Tokyo Tokyo Delicious Museum2023


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Reports on the specially organized events

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What can be described as the origin of Tokyo cuisine are the four great dishes of Edo: sushi, tempura, soba, and unagi (eel). The foods loved by Tokyo natives have evolved greatly with changes in the times, and are at the forefront of the modern Tokyo cuisine that is rated on the top level among global cuisines. The “Evolution of Edomae, Ten-Hands Dinner” was held on May 21 (Sunday) at Social Kitchen TORANOMON, featuring five top chefs from restaurants Den, Sushi Matsuura, Tempura Motoyoshi, Osoba no Kouga, and Unagi Hashimoto. These chefs created expressions of the evolution of Edomae cuisine, as well as of the history and culture behind it, and the unique philosophy of master craftsmen.


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Zaiyu Hasegawa

Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa was born in Tokyo in 1982. After graduating from high school, he trained for five years at famed restaurant Uotoku in Kagurazaka, and opened Den in 2007. Den embodies a “new style of Japanese cuisine” overflowing with a playful spirit and hospitality while valuing the wide range of ingredients and unique Japanese traditions. In 2022, it was ranked No. 1 in the “Asia’s 50 best restaurants” rankings. It has two Michelin stars.

Click here to read the Interview

Osoba no Kouga

Hiroshi Kouga

Chef Hiroshi Kouga was born in Tokyo in 1975 and was raised in Tokyo as well. After graduating from high school, he moved into Sunaba (Akasaka Shop), run by one of the three great Tokyo soba families, to begin his training. After gaining 14.5 years of experience in the techniques of preparing Edomae soba, he opened Osoba no Kouga – an approximately 40 square meter restaurant with 17 seats in Nishi Azabu.
The restaurant was awarded the Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand in 2014, 2022, and 2023.

Unagi Hashimoto

Shohei Hashimoto

Chef Shohei Hashimoto was born in Tokyo in 1979. At the age of 24, he joined Hashimoto and began training. He became the fourth generation manager of the restaurant in 2016. In June 2018, he held “a conference to discuss the future of unagi” together with A-zero Co., Ltd. from Okayama Prefecture and Professor Kenzo Kaifu from Chuo University.
He aims to develop unagi cuisine while also addressing resource problems.

Tempura Motoyoshi

Kazuhito Motoyoshi

Chef Kazuhito Motoyoshi was born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1975. He learned the basics at restaurants in Osaka, followed by tempura training in Tokyo. In 2006 at the age of 31, he opened Tempura Motoyoshi in Minami Aoyama. In 2022, he relocated the restaurant to Ebisu. His restaurant has received one Michelin star every year for 13 years starting from 2011.
He conducts technical training in order to communicate the wonders of tempura even outside of Japan.

Sushi Matsuura

Osamu Matsuura

Chef Osamu Matsuura was born in Iizuka City in Fukuoka Prefecture, and was raised in Hiromi Town, Uwa District in Ehime Prefecture. After graduating from high school, he traveled to Tokyo with the goal of becoming a professional skateboarder, but ended up on the path of a sushi chef. At the age of 29, he became manager at the first overseas shop of Sushi Ginza Onodera, located in Hawaii. He later started a shop in Los Angeles before returning to Japan. He opened Sushi Matsuura in September 2019.

“We want to deliver a dining experience that is unlike anything anyone has tasted before.”

“Evolution of Edomae, Ten-Hands Dinner” was held at Social Kitchen TORANOMON, an event facility in Toranomon, divided into two sessions, starting at 17:00 and 19:30.
During this one-night-only live kitchen event, chefs Zaiyu Hasegawa from Den, Osamu Matsuura from Sushi Matsuura, Kazuhito Motoyoshi from Tempura Motoyoshi, Hiroshi Kouga from Osoba no Kouga, and Shohei Hashimoto from Unagi Hashimoto created an expression of modern Edomae cuisine, which they shared with a total of 35 famous foodies and media guests from Japan and overseas.

The producer of the event was Naoyuki Honda, an entrepreneur who is known as a food expert and has close relationships with the chefs.
“When we look at the history of Tokyo cuisine, we end up focusing on the so-called four great dishes of Edo: sushi, tempura, soba, and unagi. During the Edo era, it was common to eat these dishes at yatai outdoor food stalls, and the foods were served in forms much different than they are today. For example, sushi was the size of a rice ball, while unagi was sold cut into pieces and grilled on skewers. Although we describe these dishes as “traditional,” Edomae cuisine has evolved greatly to reach its current form. To five top chefs, I proposed the idea of an expression of modern Edomae cuisine on the theme of an ‘Edomae theory of evolution.’”

