The Taste Of Winter – Botan Nabe, With Tender And Robust Wild-Boar Meat

Sasayama’s Boar Meat

When asked about the very Tamba Sasayama meal, one has to mention botan nabe, or boar meat hot pot, enjoyed during autumn and winter. It is said that the name of the hot pot “botan” came from the display of the boar meat on the plate, vividly resembling a peony flower.

The word of the extremely delicious wild boar meat of Sasayama spread throughout the country during the Meiji Period (1868-1912). According to one belief, the hot pot recipe was initially a boar meat miso soup recipe, invented by infantry troop soldiers stationed in Sasayama at that time.

Upon returning to their hometowns, the soldiers couldn’t resist the urge to spread the word about the incredibly tasty boar meat of Tamba Sasayama.

Boars’ livelihood is one of the factors thanks to which Sasayama’s wild boar meat has such a superior taste. It is believed that boar’s meat gets tastier the more it runs up and down the terrain – the harsher it is on the wild boars, the better it is for the humans!

Another contributor to its tastiness is the harsh climate of Sasayama, with great difference in temperature during the day and night. As the difference is quite big, many delicious plants, such as berries, mushrooms (matsutake), and such, are found in abundance in the mountains of this region. The wild boars are known not to be so picky when it comes to food – they eat the delicious offerings of the mountain, and the tastiness of their food reflects greatly upon the tastiness of their meat. It is a reasonable turn of events – the tasty food of Sasayama’s mountains, turns into the tasty wild boar meat.

Botan Nabe’s Taste and Traits

During the period between November and March, you will definitely smell out the inviting fragrance of botan nabe coming from various parts of Sasayama – just follow the smell and you’ll get the opportunity to taste this delicious specialty.

It is a hot pot made with a konbu (kelp) and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) based miso paste.

The ingredients are rich as well – besides chinese cabbage, carrots, burdock, and other root crops, in the hot pot you’ll also find some shiitake, enoki, and other mushrooms, konjac, raw noodles, and many more ingredients. It is a true feast containing every ingredient that ought to go well with miso – after everything is in the pot, there comes the miso to do its flavoring magic.

You might have some doubts regarding the cooking period, but there is no room for worries. Take one bite, slurp, or gulp, and your body will be overwhelmed with soothing warmness.

If the road ever takes you to Sasayama during the winter season, try gazing at a splendid winter scenery, while relishing a first-class delicacy, Sasayama’s very own, botan nabe.