Oden Banner

Oden: A Popular Japanese Dish

02/18/2020 0 By teeartdepartment

While February 22nd is quite famous for being Neko No Hi (the National Cat Day in Japan), it is usually less known by foreigners that the flurry little creatures share the same celebration day with another event: the Japanese Oden Day.

So, first things first: what is “Oden”?

The Oden is a popular Japanese dish, in the form of a stew (hot pot cuisine), and prepared in winter during cold times. Typical ingredients include fish cakes, fried tofu, boiled eggs and vegetables, simmered in a dashi broth for hours-long.

Variants can however be found depending on where you are in the country. In Japan, the Oden could be classified within the “Comfort Food” category and is quite an affordable dish.

Why is February 22nd Oden Day in Japan?

Once again, one could think that the explanation is a little bit far-fetched, but I will let you be judge of that …

So, February 22nd can also be written “2/22”, that is to say “2-2-2”. A possible pronunciation of this (other than the “Nyan Nyan Nyan” that is at the origin of Neko No Hi) is “Fu Fu Fu”.

No connection so far to the Oden? To the Japanese, yes there is! The Oden is a dish that is served very warm and on which people need to blow to cool it. It is the sound of the blowing that is assimilated to the “Fu Fu Fu”. Thus Oden Day on February 22nd in Japan!

(Told you this one was not obvious…)

Its origin & history

The word Oden takes its roots with the kanji “den” which refers to “rice field”, with the “o” being honorific.

A predecessor of the Oden was the Miso Dengaku, which consisted in squares of skewered tofu grilled over charcoal, and topped with a miso sauce. The name was given after the rice planting and harvest ritual dance where priests (Dengaku Hoshi) would dance on bamboo stilts.

Oden - Preparation

During the eighteenth century, restaurants began serving rice mixed with chopped greens, along with a side of Miso Dengaku. Later on, the mixing of all these ingredients within a same broth gave birth to the proper ancestor of the modern-day Oden.

Oden Variants

Even though the basis remains the same, the content can deeply vary, depending on the area of Japan where you are.

Oden - Presentation

For instance, in the Kanto region, the broth is made of clear dashi which incorporates kelp and bonito flakes, and ingredients are mostly made of fish-paste. On the other hand, in Shizuoka, the broth is of very dark color due to the dark soy sauce that is poured within it, and the main ingredients include beef tendon among others.

Where to find some Oden?

While some restaurants specialize in the making of Oden, it can also typically be found in Konbinis (or convenient stores) throughout winter. The vast majority of them offer Oden and its stand will usually be located close to the counter. All you need to do is help yourself with a container located close to it and chose the various ingredients of the Oden one by one within some broth. Once you are done with your serving, you take the bowl to the cashier at the counter where he/she will check the content of the bowl and will bill you accordingly.

If you prefer to taste Oden in a restaurant, one of the most famous places to do so is Shimasho in Nagoya, which has been opened and serving Oden since 1949. A most venerable institution.

Another place of interest is Maruken Suisan in Tokyo, established since 1957, where the signature Oden can have no less than forty possible ingredients. The place’s popularity is driven in part by the high quality of their broth (which is chicken and salt based), along with the freshness of their ingredients (some of them delivered directly from Tsujiki market).

  • Ramen Skateboard Unisex Hooded Sweatshirt

    $45.00$49.00
    • EUR: € 41.43 - € 45.11
    • Unisex Heavy Blend Hoodie | Gildan 18500
    • Size: S to 5XL.
    • Four Colors: Black, Grey, Navy and White.
    • Fast Delivery (10 to 15 days).
    • Free and Worldwide Shipping.
    Clear
    Ramen Skateboard Unisex Hooded Sweatshirt

    Ramen Skateboard Unisex Hooded Sweatshirt

    $45.00$49.00
    • EUR: € 41.43 - € 45.11
    Select options
    Quick View
  • Ramen Hunter Unisex T-shirt

    $25.00
    • EUR: € 23.02
    • T-shirt: Unisex Basic Softstyle T-Shirt | Gildan 64000.
    • Sizes: S to 3XL.
    • Unisex t-shirt in four colors: Black, Dark Grey, Navy and White.
    • Fast Delivery (10 to 15 days).
    • Free and Worldwide Shipping.
    Clear
    Ramen Hunter Unisex T-shirtRamen Hunter Unisex T-shirt (Model)

    Ramen Hunter Unisex T-shirt

    $25.00
    • EUR: € 23.02
    Select options
    Quick View
  • Ramen Lovers Club Unisex T-shirt

    $25.00
    • EUR: € 23.02
    • T-shirt: Unisex Basic Softstyle T-Shirt | Gildan 64000.
    • Sizes: S to 3XL.
    • Unisex t-shirt in three colors: Black, Dark Grey and Navy.
    • Fast Delivery (10 to 15 days).
    • Free and Worldwide Shipping.
    Clear
    Ramen Lovers Club Unisex T-shirtRamen Lovers Club Unisex T-shirt (Model)

    Ramen Lovers Club Unisex T-shirt

    $25.00
    • EUR: € 23.02
    Select options
    Quick View