Tokyo, June 2016 – Mr. King and I made it a point to squeeze in an omakase dinner featuring yuba (湯葉) or tofu/bean curd skin. Yuba is a common ingredient in Japanese cuisine, but a yuba course meal is only found in traditional Japanese restaurants or temples.
Ume no Hana is one of the most famous yuba restaurants in Tokyo. Our hotel made the reservation for us, and we were requested to select the omakase course dinner amongst 7 choices (Yen 4,640 to Yen 8,640). Majority requires 2-3 days notification since preparation is needed in advance. Mr. King and I opted for the “Kiwani” kaiseki (Yen 5,720), which allowed us to make the yuba by ourselves.
Yuba is the thin film that forms on the surface of boiling soy bean milk. On our table was a square pan with soy bean milk, slowly boiling. Our waitress swiftly did a demonstration, and asked us to continue on our own. Basically, we needed to allow the milk to boil, and we touched the surface of the milk with the chopsticks. Once the layer was thick enough, we gently peeled off the tofu skin – yuba . The yuba was then placed into a bowl, and a few drops of soya sauce was added.
Our kaiseki comprised of 11 courses, and most of the courses had some element of tofu or yuba. The presentation was exquisite, and everything tasted delicious.
Appetizers: Spinach with little white fishes and lotus roots ; Matcha tofu
Tsuki Age Yuba – Make your own Tofu – we waited for the soya milk to boil at low heat until the surface solidifies. We lifted the bean curd skin / sheet – that is yuba. Below is a bowl of yuba served with a few drops of soya sauce. Wasabi can also be added, if needed.
Chawamushi – steamed egg custard with tomatoes, mushrooms, shrimp and ginkgo nut.
Kani Jumai – crab dumpling
Yaki Sui – taro sesame tofu
Fried eggplant and fried fish cake. Mochi on sticks – one with sweet miso and one with matcha.
Grilled Kuromo beef.
Rice with soup and pickles.
Atsuki tofu dessert
I highly recommend any foreigner visiting Japan for the first time to try a yuba course meal. It is something that you don’t easily find outside of Japan.
Ume no Hana is also friendly for children, since all the tables are inside private rooms.
Ume no Hana – GINZA Namikidori Building, 2-3-6 銀座 中央区 東京都 104-0061 Japan.
All photos were taken by Mrs. King.