Oden is an ideal hot pot dish for winter. It consists of various ingredients (called “tane”) boiled well in soup consisting of dashi broth seasoned with soy sauce and other flavorings.
The various types of tane include daikon, boiled eggs, konbu, konnyaku, shirataki, chikuwa, atsuage (deep-fried tofu), ganmodoki (fried tofu mixed with vegetables, egg whites and sesame), kinchaku (pouches of tofu filled with mochi), beef tendon, goboten (burdock wrapped in surimi), hanpen and chikuwabu (wheat-flour paste formed into a tube).
There are so many it’s hard to name them all. And the ingredients used vary widely by region and family.
Oden is such a familiar food to the Japanese people, such a national food that it appears in convenience stores when the season arrives. When Japanese people see oden cooking next to the convenience store cash register, they are reminded of winter and think, “It’s going to get cold.”
Oden carts, almost never seen in the summer, appear when it gets cold.
In the cold season, there’s nothing like oden with hot sake, is there?