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画像提供:東京都江戸東京博物館 / DNPartcom
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“We planned to use open kitchens to reproduce the yatai outdoor food stalls from the Edo Period, and project ukiyo-e paintings of the four great dishes of Edo and other images inside the dining area. For the participating guests who came from Japan and overseas, we intend to provide a dining experience unlike anything anyone has tasted before, created by serving evolved modern Edomae cuisine while directing the diner’s thoughts to scenes of dining from the Edo Period. By eating at a food stall located right in front of them and comparing the food with the dishes served in the Edo Period shown in the video, I hope this will be an opportunity to understand how traditional Edomae cuisine has continued and evolved through the ages.”
Following Mr. Honda’s introductory remarks, the five chefs who he described as “the first to come to mind when thinking of the four great dishes of Edo” took to the stage.

After each of the chefs was introduced, together with the guests they raised a toast of Ruinart Blanc de Blanc champagne, which was selected for its good pairing with Japanese cuisine. When the DJ FPM (Tomoyuki Tanaka) started the first musical selection, the chefs entered their “food stalls” to begin preparation.

Served first to the guest tables were two specialty dishes from Den. The “Den monaka” combined a monaka (wafer with a sweet filling) made by traditional Japanese techniques with modern foie gras, while the “Dentuckey” featuring a unique appearance that at first glance appeared to be fried chicken.

Mr. Honda introduced one of the chefs, “So that guests from Japan and overseas can widely understand the evolution of Tokyo cuisine, Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa from Den, which was ranked No. 1 in the “Asia’s 50 best restaurants” rankings in 2022, has contributed to the evolution of Japanese cuisine in Tokyo and has been a key figure in putting together this event.” The guests experienced a “new style of Japanese cuisine” overflowing with a playful spirit and hospitality.

“The foie gras monaka featured today is made mainly with dried persimmons, which were likely the first sweet food that the citizens of Edo had ever tasted, as sugar was a luxury product at that time. Properly capturing the seasonal feel is an element that is at the core of Japanese cuisine, and I believe it is at the heart of Edo. Therefore the Dentuckey was made using a combination of green plums and perilla leaf, which were available at that time.” (Chef Hasegawa)

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The culture of stand-up meals, a pleasure of the Edomae yatai (food stalls)

At this point, the guests moved in turn to each of the “food stalls” where four of the chefs were stationed. Mr. Honda explained, “We want you to enjoy the stand-up meal style that is unique to yatai (food stalls).”

At Sushi Matsuura, the guests immediately surrounded the counter on three sides, and quickly reached out to take the marinated fatty tuna, gizzard shad fish, tuna crown meat, and monkfish liver rolls that were prepared right in front of their eyes.

“Long ago cargo was transported by hand-pushed carts. The fatty tuna, crown meat, and monkfish liver which are specialties of our restaurant spoil quickly and it is likely that people at that time did not have the opportunity to eat them raw. By combining them with the ancient technique of marinating, we have created an evolution that fuses old and modern. The gizzard shad fish, which was a staple of Edomae sushi, also was in those days highly acidic and was strongly marinated in vinegar. However now the fish can be served lightly vinegared so that people can enjoy the original flavor of the gizzard shad fish. The Tsushima akamutsu (blackthroat seaperch) that was served on rice is a deep sea fish which it is unlikely was caught long ago. When we prepared it by simmering it in well-cured saké made from Japanese saké and pickled plums in the same way as they did during the Edo Period and served it on rice, it was extremely well received by the guests.” (Chef Osamu Matsuura)

During the event, Chef Matsuura discovered an overseas guest who was asking enthusiastically about the well-cured saké through an interpreter.
“Japanese sushi is often pictured as having a high barrier to entry, however long ago it began with this culture of people standing and eating at yatai created for ordinary citizens. People did not come to eat the food of a famous chef, but instead came weekly because a wide variety of food culture styles were all available in a single place (laughs).”
It appeared that the guests enjoyed the casual stand-up meal style.

The soy sauce used is Shibanuma Soy Sauce, made by a company operating in the same place for more than 330 years since its founding. Similar attention was given to the drinks, providing Senkin Organic Natural, an additive-free saké produced by a super-natural mash method using the “Kame-no-o” ancient variety of rice. There was a strong focus on pairing with individual menu items, including serving Shinsei Hinotori kijoshu sweet saké with the monkfish liver rolls.

Next we come to Chef Kouga, who has devoted his blood and sweat to Edomae soba noodles.
He served “caviar soba,” with caviar placed on soba noodles made with fresh perilla leaf and using Gozen buckwheat flower – the highest grade of buckwheat flower that was said to have been served to lords and nobles.

