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“Zōni”: Japan’s New Year Soul Food

            in the meantime <em>New Year dishes</em> Sold in beautifully stacked boxes, it has appeared in many advertisements leading up to the Japanese New Year, and for many people, <em>Elephant</em> Soups with more common ingredients seem to give them a real sense of the season.
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             <p>Every year, Kibun Foods conducts a nationwide survey of 7,015 married women in their 20s to 60s about New Year's and New Year's themes. <em>New Year dishes </em>cooking. In 2022, when we asked participants what their favorite New Year's dish was, the highest dish at 47.0% was <em>Elephant, </em>A kind of soup with mochi.The remaining top two items are <em>Chestnutton</em> (Chestnut and sweet potato mash) 40.2% <em>Black bean</em> (black soybean) 36.8%. Japanese people seem to like layered lacquer, <em>multi-tiered box</em> A box full of luxurious items, <em>Elephant </em>Cooking with simple ingredients such as vegetables and chicken may be their soul food.

By the way, the dialogue is New Year dishes Originally, the word was used to refer to food offered to the gods at the change of seasons. However, it is now synonymous with New Year’s cuisine.

Most Popular New Year's Food

Elephant A type of soup made from rice cakes that are placed on the altar of a house as an offering to the god of the new year, which is believed to visit homes on New Year’s Eve. It is simmered with various ingredients such as Each household has its own variation, reflecting the rich flavors of each individual region.

The shape of mochi is divided into rectangular in the east and round in the west. This turning point is said to be around Sekigahara, Gifu Prefecture, which was the stage of the famous Battle of 1600. In prefectures around this border, both rectangular and round mochi are used. Round mochi were traditional, but one theory holds that as the population of Edo (now Tokyo) grew, the demand for blocks that could be manufactured and transported more efficiently and conveniently increased, so rectangular mochi became more prevalent in the East. there is.

Even in western Japan, rectangular mochi are popular in Kochi and Kagoshima prefectures. It is believed that the feudal lords of these regions stayed in Edo for a long time and brought the Edo culture back to their home countries.

Round rice cakes and square rice cakes by prefecture

regional differences in New Year dish

Walnut Zoniwith walnut paste (produced in Iwate Prefecture)

(©Pixta)
(©Pixta)

Sendai ZoniGrilled gobies Sendai-style (Miyagi Prefecture)

(Provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries)
(Provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries)

In white misowhite miso (Kyoto)

(©Pixta)
(©Pixta)

Azuki ZoniSweet soup made with adzuki beans (eastern part of Shimane prefecture)

(Provided by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries)
(Provided by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries)

Kabuzoniwith white turnip (produced in Yamaguchi Prefecture)

(Provided by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries)
(Provided by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries)

Anmochi ZoniWhite Miso Soup-Based Ankake Mochi (Kagawa Prefecture)

(©Pixta)
(©Pixta)

Hakata Zoniamberjack fillet and local Katsuona Leafy vegetables (Fukuoka Prefecture)

(Provided by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries)
(Provided by Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries)

GuzoniChicken, fish, tofu, Chinese cabbage, lotus root, burdock root, yam, carrots, dried shiitake mushrooms, etc. (Shimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture)

(©Pixta)
(©Pixta)

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)