5 gourmet cold meals

Ramen, oden, katsu-don, curry and nabe are not only for mild weather

5 gourmet cold meals

Motsujin ‘Hyozan-nabe’

As the summer heat hangs on, it’s all too easy to find yourself eating the same old cold dishes in an effort to keep cool – bites such as soba (buckwheat noodles), somen (fine white noodles), hiyashi-chuka (Chinese cold noodles topped with garnishes such as egg, shredded ham, tomato and cucumber). If that sounds like what you’ve been eating lately, then fear not. To help you through the last of the hot weather, we’ve put together a list of places that each offer a take on a dish that’s normally eaten hot –ramen noodles, oden (boiled eggs, daikon radish, konjac, and processed fish cakes, stewed in a light, soy-flavoured broth), katsu-don, curry and nabe (Japanese-style one-pot stew) – served cold. Take note, however, if you want to have a go with some of these dishes, a number of them are only available during summer, so don’t wait too long.

Pour Café (Ginza)

Yamagata mizu-ramen ¥800

Located along Showa-dori, just a few minutes walk from Exit 10 of Ginza-itchome Station, Pour Café serves a range of popular food, plus they also stock a good selection of alcohol; however, Pour Café is best-known for its ramen – one of which is their ‘Yamagata mizu-ramen’. This unique item is a masterpiece served cold that you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere in Tokyo. It’s made by adding flavoured olive oil and a seafood sauce to a soup stock made with kelp from Hidaka (a town in Hokkaido), dried bonito, dried squid, scallop and shiitake mushrooms, then topped with slices of roast pork, boiled egg, menma (pickled bamboo shoots), and naga-negi (long Welsh onion). The real eye-opener here is the fact that the dish comes served topped with cubes of frozen soup – which perfectly complement the flavour of the stock itself. (Full details & map)

Tokuichi (Shinjuku)

Tsumetai natsu-oden assorted ¥750

An old-school izakaya (Japanese-style pub) located down an alleyway behind Yodobashi Camera, on the west side of Shinjuku Station, Tokuichi serve mainly Kyoto-style oden, a variety of chicken dishes, and carry a wide selection of nihonshu (Japanese rice wine). In summer they also serve cold oden, a dish that consists of curry flavoured meat dumplings, eggplant, edamame-satsuma-age (fish cake with green soybeans), okra, baby corn and cherry tomatoes in a cold soup. This unique take on oden tastes as good as the hot winter favourite from which it takes its name. (Full details & map)

Katsukichi (Shibuya)

Hiyashi katsudon ¥1,500

Located along Meiji-dori, a short walk from the Shibuya Station police station (in the direction of Namikibashi), Katsukichi offer mainly tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet), various deep-fried donburi rice bowls, and teishoku set meals. In summer, they also offer ‘Hiyashi katsudon’ – a dish that consists of a thick rosu-katsu (fried pork loin cutlet), myoga (Japanese ginger), okra, cucumber, aojiiso (purple sumac leaves), umeboshi (pickled Japanese plum) and ice, submerged in a cold soup stock that’s been prepared with dried bonito and kelp; it’s accompanied by salad and three types of pickles for a price of ¥1,500. (Full details & map)

Curry-ya Nagafuchi (Shinbashi)

Ice curry ¥900

Located a short walk from Onarimon Station (take the A5 exit), down a side-street off Hibiya-dori (take a left at Shinbashi 4-chome Intersection), Curry-ya Nagafuchi specialise in spicy soup-like curries that come in five different strengths: ‘mild’, ‘regular’, ‘hot’, ‘super hot’ and ‘extremely hot’. Additionally, they also offer menu items such as curry ramen, curry udon, curry omelet, and in summer, something called ‘ice curry’: a bed of rice topped with lettuce, flaky curry roux and chunks of – incredibly – frozen mango. (Full details & map)

Motsujin (Kichijoji)

Hyozan-nabe ¥880

Occupying on the fourth floor of a multi-tenant building located approximately a five-minute walk from the Central Exit on the north side of Kichijoji Station, Motsujin specialise in Kyushu cuisine, such as motsu-nabe (offal hot pot) and karashi-renkon (lotus root with mustard). In addition to offering motsu-nabe sets of two different flavours (from a choice of flavours that includes salt, soy sauce, kara-miso (spicy soybean paste), tonkotsu (pork) and kurogoma-tan tan (black sesame and chili oil), they also offer a summer dish dubbed ‘Hyozan-nabe’. ‘Hyozan-nabe’ combines charbroiled summer vegetables and chicken (served hot) with a mountain of soy sauce-flavoured shaved ice – which the restaurant refers to as ‘Shoyu dashi-goori’ – to create a peculiar dish with an interesting mixture of both hot and cold ingredients. (Full details & map)

By Takeshi Tojo
Translated by Brin Wilson
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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