Japan has wonderful dishes for every season. One of them is ‘oden’, a stew pot of vegetables, tofu, seafood and other delicacies that are slowly simmered in rich, soy-based broth until saturated with umami, which a lot of people find comforting. Many restaurants offer this dish to their customers, like Otafuku in Tokyo’s Asakusa district.
|Photo Credit: Taste of Japan|
However, Otafuku is different from the rest as it has been using its broth for nearly 65 years. Although many oden restaurants in the country go to great lengths to preserve their broth as long as possible, the 65-year-old broth of Otafuku is currently considered the oldest oden soup in existence. Some people may find this gross but it makes their oden stew taste more flavorful than the rest. Many Japanese restaurants depend on a broth that has been repeatedly reused to poach or braise meats, which is called master stock, to give their oden a rich flavor.
|Photo Credit: The Spruce Eats|
According to Oddity Central, an online site that features bizarre events, unique travel destinations, weird inventions, freaky characters, odd art, and many more, Otafuku has been heating the same batch of broth every day since 1945. It contains all kinds of ingredients such as vegetables, tofu, egg, shark meat, beef, fish balls, and whale tongue. They only add more water to it as it evaporates.
|Photo Credit: Flickr|
The broth is strained and removed from the copper pot every night. After that, the broth is put back in the pot and covered overnight, but not refrigerated. It will be reheated the next day, with fresh ingredients. Studies have shown that reusing the master stock over and over again poses no problem as long as it is greatly taken care of.
This is also not new. The beef noodle soup at Wattana Panich in Thailand has been simmering for 45 years. Chinese restaurants also claim to have preserved their broths for hundreds of years, passing them on from generation to generation.