Kaiseki: an artful culinary tradition of Japan
Jan 19, 2020
Japanese cuisine is one of the most popular and loved cuisines in the world,
and you might have heard of Kaiseki; a traditional Japanese meal consisting of many small dishes,
which are usually served at tea ceremonies and other formal occasions.
The main feature of Kaiseki cuisine is that it’s only using the “shun” as its main ingredients.
“Shun” is the Japanese term used for seasonal ingredients, and Kaiseki cuisine uses only the freshest and the best seasonal ingredients available at that time,
seasoned lightly to ensure the true flavor of each ingredients are well presented.
Through this feature, we introduce every details of Kaiseki cuisine, so make sure to stay tuned if you are curious about this culinary masterpiece.
Where you can try Kaiseki cuisine?
Kaiseki cuisines are usually served at tea ceremonies,
but these days you can find them at specialized restaurants or at the Ryokan (Japanese style inn).
Since it’s a multi-course haute cuisine, all dishes in Kaiseki cuisine are served in order, and below is a list of typical courses in a Kaiseki meal:
Sakizuke / Zensai (appetizers)
In French cuisine, Sakizuke or Zensai is similar to an amuse-bouche. It’s a small appetizer, usually served cold.
Suimono (first soup)
Suimono is a clear soup consisting meat or seafood and vegetables, boiled in soy sauce or fish stocks. This clear soup usually tastes very refreshing.
Hassun is a seasonal platter consisting small pieces of sushi and small dishes.
Mukozuke / Otsukuri
Mukouke / Otsukuri is plate of sashimi, consisting several slices of premium seasonal fish.
Takiawase is a vegetable dish served together with fish, meat, or tofu. Each ingredient is simmered separately before served together in a plate.
Futamono / Wanmono
Just like its name, which literally means “lidded dish (futamono)” or “Japanese bowl (wanmono)”, this dish is served in a small bowl with lid, and it’s usually a soup.
Yakimono / Agemono
Yakimono, which literally means “grilled item”, or agemono, which literally means “fried item”, usually features grilled seasonal fish or fried food like tempura.
Nimono is a lightly simmered dish, usually consisting vegetables like bamboo shoots simmered in dashi stocks.
Mushimono is a tasty steamed dish, usually a chawanmushi (steamed egg custard) topped with seafood or fish eggs.
Gohan / Shokuji / Tome-wan / Ko no Mono
This course serves rice dish, such as taki-komi gohan or donabe gohan (seasoned steamed rice with various toppings, or miso-based soup served with rice, or rice served with pickled vegetables.
Mizumono / Mizugashi
Mizumono is the last dish served in Kaiseki dining, usually consisting Japanese traditional sweets like yokan (jelly made of red or white beans).