finish. I definitely recommend this slightly spicy soup.

The next day, I used the oysters marinated in smoked olive oil to make a Nice-style salad. Its special characteristic is its florid, yet smoky fragrance, which has, apparently, received a national award for local products. I think I made the right choice to use it in such a simple dish. As long as there’s a baguette, cheese and wine, there’s nothing more you need.

I enjoyed such an abundance of variations that you wouldn’t think they were all made with the same oysters and by the same producers. My thanks to Kokohore Japan!

Next, when I pass the baton on, I will be sending some simple Hyogo flavors to Mr. Chiba in Tokushima.

Kaki no Ie “Shiokaze”
Blog: http://www.kaki-shiokaze.jp/ (Japanese)
Telephone orders: 0869-25-0225

Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Madoka Hori

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Written by

Madoka Hori

Madoka Hori

Madoka Hori / Photo-writer Entrepreneurial translator/writer living in Hyogo. As a licensed English tour guide, she occasionally takes tourists to beautiful destinations such as Kobe, Himeji, Okayama, Kyoto, and Osaka and her clients have never got lost so far. On Setouchi Finder, as one of the original team members, she enjoys taking photos and sharing her favorite hidden gems. Private Photo Blog http://riderv328.tumblr.com Twitter https://twitter.com/Riderv328


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