|The Beginning of Himeji-Oden
The beginning of Himeji Oden
The method of eating oden with ginger soy sauce is popular among people who live around Himeji.
The name “Himeji Oden” was decided upon in 2006 by an organization committed to promoting Himeji. Since this was the normal method for eating oden in and around Himeji, it didn’t have any particular name up to that point.
There are various theories about the origins of eating oden with ginger soy sauce, but it appears to have begun in the Hamade area of Himeji in the early Showa Period where they added some ginger soy sauce in order to adjust the flavor of the sweet and strong Kantodaki.
Originally, they poured ginger soy sauce over Kantodaki drained of its soup, but with the rise of the more lightly flavored Kansai style oden, many began to eat it by dipping it in ginger soy sauce similar to the way in which people eat sashimi.
Another theory, the Black Market Theory, was that during and after World War 2, when food resources were scarce, people added ginger soy sauce in order to stretch out the oden which had been cooked for too long and had lost its flavor. This theory had been widely believed until recently it was discovered that oden had been eaten with ginger soy sauce from at least 1935.
Many people who born in the early Showa era say that they ate food cart oden (nikomi dengaku) with ginger soy sauce and sometimes sweet miso before the war. According to the union president, they served kantodaki with ginger soy sauce at street stalls on the Shirahama beach at the end of the Taisho era.
From its beginning, “Kadoya Shokudo”, the restaurant which is called the originator of Himeji Oden and which has served it for over 70 years, stews its kantodaki in a strong and sweet soup and then pours ginger soy sauce over it.
Furthermore, Tatsuno City which is just west of Himeji, has been a soy sauce producing district since ancient times, and Himeji’s Shirahama is known as a place where ginger was produced since the Showa era. Some believe that people in the area, accustomed to both products, found that they go naturally well together and speculate that as the origin of Himeji Oden.