What is Kaiseki

Kaiseki, or Kaiseki Ryori*, is known as the highest form of Japanese dining, akin to fine dining in the western world.

It is regarded as a sophisticated culinary art that requires many years of training and is characterized by its meticulous preparation, beautiful presentation and multiple courses.

Each Kaiseki meal has a prescribed order of courses categorized by the cooking method of each dish. The cooking methods are never repeated so guests can sample new flavours and textures throughout their meal.

A key determinant on how Kaiseki restaurants differ from one another would be in the dashi that they use. The dashi or Japanese stock in layman terms is the elemental pillar of most Japanese cuisine. It’s umami-rich flavors are used to enhance the natural essence of many dishes in Kaiseki Ryori.

Most of the cooking, marinades and sauces require the use of dashi. Every Chef’s dashi is unique. The basic ingredients may be the same (konbu and bonito flakes) but subtle differences like the cooking time; the type of konbu and bonito flakes used and the type of water can all affect the final flavor of the dashi.

*Ryori means “meal” in Japanese. Kaiseki Ryori is the formal term for a Kaiseki meal.