I love markets. Markets give you the best taste of local culture. It has been my habit to visit markets when I travel since my very first writing assignments for Lakbay TV some 17 years ago. So visiting Kyoto’s Nishiki Market was such a treat on my birthday.
I was like a kid in the candy store. It was pure stimulus overload. But part of me also sighed. Even if I did not speak Japanese, I was right at home. It reminded me of Adelaide Central Market in South Australia, where I worked to support myself in grad school. It was about ten in the morning, and we did not have breakfast. We just wanted to eat everything. We returned on our last day again to once more savor what the market had to offer.
I’d like to share my finds in Nishiki Market. I promise to return….
I bought Shichimi, a Japanese Seven Spice Mix made of red chili, hemp, sesame, Perilla, seaweed, orange peel, and Sichuan pepper. It’s for soup, but I season my salmon, chicken and beef with this. I also bought Yuzu Powder. It can be mixed with hot water and honey for a warm soothing citrus drink.
There are also non-food finds like exquisite knives and adorable souvenirs.
Nishiki Market extends to five blocks, with over a hundred shops and restaurants, our two visits was not enough. We shall return next time, planning to do a picnic, packing sushi and other treats to one of Kyoto’s iconic sites. Nishiki after all is known as Kyoto’s kitchen. In my books, kitchens is a place to keep coming back to.
Till then, Nishiki Market!
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