By Shohei SHIBATA
Part 1: Dashi
For centuries, the Japanese have learned to draw from the treasures of nature. With limited space to grow food for all, Japanese cuisine distilled, instead, the very best from its oceans, the forests and mountains that cover most of the archipelago’s landmass. To truly be nourished, they believe, you must open all your senses, become aware of the world around you and its transformative properties. And in paying thoughtful attention to the delicate and the rare, they discovered astonishing worlds beneath the visible. To penetrate the secrets of this invisible world we must take a microscopic journey to the genesis of the pure and restrained art of Japan’s cuisine whose twin pillars are: a delicate stock named ‘Dashi’; and the golden sauce they call ‘Shoyu’. Without them, the delicate balance of textures and harmonisation of flavours which make up the genius of Japanese cuisine, would not be achieved.