I love Japanese culture and especially love Japanese food. Ever since hearing about Kaiseki or kaiseki ryōri (a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner, generally served in small, exquisitely crafted, starter-like portions, which are themselves individual works of art), I have been lusting for the experience.
On a recent trip to visit my brother in LA, I was treated to sushi Omakase: not quite Kaiseki, but near enough, and just as rewarding. Omakase literally means “it’s up to you” but in this case, it means “up to the chef”, or chef’s choice. So you basically sit at the sushi counter and let the chef prepare whatever he wants to impress you with – and impressed you will be. Omakase is a traditional way of eating sushi, and the experience is surprising, delightful and delicious. Kaiseki also follows the principle of letting the chef decide what to make – primarily to show off his culinary skills – but my Omakase experince was sushi focused.
I was so excited to have this experience, I documented the entire meal [side note: I really enjoy food so have a tendancy to take pictures of what I’m eating, especially when travelling, so look out for a dedicted food category as this blog progresses]. So while this Omakase experience temporarily calmed my quest to find an authentic Kaiseki experience outside Japan, I’m still on the lookout for that once in a lifetime meal. But when I think about it, the experience should be reserved for my next trip to Japan. Having an inauthentic Kaiseki meal after waiting for so long, seems utterly pointless. A bit like giving a starving dog a rubber bone to chew on, no?