TABAKOYA is located about 6-minute walk from JR Takamatsu Station and has been running since the Bunsei period (1823!). As one of the traditional Japanese food, kamaboko “boiled fish paste” shop for almost 200years. Of course, it is the longest established boiled fish paste shop in Takamatsu-city and they have serving their kamaboko to the Matsudaira clan (They ruled over Kagawa) from Edo period. The owner is now the 10th generation in his family to own the shop, he succeed his father in the family business after working as businessman until he was 30 years old.
The reason TABAKOYA has been loved for almost 200 years is how they pay particular attention to the ingredients and how they make the food they serve.
The first point, the way they cook kamaboko. Finely process the fish meat into paste, then grind it together with spices in a millstone, then deep-fry it. This recipe has been continued from the Edo period and is one of the best ways to true understand the deliciousness of the fish.
The second point, TABAKOYA never uses preservatives unlike other boiled fish paste shops. They also reduce the percentage of the salt in their kamaboko to about 80%, which is perfect for health-conscious people, too.
Inside of the store, there is a retro atmosphere and just being there gives a sense of nostalgia to the customers.
The main steps of making kamaboko
Since they sell kamaboko wholesale to the supermarkets etc., their day starts so early, they start working from 6 in the morning.
The main process of making kamaboko is:Finely process the fish into paste ⇒ grind it together with spices in a millstone ⇒ Arrange the kamaboko into various shapes ⇒ Deep fry it
Insertion of the fish paste into round slices of lotus root and shape it.
This is some freshly deep-fried kamaboko that has just been cooked. The owner gave us some freshly made kamaboko to try and it was just incredible. If you visit the store around 8:30-9:00am, freshly made kamaboko will be sold.
They serve 23 kinds of kamaboko and you can also purchase fish paste from 100 gram and up.
Hitokuchi-Ten “One-bite Kamaboko” are the most popular kamaboko at the store. There are 5 flavors to enjoy from, Shrimp, Kikurage Mushrooms, Squid, Burdock root and Pickled ginger. Pickled ginger Kamaboko was the idea of one of the customers and is now one of the most popular Kamaboko at the store.They also serve a variety of kamaboko like Long shrimp, Seasoned cod roe, Onion, Dried young sardines.
Most of the kamaboko fish pastes are made out from the meat of Alaska Pollock, but they have some rather luxurious kamaboko made from Threadfin Bream, Red Snapper.
They also serve 12 kinds of Tempura. If you ask, they will cook it in front of you.
There is a wide variety of side-menus like Beef Croquette, Ground Beef Cutlet, Chirashi (means scattered, served on plates or bowls with many toppings) Sushi.
A lot of the customers here are steady customers. Purchasing kamaboko for breakfast before work or school, businessmen buying Chirashi Sushi for their lunch, housewives buying Tempura to add one more dish to their lunch.Some people are sending kamaboko as gifts to their friends or families with refrigerated shipping. It only takes one to two days to arrive anywhere inside of Japan.
In recent years, the numbers of the foreign tourist customers are increasing. Mainly from Asian countries like China, Hong-Kong and Taiwan. They are staying the hotels near by and buying kamaboko for a side dish to eat with alcohol.
If you ever visit Takamatsu, we absolutely recommend trying the freshly made traditional taste of kamaboko, which has continued for about 200 years.
TABAKOYA Kamaboko Shop/たばこや蒲鉾店
6-minute walk from JR Takamatsu station
7-minute walk from Kotoden Chikko station