When you go to Kyoto, you should definitely try the yuba (tofu skin) and tofu dishes they have there! They're both local dishes that have long been loved by the locals. Here are five of the best shops that serve yuba and tofu dishes in Kyoto.
1. Toyouke Jaya
Toyouke Jaya is a long-established tofu shop that has been in business for more than 100 years now. Its menu offers set meals, rice bowls and udon, focusing on yudofu (tofu boiled in thin broth) and namayuba (fresh tofu skin). Recommended is the Yudofuzen (1,100 JPY (excl. tax)), a set meal that is filled with all kinds of tofu dishes such as smooth yudofu, hirousu (round deep-fried tofu mixed with vegetables), oboro tofu (silken tofu curds), and boiled yuba. Here, the dishes come in a wide variety and have rather deep flavors, so they are incredibly satisfying despite their being healthy. Note, though, that you would have to line up to get in, so aim for the time right after opening if you want to avoid the crowds.
2. Kyotofu Fujino
Situated in the middle of JR Kyoto Isetan, Kyotofu Fujino is a shop where you can enjoy original dishes made with tofu and seasonal ingredients. Here, you can order the Halal set called Fujino Halal Dinner (4,000 JPY (incl. tax)), but you need to make a reservation for this meal at least three days in advance. Recommended is the lunch meal Hiruzen
Gyatei serves not only yudofu and yuba dishes, but also Kyoto’s very own o-banzai (Kyoto-style home cooking) dishes in smorgasbord style. The buffet rates here are 1,800 JPY (excl. tax) for adults, 1,500 JPY (excl. tax) for middle school students, 1,200 JPY (excl. tax) for elementary school students, and 800 JPY (excl. tax) for children who are 3 years old and up. It’s all-you-can-eat with more than 30 types of dishes constantly available, including traditional Japanese dishes like yudofu, yuba, dashimaki tamago (rolled omelet made with soup stock) and nuta (dish made by seasoning seafood and vegetables with vinegared miso), as well as a wide array of filling dishes such as curry, deep-fried dishes, and breaded pork cutlets. This shop is famous for its lineup of dishes that can satisfy men and children. When you come to this restaurant, the Kyoto-inspired Namafu no Dengaku (seitan grilled with sweet miso) is highly recommended. You will get addicted to the springy texture of seitan topped with sweet miso!
4. Yudofu Takemura
Yudofu Takemura is a shop where you can eat the particularly popular Morika Tofu within its extensive lineup of Kyoto-made tofu. Here, you can taste tofu dishes, mostly made with yudofu, in the drawing room that has a tasteful Japanese elegance in the air. The Matsu Course (3,600 JPY (incl. tax)) is recommended here. It is made up of six dishes, including yudofu, hirousu, sesame tofu, vegetable tempura and rice. You can eat the yudofu with as much nori seaweed, spring onions, dried bonito and ginger as you’d like. Thanks to the spices that bring out the mildness of the tofu, it is truly a dish that best resembles Kyoto. Further, the sesame tofu has this sticky texture that is unlike yudofu, and the taste of sesame is just exceptional! You can eat this with wasabi soy sauce, but it tastes better with a lot of wasabi on it.
Tousuiro is a shop where you can relish tofu dishes inside the shop that is housed in a machiya (traditional townhouse) or while seated on the riverbed terrace (reservation required) over the Kamogawa River from May through September. Aside from its dishes, it is a place where you can enjoy the Kyoto atmosphere with all your senses. Recommended here is the Takasegawa (5,103 JPY (incl. tax and service charge)) that is only available at night. This kaiseki course meal starts with a yuba dish and oboro tofu, and then followed by a grilled dish, a steamed dish, a fried dish, and other dishes that use seasonal ingredients. All the tofu used in this shop use domestically produced soybeans and natural bittern, giving them a mild flavor with a tinge of sweetness. Tousuiro will make you feel excited about the dishes that come out of the kitchen as each one of them is presented in an elaborate way that you have come to expect from Japanese dishes.
It would be such a waste if you go sightseeing in Kyoto without eating their yuba and tofu dishes! If you go there, please try what is called the "royal road" of Japanese cuisine that Kyoto is so very proud of.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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