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Osechi Ryori

December 9, 2016

Shogatsu or New Years Day is considered the most important holiday in Japan.  It is a time for new beginnings, a time for tradition and feasting.  New Years Day is spent enjoying traditional “Good Luck” food with family and guests known as Osechi Ryori.

Osechi Ryori is traditionally served in boxes called Jubako, which look similar to bento boxes. Osechi Ryori foods are prepared in a way for them to be enjoyed over the first three days of the New Year as shops are closed and time is meant to be spent with the family – not cooking.  These dishes are either dried, or cooked with plenty of salt, sugar or vinegar, which prevents them from spoiling. 

Osechi Ryori is designed to be visually appealing, boasting bright colors and shapes depicting things like flowers or scrolls. Many Osechi Ryori foods also have special meanings attached to them and symbolize a wish for the coming year. 

Tazukuri (Seasoned Dried Sardines ) –  Symbolizes a bountiful harvest.

Broiled Salmon – Broiled or grilled fish symbolizes a wish for a successful career.

Datemaki (Sweet Rolled Omelet) – Datemaki look similar to rolled up scrolls and represent a wish for education and culture.

Kinton (Mashed Satsuma Potato) – Kinton means “Golden Dumpling” and symbolize treasures of gold and silver. Eating Kinton represents a wish for financial success in the coming year.

Kamaboko  (Fish Cake)  - The shape resembles the first sunrise of the New Year. The pink color wards off evil and the white color represents purity.

Kinpira Gobo (Seasoned Burdock) – Represents a wish for good health and abundant harvest.

Kuromame  (Black Beans) – Represents a wish for good health in the coming year.

Namasu (Vinegar Seasoned Diakon Radish & Carrot) – The carrots and daikon strands resemble a Mizuhiki, a dercorative cord that is used on special occasions.  Just like with many Osechi dishes, the white and orange colors of the daikon and carrots represent a good omen.

 Ebi Fry (Fried Shrimp) – Shrimp are a symbol of longevity and renewal.

Kombu Maki (Rolled Seaweed) – Like with Datemaki, the shape of Kombu Maki look similar to rolled up scrolls, and represent a wish for education and culture.

Nishime (Simmered Burdock, Yam Cake, Lotus Root, Sato Imo & Baby Taro) – Many of the vegetables in this dish represent a different wish for the coming year.

Sato Imo  (Taro) – Represents a wish for fertility.

Renkon (Lotus Root) – Represents a wish for a clear future.

Gobo (Burdock Root) – Represents a wish for good health and an abundant harvest.

If you’re interested in trying out this beautiful and delicious tradition, you may purchase one for $59.95 from our deli.  We are taking orders for Osechi Ryori until Thursday, December 28th.  They will be ready for pickup on Saturday, December 31st from 10am to 4pm.