Overview

Kochi Prefecture has a splendid simplicity to its cuisine. Its massive Pacific Ocean coastline guarantees good quality seafood catches, the most famous being the area's nationally loved skipjack tuna. Home-style nous turns common dishes like noodles into seemingly simpler yet heartier ones while Kochi's expertise in citrus horticulture is nationally recognised. Here is a look at just some of the local foods of Kochi.

Sawachi ryori

A huge smorgasbord of food on a platter, sawachi ryori began as a seafood feast but these days diners will find all manner of foods offered. Commonly seen at drinking parties, the platter is different each time and literally overflows with all kinds of food including shellfish, bream and bonito, as well as fried foods, sushi rolls, pickles and even fruit.

Sawachi ryori smorgasboard (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/bmiphone/4731077837/in/photolist-8d51Bx-8d51z6-8d8itu-8d8iz5-8d51Ji-8d8iBj" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">bm.iphone / CC BY 2.0</a>)
Sawachi ryori smorgasboard (Photo: bm.iphone / CC BY 2.0)

Katsuo no tataki

Probably Kochi's most famous food, katsuo no tataki is a deliciously strong dish of skipjack tuna grilled over a straw flame. Seared enough so that the centre flesh remains red, the food is usually garnished with some simple condiments like scallions, ginger and grated wasabi. A dash of sea salt or ponzu-based citrus sauce helps to seal the flavour deal.

Katsuo no tataki (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ayustety/117911482" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">ayustety / CC BY-SA 2.0</a>)
Katsuo no tataki (Photo: ayustety / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Nabeyaki ramen

One of those great meal ideas, nabeyaki ramen is basically ramen noodles served in a clay pot. The soup is traditionally made from chicken broth and served with thin noodles, sliced chikuwa fish cakes, vegetables and a raw egg. Simmered in its pot, diners often add a small bowl of rice and turn the dish into a kind of hearty porridge.

Nabeyaki ramen (image intensity lowered) (Photo: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%E9%8D%8B%E7%84%BC%E3%81%8D%E3%83%A9%E3%83%BC%E3%83%A1%E3%83%B3%EF%BC%88%E9%AD%82%E9%BA%BA%EF%BC%89.jpg" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">くろふね / CC BY-SA 4.0</a>)
Nabeyaki ramen (image intensity lowered) (Photo: くろふね / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Tosa buntan

With the perfect climate in Japan to grow them, Kochi's Tosa buntan is the prefecture's speciality. A sweet, almost orange-like in taste, this citrus fruit was named after the original name of the prefecture. Leaning towards grapefruit in size and appearance, they are typically enjoyed as is or as a jam or jelly.

Buntan citrus fruit (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/strollers/6764927" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Tam Tam / CC BY-SA 2.0</a>)
Buntan citrus fruit (Photo: Tam Tam / CC BY-SA 2.0)