Hachi no Ki

Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 | 0 comments

    Sunday we had lunch at an amazing restaurant in Kamakura, Hachi no Ki. It specializes in shojin ryori, which is traditional vegetarian cuisine for Buddhist monks.
      Hachi no Ki (literally 'potted trees') is divided into 2 buildings: one with tatami-style seating where the shojin ryori is served, and the other with Western-style seating where seasonal (non-vegetarian) Japanese food is offered. Both types of food are absolutely wonderful, but we ate shojin ryori this time. Instead of trying to describe the various dishes, I've gone ahead and posted pictures of them all below. Hachi no ki is definitely the place to eat if you happen to visit Kakakura!

                             Keila opted to forgo the gourmet meal and drink her milk as usual

             Appetizer plate: lotus root, shiitake mushroom, chestnut and tofu square, burdock root, canola blossom, and Japanese mustard, in no particular order.

                                 Fried yuba with Japanese citrus fruit (yuzu) inside. Yuba is the 'skin' that's skimmed off the top of boiling soymilk.

                               Japanese mustard with fresh shiitake mushrooms

                                Okara salad. Okara is soy pulp, which remains after soybeans are filtered to make soy milk. Nothing goes to waste here!

                                   Goma dofu (sesame tofu). It's made from sesame seeds and actually contains no soy, despite the tofu reference.  It's one of the most famous shojin ryori dishes and is quite difficult to make from scratch, as all those seeds must be ground into a very fine powder. Traditionally, this long and tiresome job, said to be good for the character, was given to low-level monks. As for the taste?  A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

                       Vegetable tempura: onions, Japanese squash, sweet potato, and sweet green pepper

                                   Tofu, Japanese radish, carrot, shiitake, and peas in broth

                                   Mushrooms and 2 types of tofu (ganmo dofu and ofu) in a miso paste

                                  Kabura mushi: a grated steamed turnip dish that's way better than it sounds

                                      Keila, full and happy

        Taki komi gohan: rice seasoned with broth and then steamed along with various vegetables

                                       Thanks again, Otousan!!!

                                   Fresh strawberries and poached apple slices

                                       Monaka and Matcha. Monaka is a traditional sweet composed of sweet bean paste sandwiched between thin crispy wafers. Matcha is the expresso of green tea.

                           We need to work on those armpit-high pants!