When you visit Kyoto, one of the food you must eat is yuba. And one of the best places to eat yuba is at Higashiyama Yuuzu.
Yuba is simply beancurd skin. Unlike tofu which requires a coagulant, you simply boil soy bean milk until a film appears on the surface and scoop the film out—-that is yuba.
What makes yuba great in Kyoto is because their water is pure for both growing soy beans and cooking them.
Kyoto is famous for yuba because it is a city famous for shojin ryori (Zen vegetarian cuisine), although not all shojin ryori consists of yuba, and not all yuba restaurants are vegetarans.
Higashiyama Yuuzu restaurant isn’t completely vegetarian although most of the dishes are and it’s easy to request for vegetarian meals.
They use locally-sourced soy beans: white soy beans from the Miyama region in Kyoto and Tanba black beans. They only use water and soy beans to make their yuba. Their famous dishes include tempura, yubameshi (yuba rice) and yubanabe (yuba hotpot).
We were there for lunch and saw people being turned away at the door. So make a reservation before going.
There are a couple of sets of lunch but the best one is their yubameshi (yuba rice) set at ¥2600 (S$34).
The set consists of yuba in various stages of solidity and it takes a lot of creativity and thought not to repeat them. First, the most important dish. It’s egg soaked in soy sauce in kumiage (soft yuba) which has the texture of burrata (pictured above). You mix them together and pour over rice (see below).
It is so delicious and rich even though there is no meat in this yubameshi (yuba rice). The best way to eat this set is to take a bite of the rice and take a bite of other dishes, so it’s a cycle of richness and lightness.
The rice is not only the delicious thing in the set. Everything else is perfect and delicate. The set may look little but there are 10 dishes so it’s never borinig. There are some bits of meat in the 6 side dishes, just to add flavour.
Their yuba is almost like a sticky mochi texture, which is interesting and delicious. It is a texture hard to find in other food.
Furthermore, you can taste the delightful sweetness of the soy beans.
I am a carnivore but this mostly-vegetarian meal is fantastic although it is quite costly for (mostly) vegetarian food. I highly recommend it. 5/5 stars!
HIGASHIYAMA YUUZU 東山 ゆう豆
570-218 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0074, Japan
11am – 3pm, 5.30pm – 9.30pm, Closed Thursdays, Irregularly
You may be interested in…
–Must Eat in Kyoto: Plant-based Kyo-gashi (Kyoto Sweets) at Kagizen Yoshifusa and Toraya Karyo Ichijo
–Shigetsu, Kyoto: Inside Tenryuji Temple, Zen Buddhist Cuisine Is The Best Food We Ate in Kyoto
–Where to Stay in Kyoto, Japan: Hotel Vischio Kyoto Review
–Teuchisoba Kanei 手打ち蕎麦 かね井, Kyoto: Worst Experience in Japan
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.