Decorative Kombu? Creative Ways to Use Kombu at Kawahito, Asakusa
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Decorative Kombu? Creative Ways to Use Kombu at Kawahito, Asakusa

Tokyo 2016.08.13

Kombu is an essential element in many Japanese dishes, as an ingredient and as a stock base. Kombu-no-Kawahito, a store in Asakusa, has created new ways to use kombu.

Translated byLester Somera

Just a Kansai guy trying to get by

Written by Jumpei Kawashima

Kombu (edible kelp) is an indispensable ingredient in Japanese home cooking. It can be eaten by itself, but there are many ways to use it, such as making it into dashi stock or stewing it.

In particular, the dashi stock from kombu is used in a myriad of Japanese dishes, including the dipping soup for udon and soba, as well as tempura sauce.

In recent years, unique shops have been springing up which utilize kombu for unique pruposes. The specialty kombu shop Kombu no Kawahito (Kawahito for short), located in Asakusa, is one of these places.

Kawahito offers colorful kombu items to be used as decorations or garnishes.

Cool and Colorful Kombu in a Variety of Shapes

Various cute kombu shapes are on display at the front of the shop. These are colorful kombu.

Pictures provided by: Kombu-no-Kawahito

There are all sorts of designs, including kombu pieces that look like kanji or hiragana lettering, cherry blossoms or maple leaves, and characters connected to Japanese culture. With animal-themed items and limited edition designs, you can have a lot of fun just looking at the displays.

Dried kombu is also for sale at the front of the shop. Soak one in water for five minutes and it will change into a letter or shape.

Put Some Fun in Your Food With Colorful Kombu Decorations

Pictures provided by: Kombu-no-Kawahito

By adding some colorful kombu, you can have even more fun decorating your dishes. We will introduce a few examples.

Pictures provided by: Kombu-no-Kawahito

For soup dishes like udon, we recommend a salmon kombu! The sight of the fish swimming in the soup will bring an involuntary smile to your face.

Pictures provided by: Kombu-no-Kawahito

It also goes well with sushi and other rice dishes. A decorative kombu in the shape of a kanji character gives the food a Japanese feel.

Pictures provided by: Kombu-no-Kawahito

In addition, chirashizushi topped with cherry blossom kombu looks even more gorgeous than it usually does.

Pictures provided by: Kombu-no-Kawahito

Colorful kombu also goes perfectly with Western dishes like pot-au-feu. The fusion of East and West lends the dish’s presentation additional impact.

The colorful kombu is designed to have almost no flavor, so you can use it to decorate any type of dish. The only limits are your imagination, so try it yourself!

Other Recommended Kombu Products

Kombu Snacks for Children

Kawahito also deals in kombu snacks, the most popular being the aji kirari (648 yen).

Made of yuzu lemon paste wrapped in kombu, the tart flavor combination of aji kirari spreads in the mouth. This chewy sweet is habit-forming.

You can also get the sesame kombu chips (648 yen), with their savory sesame flavor. Different snack samples are available, so do some taste tests of your own and choose something to take home.

Surprise Your Friends With Sake Cups Made of Kombu

These sake cups (from Isoka, 1620 yen) are actually made of kombu. Fill them with tea or sake and you will sense the faint flavor and scent of kombu in the drink.

These cups can be reused up to 30 times, so how about picking one up as a souvenir to amaze your family and friends?

How to Cook Kombu

Kawahito opened in 2014, but it has a previous long history as a wholesale shop, dealing in kombu. When you visit Kawahito, pick up some traditional kombu products.

Hokkaido prefecture’s famous Hidaka and Rishiri kombu varieties are best used to make dashi stock. You can produce genuine kombu dashi stock by soaking dried kombu in water for several hours.

Pictures provided by: Kombu-no-Kawahito

You can also make Edo tororo by shaving kombu, which goes great with rice. Its fluffy texture is very addicting.

Pictures provided by: Kombu-no-Kawahito

Pictures provided by: Kombu-no-Kawahito

Stalks of wakame are perfect for making salads! All you have to do is rinse them, so they are very convenient to prepare. Their crunchy texture will have you coming back for a second helping of deliciousness.

There are places in the store to sample the food items, so try the various kombu preparations.

Kombu-no-Kawahito stocks kombu for all purposes, whether you want to decorate your food with colorful kombu or make dashi stock for everyday use.

If you’re visiting Asakusa, by all means, make a stop at Kawahito.

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Information

Kombu-no-Kawahito

Address: Tokyo, Taitō ward, Hanakawado 1-5-3
Operating hours: 10:00 - 18:00
Fixed holidays: None
Wi-Fi: No
Credit cards accepted: Most credit cards
Foreign language support: Some English
Foreign language pamphlets: None
Closest stations and access: Four minutes’ walk from the A5 exit of Asakusa Station (Toei Asakusa Line), three minutes’ walk from the #7 exit of Asakusa Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line), one minute walk from the front entrance of Asakusa Station (Tobu Skytree Line)
Price range: 300 to 5,000 yen
Phone number: 03-5246-4771
Official website: Kombu-no-Kawahito

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