Personally I think nothing beats or comes even close to the taste of the Japanese New Years dish Osechi (御節料理, Osechi Ryori). Although it is completely different to any gorgeous meal in the West its variety of taste has caught my heart. There are so many different small samples of meat, fish, seafood, fruits and vegetables all available in one dish!
The origin of this special once a year osechi dish is back in Heian period and actually each component has a special meaning to celebrate the New Year (prosperity, good health, good harvest, happiness, prosperity, long life, going on and on). Some of the households still make their whole creation on their own, but I have given up before even trying. I have been spoiled by the sold variety and I cannot imagine how many days it would take me to create the same luxury. The picture above shows a small variety of the offered selection. The choices seem endless. Yes, considering the price for a osechi lacquer box – actually called jubako – the cost can be easily compared to a high-class French meal. You might wonder why to pay so much for just one meal, but I can tell you it is worth the money you spend.
Quite unusual from a Western perspective is the fact that all is eaten cold, because based on Japanese tradition the kitchen should not be used around the New Year’s day. The dishes are prepared in advance with lots of sugar or pickled (added vinegar) in order to preserve them.
I am already exited to get our Osechi Ryori delivered by the end of this month. If you have not ordered it yet, there is still the opportunity to get this delicacy in the next few days at a good department store. The money invested in a proper Osechi Ryori will be directly proportional to the “ahh” and “ohh” that you experience.
Some actual pictures of this year’s Osechi will be added next year.
An already hyper and exited waiting for the year-end Sibylle Ito (伊藤シビル)