A traditional Japanese meal is typically built around three core dishes: rice, soup, and pickles. Also known as tsukemono, Japanese pickles serve a very important purpose. Japanese food culture is heavily influenced by the principle of balance, and pickles provide exactly that – a variation of colors, flavors, and textures to balance out a meal. They’re also known to provide health benefits such as vitamins, fiber, and probiotic cultures that promote digestive health.
Tsukemono have existed in Japanese history for many years (in the days before refrigeration) when pickling was used to preserve food. The different methods used to make pickles vary from simple salting or vinegar brining to more complicated processes that involve cultured molds and fermentation. Unlike western pickles, Tsukemono tend to have more subtle flavors that vary in strength depending on the type of vegetable and type of pickling used.
At Yardbird, we offer four different types of pickles: cucumber with ginger, daikon with red shiso, fennel with yuzu, and kimchi with napa cabbage and carrots. These pickles are meant to be enjoyed throughout the meal, not only to bring balance to the bigger dishes but to act as a palate cleanser and digestive as well.