Experience the authentic flavor of dashi (Japanese soup stock) from the low price of 150-yen per serving
Ninben’s goal is to inform a wider audience about katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), a source of pride for Japan. With this in mind, it opened the Ninben Nihombashi flagship store in 2010 at Coredo Muromachi 1. Since the Edo period, Ninben has been passing down the tradition of bonito-based Japanese soup stock with a focus on honkare-katsuobushi. Honkare-katsuobushi is the highest grade of katsuobushi that is made by first smoking the bonito fish and then aging it more than four times by adding mold and drying it in the sun. With so much effort put into it, this high grade katsuobushi truly represents the best of the best.
“Our flagship store not only sells products, but also offers interactive experiences. It highlights the appeal of high grade katsuobushi and Japanese soup stock in multiple ways,” says Sumika Obata of the PR department. The Nihombashi grating floor allows passersby to gaze through the window to see katsuobushi being grated by hand. Nihombashi Dashiba is a dining space where customers can enjoy menu items made with freshly grated katsuobushi. Ninben’s one-cup katsuobushi dashi soup for just※1５0 yen has received rave reviews, selling a total of 1.01 million cups as of January 31, 2023. In addition to traditional dashi, its tomato- and cream-based dashi soup are also popular.
“The glutamic acid in tomatoes pairs well with the inosinic acid in katsuobushi to provide synergistic effects of umami. Many customers are shocked that katsuobushi pairs so well with Western ingredients,” says Kobata. Katsubushimeshi, a bowl of steaming hot rice topped with freshly grated honkare-katsuobushi, is also popular. There are also limited edition menu items available, such as Katsubushimeshi topped with cheese. An increasing number of people are also buying whole katsuobushi and a special grater to enjoy the great taste at home.
※This prices have been changed since October 2023.
Following the success of its flagship store, in recent years Ninben has moved into a number of new business segments, including Japanese dining featuring cuisine to capitalize on the umami of dashi, obento lunchbox specialty store, and delicatessen shop. At each of these stores, Ninben offers menu items that incorporate the traditional uses of dashi along with fusion menu items blending it with non-Japanese ingredients. Ninben will continue to think up new combinations while preserving the essence of this tradition.
“Going forward, we will increase our contact points with customers through various products and services, and increase opportunities for more people to know about katsuobushi and dashi.”
Nihonbashi Dasiba Hanare Katsuozukushi Bento