Friday, 19 August 2011

Fine dining in Japan

We went to some wonderful food destinations in Japan which really showcased the amazing food the country has to offer. As we're lovers of fine dining, we felt that trying "Kaiseki" in Kyoto was a must as it was known as the haute cuisine of Japanese food. From my understanding, it is sort of like the degustation type menu we have in the western world.

According to Wiki (the source of all worldly information), Kaiseki is a type of art form that balances the taste, texture, appearance and colors of the food. Usually only fresh local and seasonal ingredients are used and the finished dishes are presented on plates that were chosen to enhance the appearance and seasonal theme (Autumn for us) of the meal.

Anyway, I cannot remember the name of the amazing restaurant we go to. I know it was one that we stumbled upon after a tiring day exploring the temples of Kyoto. We were a late booking so we were not able to secure the traditional Japanese style seating, but were seated at the bar which ended up being a great experience as well as we got to interact with the chef and watch them plate up some of the dishes.

We had a fantastic time. Each and every dish was spectacular in it's presentation and they tasted wonderful with all types of different texture flavors. The deserts were interesting and very Japanese but we still love the more indulgent counterparts available to us in Australia more.

When we were in Japan, we also chose to visit mystical Mount Koya, which is known as the world headquarters of the Koyasan Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. Whilst there, we stayed in one of Mount Koya's 120  temple overnight and experienced the quiet lifestyle of the monks. We have the most magical time up in our temple. Although lodging and the dinner and breakfast provided wasn't cheap, it certainly wasn't an expensive venture either and we had the most gorgeous room with beautiful views on the Japanese garden below us.

Our dinner was also one of the most spectacular we've had in Japan and was equivalent to a traditional Japanese vegetarian meal.

I just love the way everything was presented. To the foreigner in me, everything was interesting. I loved how there were vegetables and mushrooms cooking in a make shift pot made out of paper over a burning candle, the tempura was wonderfully tasty and the ginger soup we had incredibly was heart warming. I'm sure there were many other elements of the meal that I can no longer recall in detail but overall, I had a very memorable diner indeed.

Lastly, we had another great meal in Miyajima, which is an island off the coast of Hiroshima. Miyajima was gorgeous and obviously a tourist magnet which made our time their a little less enjoyable just because of the sheer amount of people there. Nonetheless, we stayed overnight at an Inn on Miyajima and had a very good meal indeed. Although not as spectacular or memorable as the other two meals mentioned above, we still thoroughly enjoyed the fine food offered to us.

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