Nishiki Market, known as “The Kitchen of Kyoto,” has been in existence since 1311 having started as a fish market. Presently, it consists of hundreds of stalls selling seafood, pickled vegetables, skewers (they serve cuttlefish on a popsicle stick that my husband decided to nickname “cuttlepop”), tea, spices, sushi, rice cakes: all served beautifully and with so much effort for, well, humble food.
Seafood on popsicle sticks
Beautiful, fresh sushi
Among the more unique food we tried were:
QUAIL EGG INSIDE AN OCTOPUS’ HEAD
MUGWORT-FLAVORED RICE CAKE
We also got a few items to take home:
During our first lunch meal in a restaurant that only served tempura udon, we were curious to find green powder served with the ebi tempura with no tempura sauce in sight. We were told that the ebi tempura was to be”dipped” in the salty green powder. It was green tea salt!
We stumbled upon the only stall that sold green tea salt, Kyoto’s original table salt. Been researching on recipes using it- others mix it with other spices as a rub, make green tea-salted popcorn, or sprinkle seafood with.
Next we came upon a unique stall that sold spices that may be used as a rub for fish/meat OR made into soup! Got me a can of lemon-peppery spices for the nights I need a quick fix.
Lastly, who doesn’t love Japanese rice? Got us a kilo of traditional “Kyoto rice.”
The local pulse was surely felt in Kyoto’s Kitchen. Conde Nast, in its article (http://www.cntraveler.com/food/2012/07/nishiki-market-guide-kyoto), sums it up best: “It’s the perfect place to come to find a cheap meal or a snack, or just to witness the quality and care with which the Japanese treat even the most ordinary, the most humble, objects of life. After all, that attention to detail and presentation is, as much as the food itself, what makes Japan the place it is.”