Pickles galore on sale at Nishiki Market
A visit to this Kyoto food market teaches one that
Humble pickles can be culinary as well as
visual highlights of meals in the Japanese city
When in Kyoto, I was happy to eat Osaka-style as well as
Kyoto-style and Edo-style sushi! ;b
"When you tire of the temples and gardens of Kyoto and want a glimpse of everyday Kyoto life, a walk down Nishiki-koji (Nishiki market) will surely refresh your spirits." So wrote Risa Sekiguchi, the woman behind the Savory Japan blog (or is it full-fledged website?). And I can definitely vouch re the validity of her words -- what with this Central Kyoto food market being the third attraction I checked out of my post- and anti-temple fatigue day.
Though the five block long market that has been described as "Kyoto's kitchen" cannot match, never mind beat, the size of Tokyo's Tsukiji Market, it is similarly atmospheric, lively and full of color. And while it also is a working market, one big difference is that it's a retail -- rather than wholesale -- market, so there are bite-sized samples laid out by many of the stalls and one feels more able to purchase food items at Nishiki. (For the record, I actually managed to restrain myself and limit my purchase just to a packet of delicious dried -- I kid you not -- okra, or "lady's fingers" as I was first taught to call them back in Penang!)
Almost needless to say, a stroll through Nishiki Market had a similar effect on my appetite as a walk around Tsukiji: i.e., it made me super hungry! And this despite my having gone ahead and sampled some tsukemono that I had previously never seen nor tasted before at a few stalls. (And yes, I did make a point to not take more than two samples from each stall to spread things around...!)
But rather than buy some of the takeaway food on offer (including Kyoto-style sushi and sweet snacks), I managed to stave off my cravings for a bit and went instead to have dinner in a sit-down restaurant. Not too far away from the market, I came across a branch of a restaurant I first ate at in Osaka some years back.
Kani Doraku is considered on the touristy side but I had good memories of my crab meal in Osaka. And while I have to be honest and say that the two kani-ya I ate at in Sapporo this past July were quite a bit better quality-wise (with Hyousetsu-no-mon getting my vote for best of the three), the service was excellent and, heck, I got to eat more wonderful kani miso along with some Osaka-style crab sushi! ;b