Oct 24, 2011 19:11 No Comments


Old School Oden

To many foreigners oden means a collection of smelly, luke-warm, soft, brown objects soaking in pot next to a cash register at a convenience store. And unfortunately for them that’s where their oden experience ends. To the Japanese however, oden is a hearty and healthy meal of fish paste, tofu and vegetables simmering in kelp broth. In Kansai oden is referred to as kantodaki, and meats such as suji (stewed beef tendons) are added. Yasubei, however, serves Kanto-style oden as the owner’s roots can be traced back to Tokyo, from where Ogasawara-san’s father later left for Manchuria but after the war the family returned to Japan and re-opened Yasubei as an oden-only pub in Fukuoka. Very little has changed in the forty-plus years since. The furnishings, including the stools and well-worn wooden counter, are all original Showa-era classics. Ogasawara-san still uses a single large round copper pot. He claims the material and the shape disperse the heat more evenly than the more common stainless square ones. But it makes the broth appear dark and heavy when in fact it’s very light, partly because he’s careful to add neither fried items nor meats to the soup. So what’s in the pot? A surprising amount, including as many as eighty boiled eggs at any one time! But only the “ripe” ones (soaked for four days) are served. Daikon (radish) is ready after two days, while wakame (seaweed) and others are same-day affairs. The fukuro (fried tofu pouches) filled with five varieties of mushroom are superb. So are the cabbage rolls and fluffy white hanpen (fish paste and mountain potato). Everything is handmade, and, in case you were wondering, the pot is emptied every night and scrubbed. Highly recommended if you love oden – or if you’ve never had the real thing.

2-17 Nishi-nakasu, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka


Open: 18:00 ~ 23:00
Closed: Sun.
Prices: Note: there isn’t a written menu. Confirm prices as you order. Daikon 200yen, Ganmo 400yen, Tumire (Anago) 400yen, Suji 900yen, Sake (180ml) 600yen, Shochu 500yen~, Beer 500yen

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.