Do you know what the Big Four of Edo Dining are?
They are eel, sushi, tenpura, and soba noodles. These four foods (let us call them “the Big Four of dining” from here on) are the most popular foods among Japanese people today. They are delicacies that every Japanese person has eaten at least once in their lives and are enjoyed more often when eating out than at home.
The Big Four of dining have been enjoyed since as far back as at least the Edo period. Eel, for example, is believed to have been eaten since four thousand years ago as eel bones have turned up with excavated remains from the Jomon period. However, it is considered one of the Big Four of Edo dining because the way it is prepared today was developed during the Edo period.
These dishes have made significant developments over the ages. Just as eel can be grilled with sauce and sushi can be prepared by pressing it by hand, soba can be sliced into narrow noodles to be slurped, and tenpura can be covered with batter and deep-fried.
These Big Four of dining started to become deeply associated with Nihombashi, which was the center of culture during the Edo period.