Enjoy a Traditional Kudzu Lunch at Tengyokudo Nara Honten Restaurant
Established in 1870, Inoue Tengyokudo is a shop specializing in kudzu, a starch made from Japanese arrowroot. Developed by a unique method in the Yoshino region of Nara Prefecture, Yoshinomoto Kudzu's directly managed store offers a kudzu lunch and sweets. It is located near Todaiji, the famous temple housing a giant Buddha statue in Nara.
Just as you might expect, the main items on the menu are made with kudzu.
Nara Yama-no-Sachi ( "blessings of the mountains") Rice Bowl is a limited-quantity meal that comes highly recommended.
Besides this meal, the menu is composed of many other items.
The tea was served in teacups made by famous ceramic artists.
The Limited-Quantity "Nara Yama-no-Sachi Rice Bowl"
Since I'm a sucker for the phrase, "limited quantity", I settled on this dish.
Nara Yama-no-Sachi Rice Bowl (kudzu mochi set) ¥1,404 (tax included)
Served with a small side dish, pickled vegetables, and suimono soup
As I lifted the lid covering the suimono clear soup, the pleasant aroma of its dashi broth
gently enveloped the room.
On top of warm rice, there was a dollop of grated Japanese yam. The kudzu was placed above it. Garnished with an umeboshi dried plum and shiso perilla leaf, it looked so good.
The soup was very refined, with a deliciously healing taste.
Although I didn't care for it as a child, as I grew up, I suddenly came to like hijiki-no-nimono. This is a simmered side dish made of dark, edible seaweed.
On top of steaming hot rice, the sticky grated Japanese yam melted in my mouth, and the kudzu, effectively steeped in the dashi broth, tasted mild on the tongue.
It had such a nice, gentle flavor!
As I kept eating, Anago eel started appearing from inside the rice!
When I tried the tasty anago and the sour umeboshi together, it was very refreshing.
After finishing the rice bowl, this kudzu mochi dessert appeared.
The freshly-made kudzu mochi was still warm. Topped with brown sugar syrup and sprinkled with soybean powder, it was really good!
When I lifted it with my chopsticks, the elasticity of the kudzu mochi made it stretch far!
It was so soft, and its mouthfeel was moist and juicy! Eaten with the brown sugar syrup and soybean powder, this delicious dessert was a moment of happiness!
As I looked out the window, I could see a lot of flowering plants. With the autumn foliage and spring sakura, this garden may be enjoyed in any season.