The season of Japanese yuzu begins
· 20 October 2020
Kochi’s famous citrus fruits such as bergamot and yuzu will be used by Janice Wong Singapore, IB HQ bar, Appetite and other F&B outlets in their creations
As Japan gears up for winter and Singaporeans are still island-bound for the foreseeable future, it’s time to let the tastebuds do the travelling. The Kochi Representative Office organised Taste of Kochi Vol. 2 on 7 October in order to showcase five citrus fruits from the region, which is one of the most prolific for quality citrus. In fact, 52% of all Japanese yuzu comes from the agriculture-rich, tropical Kochi.
Other than yuzu which is well-known, there are four other citrus fruits that will be hopefully be available in Singapore in forms such as juice, peel and even the fresh fruit:
Bergamot: originating from Italy, the hybrid of bitter orange and lemon has a distinctive citrussy note best known in earl grey tea. It’s a relatively new introduction to Kochi, which has a similar growing climate, and here it is known as Tosa Bergamot (after the old name of Kochi). Its elegant, fragrant scent lends its versatility in cooking, which can be used in salads and dressings, hot and cold drinks, a garnish for seafood and in jams, marmalades and desserts.
Buntan: a type of pomelo originating from Southeast Asia. At 100-year-old Shiraki Orchard, owner Koichi Shiraki is also known as “buntan man” and a self-acclaimed citrus geek. His land has been growing the fruit since the 1950s, which can be applied to marmalade, salad dressing, tea, dessert and even noodles. Buntan has a high level of sweetness and mild acidity, unlike some pomelo in Southeast Asia, thanks to the particular growing climate of Kochi.
Finger Lime: also a newly experimental variety in Kochi, originating from Australia. These ‘citrus caviar’ fruit is so-named because its juice sacs resemble caviar-like pearls that burst with sharp citrussy flavours. The small beads retain their shape when added to dishes and drinks, adding a natural zestiness that’s less sour than limes or lemons. There are flavour variations as the limes come in red, yellow, brown, green and black.
Konatsu: is not a winter citrus, as “natsu” means summer. This vividly yellow and naturally occurring hybrid is possibly a result of a yuzu and pomelo crossing, and is found on evergreen trees. It has a refreshing sweet and sour flavour and is distinctive due to its thick, fluffy white pith, which is eaten together with the flesh for a sweet-sour balance.
During harvest season, some seasonal citrus fruit will be available at Meidi-ya and Don Don Donki, while some restaurants, such as Odette and Janice Wong’s 2:am dessertbar, and bars such as IB HQ, will be incorporating these citrus flavours into their dishes.
IB HQ will be serving up three Kochi citrus cocktails in the Rookies menu ($55 for 3), available till January 2021. From left to right: The Tombo is a non-alcoholic Seedlip Spice 94, hibiscus grenadine, Kochi yuzu juice and Perrier water creation to start off, while Papeda brings in the savouriness of curry infused gin, vodka, vanilla, Kochi yuzu juice and Perrier water in a clear, tall drink. Kanji riffs of a whisky sour, with genmaicha-infused blended malt whisky, light miso, pineapple, Kochi bergamot and buntan juices, with shaken egg white. In conjunction with #Hi5SG, IB HQ Singapore will donate $1 for every sale of the citrus-themed Rookies.
76A Duxton Road. Tel: 9152 4550
Janice Wong Singapore will have 500 boxes of citrus chocolate bonbons ($25 for 5). The Tastes of Kochi Box of 5 chocolates features 5 tastes; Umami, Sweet, Salty, Sour and Bitter, in Salted Yuzu, Bergamot Konatsu, Green Tea Konatsu, White Miso Yuzu and Buntan. Wong, who has written a recipe book using Kochi citrus, is excited to introduce the use of fresh bergamot and konatsu for the first time in Singapore. For every box sold, Kochi Prefecture Representative office will donate $1 as part of Hi5SG project. Order online here. In addition, you may look for a limited edition plated dessert, Zesty, which combines aerated konatsu cheesecake, yuzu sorbet, bergamot cheese, konatsu chiffon cake, Parmesan bergamot salt biscuit and white miso yuzu sauce, with finger limes, on the menu at 2am: dessertbar.
21A Lorong Liput, Holland Village. Tel: 6291 9727