24. A Yodofu 湯豆腐 meal at Seizanso-do 西山艸堂 (Arashiyama, Kyoto)--Kathryn"Baby, I'm going to take you to the place where tofu comes from," he said to me while we were still in Berkeley planning our trip. I'm so there. (After all, Ken wooed me with Yuba.)
The name "tofu district" made it feel like a pilgramage. The morning was devoted to sweet green treats: icy matcha drinks, matcha gluten balls, and the omni-present green tea mochi cookies with the azuki bean center (sometimes they had subflavors like banana, chocolate, or sesame).
After the initial stroll, we settled into Seizanso-do early, about 11:30 to beat the crowd. Women in kimonos hustled to and fro with trays, trailing steam. Once again, ornate small sculptures of soy, sesame and seaweed fanned out between Ken and me. By now I was an old hand with the metal whisk-type spoon used to lift tofu from the steaming bowl. This soup, by the way, comes on the table with its own bed of flame, on a bunsen burner type device. When it was done, we scooped it into bowls, then garnished with mini-onions and a dash of soy.
Ken and I loved the tofu and sweet potato ball in the center dish.
Ken heard from Japanese friends that this tiny eggplant is an Arashiyama specialty.
The fried yuba was crispy. The one wrapped in nori was very chewy-gooey in the middle.
Ken now says I'm a pro at Tofu Ryori.
We got some help when the steaming tofu (yodofu 湯豆腐) was ready.
Ken ate every grain of rice.
Ken: Here's a Seizanso-do link that's all in Japanese. Looking at the map, it's the one just above the parking "P" to the left of the end of the green train line.