“I imagined what kind of extravagant soba the lords and nobles would eat in modern Edo (Tokyo), and so I placed caviar on the noodles. Cool perilla leaf soba noodles, the gentle richness of Taihaku sesame oil, and the saltiness of the caviar create a trinity of flavor.” (Chef Kouga)

The second dish from Osoba no Kouga was “sudachi (citrus) soba,” a popular summer menu item known for its smooth texture that slides down the throat.
“Fresh sudachi fruit is just now starting to be shipped, at a time when the white skin part below the peel is still thin. It can be enjoyed with soba noodles, and eaten together with the fruit skin.” (Chef Kouga)

Chef Kouga also actively visited the guest tables. Osoba no Koga is located in the Nishi Azabu area, where there are many foreign embassies, and the customers are highly international. For this reason, the traditional Edomae soba is being continually updated.

For each dish at this event, conceptual brands of Japanese saké, shochu, and whiskey were prepared.
One guest stated, “In addition to the foods and chefs, the liquor, soy sauce, and other seasonings are all super high-grade; I can sense the evolution in this aspect also.”

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Low-temperature delicious flavor that brought a revolution to the world of tempura

The “IWA 5 Assemblage 3” Japanese saké was created with direction from Richard Geoffroy, who has been head of the legendary champagne maison Don Perignon for 28 years. Paired with this unique saké was Tempura Motoyoshi. The first dish contained “perilla leaf with sea urchin,” cutlassfish, and new onion. The second dish contained Japanese whiting and “white shrimp on white shrimp.”

The evolution which the four chefs uniformly expressed their amazement at was the “Kitakaze” cooling machine for sensitive tongues that is capable of rapidly cooling the crisp tempura coating without damaging it.

“Tempura in the Edo Period was, as many think today, something that must be enjoyed piping hot. However unrestrained by these old ideas, we have adjusted the temperature range and coating to match the ingredients. The onion today was cooled rapidly by the cooling machine so that it could be served at the best temperature.” (Chef Motoyoshi)

“Tempura is considered a method of cooking that brings out the flavor of the ingredients. It is our job to give the foods a coating that makes each particular food most delicious. For example, white shrimp are sweet but they have little aroma or flavor, so when we make tempura with them we add a particular texture on top that draws out the aroma of the shrimp, with the flavor of the white shrimp coming together when it is placed in the mouth. This is “white shrimp on white shrimp.” (Chef Motoyoshi)

Furthermore, adding liquid nitrogen at -190°C to the flour instantly reduces the size of the flour particles, creating a finer coating that is crisp and melts quickly in the mouth. The guests were highly impressed at seeing a kitchen where the skills of a master were being put to use.

When the term “Edomae” was used in the Edo Period, the food most frequently associated with it was unagi (eel). Chef Shohei Hashimoto entered the world of unagi at the age of 24 and has taken over as the fourth generation head of the long-standing Unagi Hashimoto restaurant in Yaezu.

“At the time, the “Edomae unagi” caught in Edo were clearly differentiated from those caught elsewhere, which were called “traveling unagi.” Edo unagi were a brand, and a great source of pride for the Edo natives. Now it is almost impossible to obtain natural unagi; however the unagi from Mr. Keiichi Yokoyama at Taito Shouten have been raised naturally in Kagoshima Prefecture without the use of any chemicals for 13 years. They are a delicious unagi brand that I can serve with pride.” (Chef Hashimoto)

The custom of serving unagi opened up began with the development of a special knife just for unagi called an “Edosaki knife.” Before that, unagi was chopped into chunks when it was eaten. Today’s event featured chopped unagi seasoned with salt, and served with sansho pepper miso which is mentioned in documents describing how unagi was eaten at the time.

“At that time, because the eel were cooked in tubular form without opening them up, they resembled the head of a cattail plant, known as a gama. This unagi was known by names such as “gama grill” or “tubular grill.” Because the eel was grilled in tubular form with the large bone remaining in the center, it was somewhat difficult to eat, however it had a strong sweetness coming from the bone that was unique to the “tubular grill” method. I hope that everyone will enjoy the new experience while picturing how people used to eat unagi long ago.” (Chef Hashimoto)

Great attention was also given to the drinks that were served. One offering was Yamaneko from Osuzuyama Distillery served with soda water – a drink with a characteristic sweetness and pleasant aftertaste. The pairing with this limited-edition sweet potato shochu distilled using a copper still was a culinary delight.

When guests who were struggling with eating unagi containing the bones were asked about it, they responded surprisingly positively, “This was my first time eating unagi with the umami of the eel bones and together with the liver; it was a rare opportunity. I could come to prefer this flavor of unagi with its impressive rustic charm.”

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This event led to new discoveries, not only for the guests who experienced the joys of Edomae cuisine, but also for the chefs. The delicious foods of Tokyo will continue to evolve further through learning and growth shared among those who make it and those who eat it.

[Supported by]

  • utuwa-omusubi
  • IWA
  • Shibanuma Soy Sauce
  • Ruinart