Vegetable brand “Kyoyasai” worth trying

August 6, 2018

Risa Uemura, Mika Nakajima and Mai Hayakawa

What are kyoyasai ?

Kyoto is far from the sea, so it was hard for people to get seafood a long time ago. That’s why people living in Kyoto used to eat mainly vegetables. 1,000 years ago, local people presented the Emperor, who used to live in Kyoto, with several vegetables grown in other prefectures in Japan. Then these vegetables were grown in Kyoto and became good quality thanks to the climate, clean water and cultivation methods there. This was the beginning of Kyoyasai and Kyoto’s speciality vegetables. Even now, some of these vegetables are still grown using the same traditional methods.

There are several requirements for vegetables to be registered as kyoyasai. To suit the image of Kyoto, they have to ship to other prefectures, and must consistently meet the quality standards. Farmers must avoid using pesticides under the Kyoto Kodawari cultivation rules. Also, only types of vegetables that have been grown before the Meiji era are allowed to be called kyoyasai. These special vegetables are used in restaurants and even at home for cooking.  Recently, scientists discovered that “Kyoyasai has an original smell, taste and colors. Furthermore, they have many health benefits such as preventing cancer and keeping a healthy weight as they are low in calories.”

 

Kyoto vegetables which you can try now

Currently, there are twenty types of Kyoto vegetables registered. Some of them are available to harvest all-year round, and some are only available at certain times of the year. Kyoto Mizuna (pother mustard), Kujo green onions, and Mibuna (similar to pother mustard) are grown all-year. Kyoto Mizuna has leaves with a deep slit, and has a crisp texture. It can be cooked in various ways in a range of dishes, for example, with deep-fried bean curd (tofu), dishes prepared in seasoned broth, salads, and can be made into delicious light pickles. Kyoto’s famous springtime vegetable is takenoko (bamboo shoots), also called shiroko. Compared to other bamboo shoots, these have a sweeter taste, and the texture is fleshy and soft. In summer, shishigatani kabocha (pumpkin) is popular. It has a rough shape, like Japanese gourd. Due to its shape, it is sometimes used like a plate, with other food placed on top. An example dish is shishigatani kabocha, which is pumpkin stuffed with minced beef. The shape is unique, so people also use it for its appearance. Fall in Kyoto brings eggplants and chillies to the kitchen. They have various shapes, sizes, and other individual features. There are many Kyoto vegetables harvested in the winter. Above all, the most famous vegetables are kintoki ningin (carrot), Horikawa gobo (burdock) and seigoin daikon (radish). Kintoki ningin carrots are bright red from the surface to the inside. Therefore, they are used to add color to winter dishes such as miso soup and osechi (Japanese New Year’s cuisine). The burdock is bigger compared to normal burdock and has a hollow trunk. So, they soak up surrounding flavors. Seigoin daikons do not taste bitter; instead they have a faintly sweet flavor, so they are often used in oden (Japanese hotpot with assorted ingredients like radish, tofu, or boiled egg). Of all the Kyoto vegetables, the most famous are Kujo green onions and Kyoto Mizuna because they are well known and available to harvest all year.

 

Recommended stores and restaurants for Kyoto vegetables

Finally, we would like to introduce several cafes and restaurants where you can eat Kyoto vegetables. We recommend three restaurants in Kyoto. Isoya on Sanjyo is a casual restaurant where you can eat grilled Kyoto vegetables with an original sauce, a selection of salt, or Miso (bean paste condiment). In the restaurant, fresh Kyoto vegetables which were picked that morning are lined up, and a chef cooks those in front of you. So, you can enjoy eating different Kyoto vegetables and cuisines depending on the day you visit. If you go Isoya, we recommend you reserve in advance.

Gion abbesses on Gion Shijyo is located in an old Kyoto townscape. It is a luxury French restaurant, and you can try authentic French cuisine with colorful Kyoto vegetables. There are more than 150 kinds of wines including natural wines in this restaurant, and you can consult with a wine sommelier.

Obase on Sanjyo. It is a Japanese style restaurant in a renovated kyo-machiya (a traditional tile-roofed wooden house structure with mud walls and an inner garden, built using a framework construction method). This restaurant is very particular about the interior because it chose pieces of furniture to match the traditional building. You can eat original Japanese and Western course meals with Japanese tableware and chopsticks.

