Senmai Zuke: Pickled Turnip Slices from Daito in Kyoto
Kyoto is a historical city in which various cultures and foods originated. For example, when I think of pickles that the old city boasts, what comes to my mind right away is Senmai Zuke.
Senmai Zuke (千枚漬け)
“Senmai Zuke (千枚漬け)”, literally meaning “one thousand slices of pickles”, is a traditional Japanese pickle made of a species of turnip called “Shogoin Kabu (聖護院かぶ)”, which is one of the specialty vegetables of Kyoto called “Kyo-Yasai (京野菜)”.
In the making of Senmai Zuke, the turnip Shogoin Kabu is first thinly sliced, and then placed in a wooden barrel and pickled in a sweet vinegar sauce, together with kombu (seaweed kelp) and red chili pepper.
Since the turnip, Shogoin Kabu is annually produced only during the period from November to around March, Senmai Zuke is also only available during the cold winter months.
Daito (大藤) in Kyoto
It is said that Senmai Zuke was first created in 1865 by a Japanese chef who worked at Kyoto Imperial Palace, named “Daikokuya Fujisaburo (大黒屋藤三郎)”.
Even now, his pickles shop “Daito (大藤)” (Google Map) has continued to operate in Kyoto and is renowned as the originator of Senmai Zuke.
Nowadays, their pickled turnip slices can be bought also online, and as shown in the photo above this time I actually purchased it.
When I removed the outer green paper packaging, a round wooden container appeared, in which quite a lot of slices of pickled turnip were filled, accompanied with a thin sheet of kombu and strips of potherb mustard called “Mibuna (壬生菜)”.
The sliced pickled turnip from Daito, the original Senmai Zuke was not that vinegary but sweetish and packed with umami from kombu. Also, the pickle had a pleasant crunchy bite, so I couldn’t get enough of it.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 千枚漬け )