Director of "Experience Osaka Kappo" Executive Committee,
Editorial Advisor to Amakara Techo Magazine. Takeshi Kadokami
『How to Enjoy Over-the-Counter Kappo Dining』
Some clothing is made-to-order. Nowadays, you can purchase semi-custom suits and jackets tailored to fit your body at reasonable pricing with a process called made-to-measure ordering. The final fit and the look largely depends on the initial conversation you have with the tailor. How well can you convey what you are looking for? Custom-ordering of clothing is called "bespoke." It essentially means that you and the tailor create the clothing with a series of speaking (be-speak).
This “speaking” is also the essence of kappo dining. When you first sit down, you and the chef might exchange a few words over the counter. You tell the chef what you want. The chef develops a menu. The chef might ask you a few questions. Then the real conversation starts. The chef wants to get as much information as possible from you. If you can answer that, you are set. Then the customer sitting next to you might join the conversation. This is the real Osaka-style kappo dining. “I have another idea for eating this fish.” “I had it this way before, and it was to die for!” With back-and-forth like this, you can truly experience the pleasure of kappo dining.
Kappo dining involves conversations revolving around cooking and eating. When you speak out, you deepen your kappo dining experience. How can you make your experience of dining out even more special by talking about your everyday matter?
President of Naniwa Gyosai-no Kai and Osaka Ryorikai
『The history and charm of Kappo』
“Kappo” is an interesting word. It lost the original meaning and is now used to describe a style of dining. If you get to know the origin of this word, maybe you can appreciate kappo dining even more.
The literal meaning of the word is to cut something such as fresh fish and cook something such as vegetables. The word used to simply mean cooking.
As the time went by, cooking evolved following two different paths. One is home-cooking, and the other, restaurant cooking. Although the word kappo originally meant all cooking, it took on a more defined meaning of a style of restaurant cooking, probably around the Taisho era. You can find many evidences of this in Osaka.
In old days, all restaurants in Japan used to serve food the way they do now at the traditional Japanese restaurants called Ryotei. You would take your shoes off and go into a tatami room to dine. Then new styles of restaurants started to emerge where you can sit down on a chair and keep your shoes on. Further, some sushi and oden (stewed fish cakes and vegetables) vendors started to serve their food in streets with small counter seats. You could get your food, “good, cheap, and fast.” Today’s over-the counter, kappo style of dining was born out of these movements.
But that is just the form of dining. Kappo dining never means that cooking process is shortened or taste compromised. It is the complete opposite. At kappo restaurants, you get to experience the ultimate pleasure of dining where you can have what you want, prepared the way you want it, right then and there.
You and the chef are face to face. There is no room for short-cuts. That is why kappo restaurants offer the finest of all cooking. When there is no limit to what you pay for good food, and if you can picture such a thing, you get kappo dining in Osaka.