Boiled tofu was originally eaten by Buddhist priests in Kyoto. Unable to eat meat or fish for religious reasons, this protein-rich, versatile ingredient was a precious source of protein for them. For the same reason, many long-established restaurants offer delicious boiled tofu in Kyoto.
Yudofu, a regional tofu delicacy special to Kyoto, warms you up in cold weather and thus, is one of the main winter pan dishes in Japan. The light taste and smooth texture of tofu is very appealing. The hand-made tofu is cooked in a lightly seasoned soup, and then it is taken out before it loses its shape and dipped it in relish. Some say that the best way to enjoy it is to scoop it out of the pan as soon as it starts floating.
Another tofu dish treasured by Japanese people is Yuba, which forms when soy milk is boiled to make tofu. Several Kyoto restaurants, especially those near the famous temples, specialize in multi-course meals with yuba as the star.
Tofuya Ukai, Tokyo
Tofuya Ukai in Tokyo is a unique restaurant that envelopes visitors in historic, Edo-period architecture and scenery while serving various dishes starring tofu as the main ingredient.
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Warm up with Japanese winter cuisine at Okutan, a rustic restaurant at Nanzen-ji Temple in Kyoto. Today, Kyoto has many eateries that offer yu-dofu, a warming meal of hand-made pieces of tofu gently simmered in soup made with dashi stock. It's often served with tiny plates with artfully set seasonal vegetables, sauce, or pieces of fish. At Okutan, which first served pilgrims 360 years ago, women adorned in traditional rural clothing bring yu-dofu meals to your table.