With 2013 right around the corner, what plans are resolutions are you making for the New Year? Living in San Francisco, we’re guaranteed to have had access to amazing culinary experiences from the world’s greatest chefs that are represented in this city–and following in suit, this is also the city where one gets the rare opportunity to lavish in an authentic and luxurious culinary experience in the first month of a new year.
There is a traditional preparation and presentation of Japanese food for the New Year that even many Japanese Americans don’t know about. “Osechi Ryori,” an elaborate array of dishes that each carry special symbolism, and is rarely experienced in the U.S. because of the elaborate skill and time needed to authentically serve the large selection of food.
In San Francisco, however, for the past several years however, the San Francisco Japantown Foundation has presented osechi ryori as the centerpiece of its annual New Year’s celebration fundraiser. This year’s event, on Jan. 17, 2013, will be hosted at the large-scale West Bay Conference Center, and will include an impressive osechi ryori layout provided by the prestigious Japanese restaurants and establishments like Sushi Ran, Sanraku, Delica, Tokyo Fish, Yamasho, Suruki, Mira and Nippon Ya. The sake is being sponsored by True Sake and Takara Sake, and the beer will flow freely, sponsored by Sapporo.
Osechi ryori is a traditional style of cooking based on ancient methods of preserving food, such as curing in salt or vinegar, or simmering in sweetened soy sauce and sake.
In osechi ryori, grilled fish such as tai (sea bream) and buri are exquisitely presented in addition to preserved vegetables. All are prepared to be eaten at room temperature, and can be kept for several days without refrigeration. These morsels are tightly packed into exquisite lacquer boxes called jubako. In the original and classic fashion of small plates, osechi ryori offers tastings of a large variety of dishes–each with its own meaning and a definitive hold on every aspect of the flavor profile.
Care is taken to include lucky colors, such as brightly colored pink and white kamaboko (fish cakes) and kohaku namasu (red and white salad), as well foods with symbolic meaning such as kazunoko (herring roe, literally meaning “many children”), renkon, (lotus root; a Buddhist symbol) and sweet kuromame (black beans, again, for fertility), tai (sea bream, the last syllable of the word for celebratory: omedeTAI.
Each dish and ingredient in osechi is included to carry meaning and symbolism, such as good health, good harvest, happiness, prosperity, long life, and so on. It’s said that yellow colored dishes and ingredients such as kazunoko (herring roe) symbolize prosperity and that various beans (mame) imply a wish for good health. Also, red/pink and white colored food, such as pink and white kamaboko (fish cake) slices represent celebration colors.
Join in this rare dining experience by attending the San Francisco Japantown Foundation’s New Year’s Celebration event on Jan. 17. Click here to purchase tickets and or download the Event Brochure for more information about the event and impressive lineup of 2013 sponsors.
We look forward to sharing San Francisco’s most unique and spectacular dining experience with you in 2013.