Kuze Fuku & Co. Original Banno Dashi

Kuze Fuku & Co.’s "Dashi" – Proudly defining what makes food "umami"

【Main ingredient: Japanese mackerel, Production Area: Yaizu, Shizuoka】

During our search for regional makers of fine traditional Japanese cuisine, we found ourselves at the port of Yaizu, in Shizuoka Prefecture, a short hop away from Mt. Fuji. Yaizu is a major center of Japanese mackerel fishing, going back over 1,300 years to the Asuka Period of Japan’s history. Since that time, the locals here have used Japanese mackerel (bonito) shavings as a savory seasoning in a number of traditional recipes; most of all, “dashi,” or soup broth.

The process of making a good dashi is easy to understand, yet requires time, patience and skill to make. First, the bonito are dry roasted for three days and three nights, followed by direct fire drying and smoking of the fish for one month. The result of such prolonged smoking is that the fish is coated with a jet black ink-like substance known as “Arubushi.”

The finished dried fish is then gently brushed, removing the “hadakabushi,” which are the most savory flakes of dried fish. This becomes the main ingredient in Banno Dashi.