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I Can't Believe it's Konnyaku
Picture | November 9th, 2017 | Eileen

There are many unique foods to try in Japan, which are common to Japanese people. One of those food is konnyaku. What is konnyaku? It is a hard jelly like substances that is made from a certain type of yam called konjac. I was told that konnyaku has a very low number of calories and is good for your stomach. Konnyaku has received the nickname inohouki (胃のほうき), which translates to broom of the stomach. The reason being that it cleans out your small intestines really well.

The first time I had konnyaku it was kind of flavorless until they added miso paste and grilled it. It had a nice taste even though it had a cartilage like texture. Afterwards I did not have any more interactions with the healthy food for a while. Then one day I was taken to a restaurant that served konnyaku in everything they made.

In my mind, how do you make so many dish varieties of this jelly? It is a simple food product, which is good as substitutions for vegetarians and those on a diet. Nonetheless it was a food adventure I was curious about. The course meal that was ordered had 15 different dishes. First up was this palette cleanser konnyaku made with pears. It tasted really good and set the bar for whatever came after.

The appetizer set up was made of multiple small dishes. Now as a reminder there is konnyaku in all of the food. On the dark red plate was sweet beans, cheese mix in a tomato, clam flavored, chestnut wrapped, and the rest I do not know how to describe. Each one had a unique flavor, but if I had to choose I liked the clam flavored konnyaku.

Next were these two dishes, where one had pork in the center wrapped in konnyaku. The one with pork came with potato and eggplant. The other had a mellow taste, which was enhanced by the pumpkin puree. It was an interesting combination.

Sashimi konnyaku was next on the course list. It was interesting to see because it looked like konnyaku, but when eaten it had the sashimi taste. The green was maguro (tuna), the white one tasted like tai (sea bream), and the one in the package did taste a little like shrimp. The one with a tooth pick was hard to describe, but tasted good when it was dipped in the soy sauce.

The tempura konnyaku was surprising to the eyes as it was colorful. The top oval shaped piece tasted like a mini potato croquette. Before eating it, we were informed to add the green powdered substance for flavor. The green powder was salty, but I do not know what else was grinded with it to give it that color.

A covered bowl was placed in front of me and inside was a sesame covered piece of konnyaku with a bit of mayo on top. Tasted more of sesame than anything else. They also served a konnyaku soup that had seaweed and a small thin slice of lemon.

The last to be served was a choice between konnyaku soba noodles and konnyaku rice porridge. I was missing rice during the meal and decided on the porridge. On top of the rice was sour plum with a side dish of other flavors. They also gave us a skewer of their popular tama-konnyaku. Overall it was fun to try different versions of konnyaku.

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