Think about the best thing you’ve ever eaten. Maybe a meal that you wish you could repeat over and over again. I had one such meal last week and it nearly sent me running into the street to grab innocent passersby to drag them into this restaurant to eat what I’d eaten.
On our last night in Kurashiki, Craig and I took the recommendation of his coworker and made our way to Mokuan, a surprisingly large restaurant with a rustic interior close to our hotel. From the pictures we saw online, the food looked good, but we had no idea what kind of culinary sorcery we were in for. I mean, this is a meal I still haven’t stopped thinking about and I’m sure there’s some kind of voodoo magic behind it.
Before our meal, we took a stroll through the historic quarter of Kurashiki. Walking among the beautifully kept buildings was a relaxing trip back in time. Many house restaurants, cafes and shops selling a variety of goods. I only wish we’d spent more time there, but that could have gotten expensive and I only brought a small suitcase.
Many restaurants in Japan offer course menus to allow you to sample a variety of their best dishes. Every time we’ve selected this option, it’s proven well worth it. In the case of Mokuan’s offerings, we tasted so many familiar foods in exciting new ways and for about $30 a person. The image you see above was the second-to-last course. You put some rice into your bowl and added any of the toppings from the tray, which included nori, pickles and roe. Once you garnished to your heart’s desire, you added tea. That’s right, tea. The tea adds a subtle, earthy flavor that’s the definition of umami.
I hope the images below don’t make you too hungry, but rather serve as a reminder to always go for the recommendation of a local when looking for amazing eats.