Bonito is a migratory fish from the mackerel family and migrates to Japan’s waters around May. Since the Edo period its arrival in the seas is said to herald the coming of summer.
In this most famous of bonito dishes, the freshest fish is seared by straw-grilling so the outside is aromatic and flavorsome and the inside is juicy. It may be eaten with plenty of garlic or shallots and a vinegar soy sauce, or simply with salt. You can watch the creation of this superb meal in the various regions of Kochi prefecture. Autumn bonito with its generous layer of fat also makes for an exquisite dish.
In addition, many processed foods using the various parts of the bonito fish make for classic souvenirs from Kochi including pickled or stewed bonito gizzards, half-dried bonito, dried bonito flakes, preserved fatty stomach fillets etc.
Susaki pot-baked ramen noodles are made on a soup of chicken stock and soy sauce with chewy, thin noodles accompanied by shallots, fish cakes and a raw egg. The simple flavor of this rather Japanese-style of ramen noodles evokes a feeling of nostalgia.
Shimanto-cho pork comes from pigs raised in the Shimanto-cho Kubogawa area within the Shimanto River region. With a different flavor of pork depending on the animal’s feed, “wheat pork” has a sweetness to its fat, while “rice pork” is known for its high quality fat and the firmness of its dense meat. This pork bowl made with Shimanto pork and rice grown in Shimanto-cho is a famous dish.
The kinmedai (red bream) of the famous deep ocean waters of Muroto have a beautiful red color. The fish are in season in winter when they have the most fat, and they have a distinctive light, delicate white meat. In the famous kinme-don you can try red bream both as sashimi and teriyaki grilled as well as local in-season fish sashimi style on rice in one bowl. You should eat about half of the meal as is, and then try pouring the accompanying soup full of flavor from the fish over the remainder for another delicious dish.
Sawachi cooking is a type of smorgasbord where plates or bowls of around 40cm in size are piled up with various types of food. The menu usually comprises of 4 types of foods including sashimi, seared fish, sushi (mackerel sushi rolls) and side dishes and, for a celebration, it is a tradition to add red snapper sashimi presented as a whole fish. For large gatherings, one Sawachi plate per 2-3 people line the tables and guests have a smaller plate where they can take what they wish to eat.
Shamo (game fowl) is a type of chicken that has been used since the Edo period for ornamental purposes as well as food. These rough-tempered birds are known as being difficult to breed. Kochi shamo have pedigree breeding from long ago and are popular for their texture and flavor. In the shamo nabe (hot pot) you can try shamo meat and shamo meatballs in a chicken stock soup.