Japanese Oden — A Motley of Flavors!
While oden usually contains a number of ingredients, the most popular ones in Japan are boiled eggs, daikon and konjac.
As a side note, the den part of oden is said to have come from the miso-glazed grilled tofu known as dengaku. Eventually, these grilled pieces of tofu came to be boiled instead and took the name oden.
Also, as oden originated in Edo, modern-day Tokyo, in the Kanto region, it's sometimes referred to as kanto-daki in Kyoto and the surrounding Kansai region.
Famous ingredients in Shizuoka oden are kuro-hanpen, which are dark-colored, calcium packed fish cakes made from whole sardines and horse mackerel, bones and all. Apparently, oden in Shizuoka is also eaten with seaweed and fishmeal.
While it may not look it, miso oden is characterized by its surprising lack of saltiness. As this oden opts for adding miso straight into the broth rather than the traditional method of adding it as a seasoning, the ingredients soak up the flavor of the miso and taste fantastic.
Miso oden’s most notable ingredient is taro. The flavors of the miso are meant to go really well with the slightly sweet and crumbly taro.
The oden is known for featuring Japanese Babylon sea snails and kani-men, pieces of crab and crab eggs stuffed into the shell of a crab in a seafood umami-packed broth – truly a seafood lover’s dream.
In addition to these, there are also other unique Kanazawa oden only ingredients such as steamed fish cakes known as fukashi and fish cakes with beautiful red and white spiral patterns known as akamaki.
In Kanazawa, oden has apparently become an everyday food, with many izakaya pubs specializing in oden and normal restaurants offering it on their menu. Most likely, as a direct result of this, Kanazawa consumes the most oden out of anywhere in Japan.
Kyoto’s oden uses a light soy sauce base and is slightly sweet.
With less input from the soy sauce, the oden in Kyoto tastes strongly of the bonito flake, mackerel flake and kombu kelp based broth.
When whaling was a larger part of the local culture, oden in Kyoto used to contain such ingredients as whale tongue and blubber. Nowadays, more common ingredients include filhos – deep-fried tofu with sliced carrot, burdock, and cloud ear mushrooms stuck together with mountain yam and egg – and octopus. In addition, other traditionally Kyoto ingredients such as yuba tofu skin and Kyoto vegetables such as Horikawa River burdock and Shōgo-in Temple daikon radishes are also popular.