Do you know what this tiered box covered with finely sliced egg is?
Before I tell you the answer, let me tell you about Okayama’s famed Bizen barazushi.
Bizen barazushi was conceived in the early Edo period (1603-1868) when the townspeople rebelled against a decree stating that “there shall be only a single dish on the dining table” by the frugal expenditure policies of Ikeda Mitsumasa, the first daimyo of Bizen Okayama.
“One dish is still one dish even if put on rice,” is said to be the origins of eating fish and vegetables on rice. Clearly, the people of Okayama had a deep wish to eat delicious food no matter what, which is how the tiered box with sliced egg you see above came into existence.
Let’s have a try then!
I close the lid… And over it goes! (*Actually, the restaurant staff did it for me).
Shrimp, mantis shrimp, conger eel, salted salmon roe, and of course sardinella, too. In utter defiance of frugality, Kakushi sushi (hidden sushi) is a luxurious sushi dish filled with the blessings of the Setouchi area’s land and sea that changes every season.
Forbidden luxury, the townspeople put extravagant ingredients at the bottom of tiered boxes. According to legend, they would only eat rice in the presence of others, but when out of sight, they’d turn the box over and enjoy the main part of the meal.
Though a reproduction of a food culture born of the gluttony of people in Ikeda’s domain where simple was considered virtuous, the people wished to eat delicacies.
The ingredient that brings out the flavor of this sushi is irizake. Used a sushi condiment in the era before soy sauce, irizake was made by boiling down pickled plums in sake and dash.
Although simple, this sauce with its rich dashi flavor brings out the flavor of the ingredients.
Coupled with this delightful Okayama story, the kakushi sushi that will make your trip twice as great is offered at Japanese restaurant Kibizen on the 2nd floor of Hotel Granvia at the East exit of Okayama station. As only a limited number are offered each day, we recommend making a reservation in advance.
Japanese Restaurant Kibizen
Location: Hotel Granvia Okayama 2nd floor, 1-5 Ekimoto-machi, Kita-ku, Okayama city, Okayama prefecture
Business hours: 11:30-14:30 (last orders 14:00), 17:30-22:00 (last orders 21:00)
*The kakushi sushi is available only at dinner time
Setouchi Finder Photo-writers: Katsutoshi Asai / Asami Asai (Kokohore Japan)
Katsutoshi Asai Producer and member of the Setouchi Regional Revitalization Association. Born in Yokohama in 1974, Katsutoshi is married and has a young son. Although he started his career with an advertising agency, he went to join the Tower Records team. Katsutoshi was involved with brand management, sales campaigns, collaboration work, and live events. Through his career, he experienced being the Sales Promotion Manager, and the Manager of the Live Entertainment Department. However, in 2012, Katsuyoshi retired from Tower Records and moved to Seto city, Okayama prefecture - a place where he had no prior friends, connections or relatives. Soon after moving, he joined the Setouchi Regional Revitalization Association, and in July 2013 founded Kokohore Japan and began a number of projects to re-task old traditional buildings, invent new specialty products, and work on regional branding. Website: Kokohore Japan http://kkhr.jp/ Asami Asai Editor & Writer I mainly write about social news, music, and lifestyles. I was born and raised in Tokyo, but in 2012 I decided on a whim to move to Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture. I contribute to magazines such as Liniere, Inakagurashi no Hon, and ku:nel. I publish books for my 'interesting' friends, too, and direct and write for programs at FM Okayama. Everyday I write about people and things for both readers and listeners. Website: Kokohore Japan http://kkhr.jp/
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