Apart from yuzu, citrus fruits such as buntan, naoshichi and konatsu awake the senses too.
Say citrus and you might immediately think of yuzu. Buntan, Naoshichi, Konatsu? Not so much.
Janice Wong of Janice Wong Singapore, 2am: dessertbar, Janice Wong Dessert Bar Tokyo and more, is one chef who is trying to change that. She has been using yuzu in many of her desserts for quite a while now. After a recent trip to Kochi, a prefecture in Shikoku island that produces about 90 per cent of Japan’s citrus, she got to know other Kochi citrus fruits such as buntan, konatsu and naoshichi well, and started experimenting with them. She documents her experience and various recipes in her book A Taste of Kochi Citrus, available for download here.
During a recent Kochi x Janice Wong presentation held at the National Museum, she explained that each of the citrus fruits have their unique characteristics. Buntan, for instance, is pomelo-sized and has a sweet, slightly bitter and umami profile. Chef Wong uses it in dishes such as lobster buntan ice cream, and buntan pound cake. Konatsu on the hand, has a balanced, sweet-tangy flavour and is usually eaten with the white pith around the flesh intact. Chef Wong makes both sweet and savoury dishes with it, such as smoked konatsu cheesecake, and popcorn chicken with konatsu powder. Last but not least, naoshichi is a more bold-flavoured citrus with sour and bitter notes, where its juice is commonly used to season fish. This citrus inspires chef Wong to make tuna sashimi with naoshichi caviar, and salted naoshichi peel with layered radish puffs, just to name a few.
If you are in the neighbourhood, stop by to sample Spring menus at Janice Wong dessertbar Tokyo and 2am : dessertbar, where chef Wong is featuring Kochi citrus in desserts such as Citrus Garden (konatsu, white asparagus, orange flower, dill yoghurt) and Bitters Symphony (green tea, peas, buntan, salted caramel, naoshichi) respectively.
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