Meals commence with a sweet sake aperitif served in a petite wooden saucer. Inevitably you’ll meet Miyazawa’s specialty: grilled goma-dofu (sesame tofu). This bite-sized portion of marshmallow-like tofu is smothered in sesame seeds. Miyazawa serves this throughout the year, adding seasonal touches such as fukinoto, an edible flower bud served in early spring. The penultimate dish of rice, a variety of tsukemono (pickled vegetables) and miso soup, involves a Miyazawan innovation to the tradition of kaiseki (Japanese multicourse cuisine). He starts with a spoonful of undercooked, soggy rice — and this is by design. There follows a progression of servings in which the rice is cooked a little more each time. The idea here is that you appreciate the rice cooked at different stages. It’s a novel way to appreciate the history of a country that owes so much to rice cultivation.
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