[food]* Cooked first in sake then over a gentle heat on a thin metal plate, dozeu-nabe (loach pot) is a local dish dating back to the Edo period.
Dozeu-nabe, or literally "loach pot", is a dish dating from the Edo period. River loaches are cooked first in sake, then transferred to a thin metal plate and finished in a warishita (shoyu-sake-miso blend) broth over a slow charcoal fire.
Expect the dozeu-nabe itself to come in at ¥2,000, but you'll be expected to order other dishes alongside, and the final bill will be quite a chunk higher.
River loaches used to be common throughout Japan, and provided a cheap and readily-available protein source. This method of cooking softens the fish to the point where it can be eaten whole, without having to worry about the small bones, and allows it to be cooked and served quickly - Edo-period fast food, as it were.
This is a signature dish of Tokyo's Asakusa area. I tried it at Komagata Dozeu, which with over 200 years of history is one of the oldest restaurants serving dozeu-nabe - its head chef is the sixth-generation descendant of the store's founder. If you're going to try dozeu-nabe, this might not be a bad place to look.
It is credited with actually giving rise to the name dozeu-nabe itself (dozeu is a malformation of the Japanese word for loach, dojo)
Open: 11am - 9pm, throughout the year
Getting there: 2 min. walk from Toei Metro Asakusa Station, A-1 exit
The taste of the warishita base does come through rather strongly - likely to mask the bitterness of the loach - and the fish is almost crumbly. But in terms of the experience - eating a living part of history, faithfully handed down and closely guarded through the generations - it really is unrivalled. A bite of Edo-period cooking for ¥2,000? I'm in. ♥♥♥♥
Tried dozeu-nabe before? Got another place to recommend? Comment below or Twitter / twitter.com/foodjapan