The thought of food to accompany the occasion generally goes without speaking if you’re talking about night life in Kochi, or just night life in general. With this thought in mind, we decided to order a course meal along with our drinking game to get a general idea of some of the classic dishes in Kochi. Below is a product of our experiences: a short introduction of the all the dishes of the course, including “Katsuo no Tataki,” the most famous dish in Kochi.
Dish #1 This may look like just a regular piece of tofu soaked in clear liquid, but don’t let that fool you! Instead of soybeans, this “tofu” is actually made from milk and holds very true to its milky taste. The consistency is surprisingly sticky: instead of the softness of regular tofu, it had almost the same consistency as cheese and behaved in a similar manner when being torn apart. Simply put, while the texture is similar to regular tofu, the consistency and taste is what packs a punch. This, along with the clear liquid which is filled in collagen from plants, makes for a perfect and light first dish of a course.
Dish #2 Next to come out was the salad. Made with fresh, locally-produced ingredients, this salad includes tofu, various greens and fried lotus root. The crunchiness of the lotus roots provided a very good contrast with other softer ingredients like tofu, giving this simple salad dish a perfectly-balanced feel.
Dish #3 The most famous dish in Kochi finally makes its appearance 3rd in the course! Before I mention anything about the dish, I should note that I’ve had seared bonito four times prior to this: once in the States and three times in Japan, so I was sure I knew what to expect. Known as “Katsuo no Tataki” in Japanese, this dish usually consists of seared bonito seasoned with salt or soy sauce is served alongside lemon, green onions, garlic and other vegetables.
When I took the first bite, I was speechless. Unlike any other seared bonito dishes I’ve had, this was a melt-in-your-mouth kind of sensation. From the looks and feel of the thick, solid cuts of fish, one would imagine it to give a little bit of elasticity, but as soon as I laid a piece on my tongue, it was almost as if the fish instantaneously began to melt away. If just looking at the thick cuts of seared bonito doesn’t make your mouth water, then actually tasting them will do you wonders. This is definitely a must-have if you find yourself in Kochi.
Dish #4 Hotpot of fish, tofu and other fresh local ingredients. The great features of this hotpot is that because it’s barely seasoned, you can really taste the natural flavors of the local ingredients.
Dish #5 The 5th dish to come out was an assortment of deep-fried food including the “Kakiage Ginger Tempura.” I’ve had the opportunity to try other types of tempura dishes before, but this was my first time having ginger tempura. The first bite was satisfyingly crunchy and surprisingly flavorful. Dipping it in the salt further brings out the ginger taste. According to the locals, this is also one of the common dishes to have with drinks in Kochi.
Dish #6 The final dish served to us was this small and refreshing “Ume Nori Chazuke” (Plum Seaweed Rice with Green Tea). The tartness of the plum, taste of seaweed, and the light fragrant green tea with dashi (fish stock) makes for a good palette refresher and ending dish of the course.【Total cost: 6,000 yen （as quoted）】
Address: 2F Ueno Building 1-2-15 Obiyamachi, Kochi, Kōchi Prefecture
Hours of Operation: 6:00pm ～ 11:00pm (last order 10:30pm)
Closed: Irregular; depending on the restaurant