There's no need to look at the changing leaves to know what season it is; just walk into your nearest 7-Eleven outlet and sniff. Those trays of oden stewing by the checkout are all you need to know that winter is on its way.

For some this is soul food, warming and comforting; for others it is the rank smell of culture shock. Whichever side of the great divide you stand, though, one thing is certain: Your local convenience store will never deliver the authentic taste of any food. For that, you need to go to the source, to a long-established specialist — and for oden in Tokyo, that means a visit to Otafuku.

Tradition runs strong in Senzoku, on the northern fringe of Asakusa, and nowhere is this more evident than at Otafuku. This family operation, currently run by the fourth and fifth generations of the Funadaiku family, has been serving its specialty here since 1916.