Sunday, 8 August 2010

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

Sooo the big trip has been made... and my passion for Japanese food has become even stronger. The first days I was back in London, I popped into the Japan Centre Deli on Piccadilly every day
(which also means I'm even more broke now). I so miss having onigiri for every meal :) (I know, not traditional, but still). Out of the 300something pictures I took, at least a third of them involves food (yeah I know, surprise...).

So, I went to Kyoto, the supposedly most traditional and amazing city in Japan... truth be told, I was rather disappointed. All the big sights are really really for from each other, and most of them charge entrance fees when you could actually see something similar for free elsewhere in the area. If you're not totally into buddhism, or architecture, most of it is not worth it.

A highlight of my trip was the visit to Nishiki Market, though. It's a covered food market a 10 min walk from the main station that makes a wonderful stroll on a rainy afternoon. And while there are lots of non-vegan items (fish is the staple after rice in this country, after all), I bought a wonderful selection of tsukemono (Japanese pickles) at the market. I would have loved to buy some of the tofu specialities, but they all needed refridgeration so I didn't dare taking them on my 12hr flight.

A Scotsman's dream, fried everything! I loved stuffing myself with shoga, which costs an arm and a leg, if you can get it at all in Europe.
They had a big variety of pickles, especially nukazuke (rice bran pickles). Stupidly, I never found the nuka to make your own in Japanese shops at home... because all cookbooks show it in rectangular boxes! It comes in plastic bags, just like miso paste and is often found on the same shelf. I know, d'oh! Reading labels and learning kanji helps, sometimes.

This dapper chap was in charge of the tofu stall... they had tofu anything, and every variety of tofu on top!

... dare I say, welcome to Asia? Scary fish heads :(

The price of fruit and veg in Japan is crazy. Seasonal, local Japanese foods, such as Asian greens and sprouts are really cheap, but even tomatoes are not affordable. I saw a tiny sad courgette for 400yen (that's about 3 GBP!).

The pickle shop! Nishiri is probably the most famous pickle shop Japan wide. I bought myself the biggest gift package of tsukemono. Their packaging is so pretty though, I don't dare opening/eating any of it!!!


HayMarket8 said...

A whole tofu stall?!?! Awesome. v Stay away from those fish heads.

aimee said...

Wow! A trip to Japan -- fabulous! Thanks for the photos!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

I enjoyed Nishiki Market as well.. there was a macrobiotic place nearby that had the best vegan parfaits!

Amanda Kendle said...


I was surprised at first when I read you didn't really like Kyoto that much - but you're quite right, all the main attractions are really widely spread and it's probably not a great city to visit as such. I used to live near Kyoto (Nara) and so would just go to see one thing on my day off, but I can imagine if you were there for a few days and wanted to have a good look around it would be trickier. Great markets though!

And thanks for taking part in Not A Ballerina's Weekend Wanderings.