Umami, together with the sweet, salty, sour and the bitter, is one of the five basic tastes.
We can find Umami taste in different foods such as tomato, fish, mushrooms or cheese but the highest amount in Konbu.
In japanese kitchen Konbu is used in multiple ways but in particular for the preparation of dashi or miso soup
or to envelope a raw fish (Kobujime).
Since ancient times Konbu kelp is recolted in the cold waters of Hokaido Island and traded with the southern parts of Japan.
The Okui Kaiseido Company has storehouses with controlled humidity and temperature to extract all excisting odour and to idensify the taste, in particular the Umami taste. This procedure is called Kura Gakoi and the Konbu is maturated for 2-3 years.
Réné Redzepi has choosen the companies products for his five-week restaurant in Tokio in 2015 as one of the most prestigeous products of Japan.
Candied Konbu / Tsukudani
In his storehouse in Tsuruga, Mr Takashi Okui shows a 38 years aged Konbu, probably the oldest excisting.