Enjoy seasonal delicacy each season! Kyo-yasai with traditional flavor
In Kyoto, so many top-quality vegetables which cannot be found in other regions have been cultivated for a very long time; however, since their cultivation is not easy, many farmers had abandoned growing them. Therefore, Kyoto Prefecture has been focusing on production such as researching cultivation methods of about 40 vegetables with a long history in Kyoto in particular as “traditional vegetables of Kyoto.” Today, vegetables cultivated in Kyoto Prefecture centering on these “traditional vegetables of Kyoto” are sold as "Kyo-yasai.”
Kujo Green Onions
“Kujo Green Onions” may be consumed throughout the year. The history is particularly old among the Kyo-yasai, and one theory states that the onions’ cultivation was first introduced in Wado period, which is about 1,300 years ago. Kujo Green Onions’ distinctive features are the sweetness and springiness. The green leaves contain a lot of carotene and vitamin B. They may be used in many dishes including hot pot and salad with nuta (dressing made of miso and vinegar).
“Kamo-nasu,” which appear in storefronts between late April and around December, have black glossy skin and round, stocky form. Their sweetness is stronger than ordinary eggplants. Edo period’s book describes as follows; “we do see oblong eggplants, but the best ones are those round and big ones of Rakuto-kawara (currently around Yoshida region of Sakyo-ku).” This specie has been passed down and carefully cultivated by the residents of Kamigamo, which are now called “Kamo-Nasu.” It is commonly known to be cooked in dengaku-style (baked with miso topping), but it is also delicious stewed or roasted.
“Manganji Peppers,” which appear between mid-May and around November in storefronts are said to be originated in Manganji, Maizuru-shi around late Taisho period. Although they look like big peppers, they are not spicy. The flesh is soft and sweet, and easy to eat since they have very few seeds. Since you can enjoy either by stewing or baking, they are popular Kyo-yasai.
Shogoin-daikon (Japanese radish)
“Shogoin-daikon,” which appear between mid-October and around February in storefronts, originated by farmers who began cultivating radishes near Shogoin Temple approximately 180 years ago, which were in the first place dedicated from Owari-no-kuni (present Aichi). They are characterized by round shapes, and have no bitter taste; you will feel a faint sweetness. They are unlikely to fall apart when boiling for a long time while exhibiting melty texture.
“Kintoki Carrots,” which appear between November and around January in storefronts actually have no historical evidence that they were cultivated within Kyoto before Meiji era, so they are not regarded as “traditional vegetable of Kyoto.” Nevertheless, they are also indispensable for Kyoto cuisine, so that they are also currently called as “Kyo-ninjin.” They are soft and red to the core. The vivid red, which contains abundant lycopene, adds vibrancy to the dishes.
You will find many other species of Kyo-yasai with traditional flavor of Kyoto. Nowadays you can find these vegetables in department stores and supermarkets nationwide, but you can also purchase via the internet. How about savoring flavor peculiar to Kyo-yasai, which is different from standard vegetables?
Contact for inquiries about Kyo-yasai
“Public Interest Group Corporation: Kyo-Branded Products Association”