We introduced three restaurants where you can eat Kyoto vegetables in a wide variety of dishes. Kyo-branded Products Association (Public Interest Group Corporation) has certified formal Kyoto vegetable dealers in the metropolitan area and the Kinki area as bases for consumption promotion and sales promotion. Now, twenty-five stores in the metropolitan area and twenty-four stores in the Kinki area are certified, and you can easily get Kyoto vegetables at those stores. On the Kyo-branded Products Association’s official site, a lot of cooking recipes using Kyoto vegetables have been released. If you are interested in those dishes, please try cooking them yourself at home!

 

Kyoyasai and Isoya Group

by Mayu Matsumoto, Sae Kawabata and Mayumi Otsuka

Kyoyasai is a general term for all local vegetables that are cultivated in Kyoto. In Japanese, ‘kyo’ stands for ‘Kyoto’, while ‘yasai’ means vegetables. What qualifies as kyoyasai, as opposed to just a normal vegetable has developed with each passing year. At present, there are 35 vegetables that qualify as kyoyasai. And in order for a restaurant to describe their food with the term ‘kyoyasai’, it must meet the following conditions.

  1. The vegetable must have been introduced in the Meiji era.
  2. It must be cultivated all throughout Kyoto Prefecture.
  3. It should contain bamboo shoots, in some form or another.
  4. It must excludes shiitake mushroom and ferns.
  5. It should includes vegetables that were grown or preserved, and extinct varieties.

Vegetables that satisfy these conditions don’t necessarily have to be of a species specific to Kyoto, they just have to be cultivated using methods specific to Kyoto. This would include, for example, Horikawa burdock, Ebiimo (literally, shrimp potato), Kyoto aralia cordata, Kyoto ginger, Kyoto bamboo, and so on.

Isoya Group

Isoya Group

One of the most popular groups of kyoyasai restaurants in Kyoto is the Isoya Group. It is kind of food management company with four strong values.

The first value is original farms. They have farm called Isozumi Farm in Mukou, Kyoto. The company owner grew up on a farm, so he has intimate knowledge of vegetable farming. The dedicated staff grow kyoyasai on these original farms to make customers happy.

The second value is about freshness. It is important to eat vegetables while they are still fresh. Isoya Group employees work hard to limit the time between harvesting and serving the vegetables. Furthermore, employees closely manage ways to keep the vegetables fresh in each restaurant.

The third value is a local farm network. The Isoya Group has cultivated a network of local farms that allow farmers to cooperate with each other. This allows the Isoya Group to always have a fresh supply of not only basic kyoyasai, but also specialty vegetables which may be hard to farm or difficult to find otherwise.

The last value is seasonal kyoyasai. The Isoya Group believes that it is important to eat food that is in season in Japan. Therefore, they make seasonal kyoyasai and cook it in an original way.

The Isoya Group has five restaurants in Kyoto.

Isoya Group Logo

Isozumi

This restaurant’s main food is oden, which is common and popular Japanese food. It contains many ingredients like eggs, white radish, and kelp boiled together in a large pot with a traditional type of Japanese broth called dashi.

Address: 388 Komeyamachi, Kawaramachi line Shijyo, Tyukyouku, Kyoto city
Tel: 075-223-5050
Time: 17:30-24:00 (except Monday)
HP: http://isozumi.isozumi.jp/

Onikai

This restaurant offers many kinds of boiled kyoyasai food like oden, tempura, and nabe, which are typical homemade foods in Japan. Also, nabe is similar to oden, but offers more varieties.

Address: 388 Komeyamachi, Kawaramachi line Shijyo, Tyukyouku, Kyoto city second floor
Tel: 075-223-5052
Time: 17:30-24:00 (except Thursday)
HP: http://onikai.isozumi.jp

Isoya

This restaurant offers many kinds of baked kyoyasai food. Many of their dishes contain salt, miso and some kind of sauce dipped into which you can dip your kyoyasai. Furthermore, they pay close attention to their baking methods and fire temperatures.

Address: 4215, Shimomaruyacho, Kiyamachi line, Tyukyouku, Kyoto city
Radicle Matsuya building 1F
Tel: 075-212-5039
Time: 17:30-24:00 (except Tuesday)
HP: http://isoya.isozumi.jp

Isomatsu

This restaurant make kyoyasai food that pairs well with wine, as it is prepared in an Italian or French style. There are also big wine sellers, so you can enjoy many kinds of wine along with many kinds of kyoyasai food.

