Oden is the Japanese staple dish of the cold winter

When  winter season is around the corner, oden starts appearing everywhere in Japan.
It is a dish consisting of various ingredients stewed in a soy sauce flavored soup. Common ingredients are radish, eggs, and nerimono (paste products) such as chikuwa (a tubular roll of boiled fish paste), hanpen (fish cake) or konjak.


The ingredients used in oden are called tane, and their characteristics vary according to area and preferences.
For example, in the Kanto area, including Tokyo, people like a type of wheat gluten cake in the shape of chikuwa called “chikuwabu.” In Osaka and the Kansai area in general, they also add beef sinew.
The city of Fukuoka is famous for its Fukuoka oden, in which the broth is pitch black. All the ingredients are pricked with a bamboo skewer and eaten with dashiko (dried sardine shavings,) flaked bonito, and aonori (seaweed).
There are many distinguishing characteristics to different types of oden all over Japan: there is “miso oden” from Aichi, in Nagano prefecture they add soba noodles to it, the one from Kagawa prefecture has a white miso base, and so on.


The easiest way to get some oden: the convenience store!


Oden is generally known as a comfort food that is cooked at home. Its main characteristic is that many different ingredients are added to a big pot and stewed, but this is not easy to do when one lives alone.
However, these days oden has become a regular in the menu of convenience stores. All you have to do is pick your favorite ingredients, place as many of them as you want in a container, and then take it to the cashier! It’s usually really cheap which makes it the perfect hot food if you’re on a budget.

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