Tokoroten is a very popular and traditional Japanese dish and it’s essentially simple kanten (agar jelly), cut into noodles. Tokoroten itself doesn’t really have flavors, so it’s served with sauce and toppings. It’s served chilled, so people enjoy tokoroten especially during the summer. It’s often served at Japanese traditional tea/ dessert parlors, and there are also vendors specialized in serving only tokoroten! In Tokyo, where I am from, and most of eastern Japan, tokoroten is enjoyed with vinegar-soy based sauce, so the vinegar can help alleviate the fatigue while the cold temperature of the dish helps cooling down your body. Tokoroten itself has very few calories, so it’s very light yet quite satisfying. I’ve been wondering why this dish has never caught up its popularity in the US yet…so, I thought I should introduce this beloved Japanese humble dish here. With my version, the sauce includes dashi, so it’s mild with extra layer of umami flavors.
To cut the kanten into tokoroten noodles, I use a traditional tokoroten-tsuki (a traditional tool designed specifically for cutting tokoroten noodles). It’s not only very easy to use, but it’s really fun to cut noodles with this.
In Kansai (including Kyoto and Osaka) and many parts of western Japan, tokoroten is typically enjoyed with sweet syrup and served as a dessert. So, my friends from Kyoto say they think tokoroten with vinegar-soy sauce is so strange.