Ehime might not be a familiar name to many, compared to its counterparts Tokyo, Osaka or even Fukuoka, but mention Yuzu, Mikan and it easily rings a bell.
Located in the southern Shikoku region in Honshu Japan, Ehime is the largest producer of the citrusy Yuzus and Mikans that have found their way to dining tables around the world. The prefecture is also blessed with an abundance of seafood produce and readily available supply of natural spring water. As Spring approaches, Emporium Shokuhin has decided to dedicate the entire month of September to the produces of Ehime, offering a wide range of products from the prefecture at its supermarket as well as a tailor made Kaiseki menu with Sake from Ehime pairings at its upclass restaurant Takujo.
Priced at $78++ (for members- you can easily apply for one at no charge), $88++ (for non members) and an additional $28++ for Sake Pairing, the special 8 course menu lists an extensive number of food items unique to Ehime, commencing with the Jakoten Shioyaki, which is almost synonymous with the prefecture.
Originating from Uwajima in Ehime, Jakoten is a tasty fried snack made from minced lizardfish or haranbo fish, and has been enjoyed by the locals since the Edo period. The one here is salted-grilled with its bones intact and has a crunchy texture. Simple but delicious!
The Ehime Mikan Dai Aburi no Ochikuri (flamed citrus seabream sashimi slices from Ehime with red vinegar jelly) was lovely. The Mikan Dai as the name suggests, has a faint tangy Mikan taste after each bite and the usual vinegar solidified into jello forms provides an interesting texture. This got to be my favourite plate. The pairing Sake of this plate, the Hanahimesakura Daiginjyo made with Yamadanishiki rice, served in a wine glass was also compatible. It has pleasant floral hints and a round finish, washing our palette and was a smooth lead up to the next course.
The Hamachi Kama & Daikon (Yellowtail cheek with savoury sauce on a braised daikon) is one exquisite dish. The daikon was first braised with a thick umami stock, resulting in a soft but firm and flavourful radish. A well fried golden piece of Hamachi cheek is then placed on top of the daikon before more umami (maybe kokumi) sauce is drizzled over the ensemble and a tinge of citrus added. It was a playground of sweet meets savoury, a contrast of textural experiences and different layers of umami motion as you work your way across the dish.
Tempura lovers would be delighted to hear that both the meat and vegetables (Kurobuta, Maitake and asparagus) are flown in all the way from Ehime. The Kurobuta had a melt in your mouth texture while the asparagus was crunchy at its prime.
The accompanying Sake was the prized Minakuchi Daiginjyo Dogo Kurasake, and the one also with the heftiest price tag. I am not sure if I am using the right word to describe but this Daiginjyo was sprightly, almost like drinking a well aged Mersault, and its flavour is exalted and elegant. Such beautiful profiles.
Our “Shime” or closing dish was the Ehime Somen, another rare item not commonly seen in this part of the world. Served chilled the thinly cut noodles are dipped in cold Tsuyu, laced with a little citrus Yuzu. It was slurpilicious! Alas we had the generous portion of Yuzu sherbet as our dessert. Like its predecessors the successive serving of the citrus fruit albeit in a subtle manner was a constant reminder to us that the food of Ehime is an influence to be reckoned with.
The above article is written by Guest Writer @ramenking2016. You can find him on instagram where he shares his love for food and travel.
Takujo Japanese Dining
Emporium Shokuhin 6 Raffles Boulevard #01-18 Marina Square Singapore 039594