Oden is a simmered cuisine cooked in a pot with soup, which is mostly eaten in winter. The main ingredients are Japanese radish, boiled egg, konnyaku, fried tofu, and processed fish paste. Depending on each region, different ingredients are added.
There are various types of processed fish paste, such as chikuwa which is tubelike, tsumire which is a fish ball, and satsuma-age which is fried and oval shaped.
Oden originates from a cuisine called dengaku. Dengaku usually put on soybean paste on either tofu or konnyaku. There are two different kinds of dengaku; one is yaki-dengaku, which is roasted, and the other is nikomi-dengaku which is boiled. It is believed that in the Edo period, yude-dengaku evolved into oden. The word oden comes from the word “den” from dengaku.
In Kanto region, an ingredient called hanpen is popular. It is a very soft and fluffy processed fish paste. The soup in Kanto uses lots of dried bonito and kelp.
In Shizuoka prefecture, the heart of bonito is pierced on a stick, and is a unique ingredients from Yaizu fishing port. The soup in Shizuoka uses thick soy source and chicken broth, which makes the soup dark.
In Hokkaido and the Tohoku region, potatoes, crab, and clams are popular ingredients to be used. The common soup in Hokkaido use kelp broth, and it has a thin soy source taste.
Oden is traditionally served at yatai which is a food stall, and izakaya which is a Japanese style tavern. Thesedays, you can find oden on counters of convenient stores, and is a leading product in winter.