Will it be extra delicious or run-of-the-mill?

In Japan, when a food shop in Japan has been in business for over 150 years, you can usually expect its most famous products to be both extremely delicious and very expensive. But what about when a store with such a long history offers something on the cheaper side?

That’s just what Mr. Sato investigated when he visited Tokyo’s Shofukuro. Shofukuro got its start as a Shiga Prefecture-based tea house in 1868, but has since developed into an upscale kaiseki (course meal) restaurant which also has a takeout-only storefront in the food section of the Isetan department store in downtown Tokyo’s Shinjuku district, which is where Mr. Sato visited.

▼ Isetan Shinjuku

Mr. Sato originally set out to buy a seasonal kaiseki bento, but he balked at the 5,940 yen (US$41.90) price tag. He didn’t want to find out that badly, but he was still curious and searched for something a bit more affordable. That’s when he spied their lowest-priced menu item: pickled octopus. It cost him 756 yen, which was admittedly pricy for a side dish.

▼ It was still more affordable than the bento, though.

When he made his purchase, the shop attendant told him, “The pickled octopus is in this bag. There is some liquid in there as well, but please don’t throw it away and instead enjoy it with the octopus.”

▼ Was it vinegar? he wondered.

He was a bit underwhelmed when he transfered the pickles to a bowl. The cucumber-and-seaweed-and-octopus mixture looked like something his mother used to make.

▼ It looks simple enough, right?

▼ He poured the bottle of liquid over the dish.

It didn’t smell like white vinegar, but he guessed by its color that it might be rice vinegar. He thought the octopus would at least be cut in a fancy way, but alas.

▼ It was just octopus in there.

Mr. Sato’s hopes weren’t very high. Might a taste convince him otherwise?

▼ Fully expecting it to taste like nothing special…

he was surprised to find it was absolutely delicious. This taste couldn’t be achieved by the average home cook. He realized it was because of the included liquid. It enhanced the flavors of the octopus, cucumber, and seaweed in the most perfect way. He understood why the shop staff specifically told him about the liquid. It was the kind of flavor that he could understand being a continuous hit for 150 years.

So if you happen to be in Shinjuku and want something sour to take the edge off of this sweaty Summer 2023, Mr. Sato would recommend stopping by Shofukuro. Then you can wash it down with an equally upscale 2,500-yen matcha float also in Isetan!

Shop information
Shofukuro Mitsukoshi Isetan Shinjuku Branch | 招福楼 三越伊勢丹新宿店
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Shinjuku 3-14-1  Mitsukoshi Isetan Shinjuku Branch B1F
東京都新宿区新宿3-14-1 三越伊勢丹新宿店地下1階
Open 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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