Komameya — yuba ryori lunch (こ豆や – 湯葉料理ランチ)
Yuba is another very ‘Kyoto’ delicacy.
Yuba in Kyoto comes in many forms, it is made from soy milk. Soy milk is simmered in a large, rectangular pan and as a skin is formed on the surface it is scooped up and is eaten in various ways. Yuba in Japan is often served as ‘sashimi’, used like nori or spring roll skin to wrap other ingredients, deep-fried, dried for later use and so on. Nouveau uses include thick, dried yuba, cut into cubes and deep-fried to be used as salad croutons.
Komameya (literally ‘little bean shop’), is the creation of the Ueda Yuba Company which has four Komameya restaurants in Kyoto. I visited the shop up north, near Daitokiji (temple) which is a very nice neighborhood. There are many traditional shops around Daitokuji and the area is especially known for natto, fermented soybeans. One theory states that natto came over from China with Zen monks. Soybean based food was common for monks and Daitokuji is a major temple and had many monks in residence.
Komameya features yuba based dishes and several black bean numbers, including black bean soy milk soft cream (ice milk) cone.
I visited Komameya for lunch and had one of the three set menus (定食, teishoku) to choose from. Diner, with a different menu is also offered and is said to be very good.
The teishoku included yuba donburi. Donburi, literally ‘rice bowl’ is a popular dish in Japan, often enjoyed for lunch. It comes in countless variations with something cooked, simmered or stewed, served over rice.
Komameya’s yuba donburi is made with kumiage yuba, which is a thick, rich, custard-like yuba, halfway between soy milk and tofu. It is garnished with chopped scallions, nori, raw egg and wasabi. This is mixed well into the rice and eaten with a lacquered spoon. I had never had a dish like this before and it was very good.
Yuba ‘sashimi’, this is the typical yuba, skimmed off the surface of simmering soy milk. It is somewhat rubbery and is served in strips. It is dipped in shoyu and wasabi, like raw fish.
Another treat is the deep-fried yuba simmered in dashi. There are three kinds of yuba, including the regular, black bean and young soybean (枝豆, eda mame). This is served garnished with deep-fried shishito (Japanese sweet green pepper) and grated daikon radish.
There are several other dishes, all soy or vegetable based.
Not one, but two sweets are also served. One is a black sesame based kumiage yuba with Japanese black sugar (黒糖, kokuto) syrup the other is roasted soybean powder (きなこ, kinako), always a favorite among Japanese, in a soy milk custard with kokuto syrup on top. This dish is obviously inspired by Crème Brûlée.
The teishoku lunch ranges from 2,000 to 3,000 yen. Certainly not a budget lunch, but if you around Daitokuji and want a modern, casual, good karma lunch, I highly recommend Komameya. The teishoku was very tasty and healthy, also very filling (Japanese lunches often aren’t).
Komameya also offers black bean soy milk soft cream cones for take away. I got one. The soft cream was pretty good, but the cone itself was horrible. If it were served in a cup with a spoon I would probably get it again, especially on a hot summer day. It is probably worth a try.
English: no English