During my recent trip to Tokyo, I enjoyed my oden from 7-11 so much (it doesn't take much to satisfy me ... hahaha) that I started to crave for some when I came back to Taipei from my Rome/HK escapade. So, off I went to Mitsukoshi, hoping I'd be able to find some authentic oden ingredients from Japan. And this is what I got ...
Two different varieties of Japanese style fishcake, lobster balls (as opposed to fish balls), vegetable fishcake, and beancurd.
This kelp soya sauce really made all the difference in making the broth that much more tasty. It's my go-to soya sauce when making soups.
I also got some seaweed to scatter on my rice ... yum!
While browsing around for my groceries, I stumbled upon some natto. I was first introduced to this when I was in Japan a couple of years ago. Natto is actually fermented beans, and is renown amongst the Japanese for being very good for one's health. Because of the fermentation process, these beans are especially stinky (like smelly tofu), gluey and stringy. Doesn't sound appealing, but I thought it was worth a try since a Japanese friend highly recommended this.
The way I was taught to eat natto was with a raw egg. Pour a little cup of natto on top of a bowl of rice, crack a raw egg (ensure it's super fresh!) on top of everything, then use a pair of chopsticks and start frantically stirring! I discovered the egg and the brisk stirring would reduce the stringiness. And though I found it tasty, for most, I think this is an acquired taste.