Address: 384, Komeyamachi, Kawaramachi line Shijyo, Tyukyouku, Kyoto city
Tel: 075-255-1239
Time: 17:30-24:00 (except Tuesday)
HP: http://isomatsu.isozumi.jp

ISOISM

ISOISM

ISOISM is a restaurant serving many kinds of marinated kyoyasai vegetables. For example, you can eat eggplant marinated in soy sauce, celery marinated in orange sauce , and tomato marinated in white wine. These dishes are unique and original, and are enjoyed by both Japanese and foreigners alike.

Like other restaurants from the Isoya Group, the vegetables served in ISOISM are grown on organic farms and are pesticide-free. Therefore, this restaurant is famous for its originality and safety.

Lunch at ISOISM

Lunch at ISOISM

ISOISM offers a lunch plate of marinated vegetables. You can eat up to 12 marinated vegetables, each of which has good effects on the health of your body. For example, you can eat sweet potato marinated with honey and lemon, and topped with cream cheese and nuts. The effect of this meal is improvement of your intestinal environment. Another one is pumpkin marinated with sweet soy sauce and cheese. The effect is hormonal adjustment and body rejuvenation. A third one is onion marinated with sake and salmon roe. The effect is to speed up the metabolism. Additionally, you can eat seasonal takikomi-gohan and soup. Takikomi-gohan is boiled rice seasoned with soy sauce and mixed with meat or seafood and savory vegetables. In this way you are able to experience the Japanese seasons and you can enjoy Japanese culture in this restaurant.

But be warned: ISOISM is famous, so you should get appointment beforehand.

ISOISM
Adress: 114, Nakai-sho, Karasumanishiiru, Shichijo-line, Gekyo-ku, Kyoto city.
Access: 5 minutes on foot from Kyoto station
Tel: 075-353-5016 ( You can get appointment, if you tell this number.)
Time: Lunch(11:30-15:00) Dinner(17:30-24:00)
HP: http://isoism.isozumi.jp

As you can see, there are many restaurants in Kyoto using Kyoyasai. If you are not sure which restaurant is best for you, we recommend you to go Isoya group restaurants. They have the most enthusiasm toward serving kyoyasai dishes, and they also have the famous omotenashi spirit which makes Japanese hospitality an unforgettable experience. Since their restaurants are sometimes full of customers, we recommend you call ahead and check availability before you visit.

Kyoyasai 〜 legumes com tradição 〜

by Kokoro Yoshikawa, Riko Yokota, Sayuki Yamamoto

 

 

A palavra “kyoyasai” é composta por dois elementos: “kyo” significa Quioto e “yasai” significa legumes em japonês.

 

Para um legume ser considerado “kyoyasai”, tem de cumprir pelos menos três condições:

1. ter uma história de cultivo pelo menos até ao Período Meiji (1868~1912)

2. os vegetais podem ser bambu, mas não cogumelos

3. ser cultivado em Quioto

 

Contudo, não há uma definição clara. A lista de “kyoyasai” reconhecidos por Quioto tem quarenta e um vegetais. O objectivo principal do cultivo do “kyoyasai” não é a sua comercialização. Um vegetal “kyoyasai” normalmente é mais nutritivo do que outros legumes. Muitos pratos à base de verduras usam frequentemente “kyoyasai”. Também são usados no “Obanzai”, um estilo gastronómico típico de Quioto.

 

Alguns exemplos de “kyoyasai” são:

– Kyo Takenoko: bambus cultivados em Quioto.

– Manganji Togarashi: Manganji é o nome de uma terra em Quioto. “Togarashi” é pimenta.

– Kamo Nasu; Kamogamo é o nome de uma terra no norte de Quioto. “Nasu” é beringela.

– Seigoin Daikon: Seigoin é o nome de uma terra em Quioto. “Daikon” é nabo.

– Mizuna: uma espécie de mostarda aromática cultivada inicialmente ao redor do Templo Mibu.

 

Em quase todos os mercados e supermercados de Quioto se pode comprar “kyoyasai”. Para todos as pessoas que visitam esta cidade, é uma oportunidade única para os experimentar.

 

Alguns restaurantes onde se pode experimentar “kyoyasai”:

 

Tawawa

Morada: Bano-cho, Karasuma-dori,Nakagyou-ku,Quioto-shi

Tel: 075-257-8058

Acesso: Descer na estação de Karasumaoike (saída nº4) e andar para sul.

Horário: das 11:00 às 23:00

Homepage: http://www.kyo-tawawa.co.jp/index.htm

 

                                       

 

Nakaya

 

 

Morada: Saiin, Nishi-zanzocho, Ukyo-ku 11-1

Tel: 050-5796-1610

Acesso: Descer na estação de Saiin