＊If you are reading Eat Dream Kyoto for the first time, feel free check out our introduction blog: Eat Dream Kyoto Project to find out why we started this project.
I’m a yoga teacher living in Kyoto. Every time on my way to work to Tamisa Yoga Studio, I would ride my bike passing by Gomacro Salon on Oike street.
“What a nice looking cafe! I should stop by for lunch sometimes.” I often think to myself. But it wasn’t until Maki suggested this cafe for our Eat Dream Kyoto, that I finally had a chance to pay a visit here.
The moment I walked into the cafe, I was attracted by the sesame products displayed on the shelfs. There were different flavours of sesame oils, sesame pastes, sesame dressings, grinded sesame seeds, you name it.
The sunlights brighten up the whole cafe through the big windows. The cafe is not that big but it feels very comfortable. There are tables by the windows and counter seats facing the open kitchen. There’s an open space on the second floor for cooking workshops and events which are held almost every week. Be sure to check out their website if you’re a fan of cooking!
I ordered an afternoon vegetable set (野菜ブレード), a colorful plate of fresh seasonal vegetables with sesame oils for dipping. The set also comes with pumpkin soup and bread. The fresh vegetables match perfectly with the aromatic sesame oils. 3 different sesame oils have different colors. Their different flavours and aromas linger on in the mouth long after the food is gone.
Maki ordered Gomaccino (ごまチーノ), which means sesame soy cappuccino.
After the beautiful meal, the kitchen leader Fujima (left in photo) and a cafe staff Shiota (right in photo) joined us for an interview.
Q: Question by Sandra & Maki
A: Answer by Fujima & Shiota
Q: What is the concept of Gomacro Salon?
A: The concept is to serve fresh organic vegetables with sesame oils. There’s no artificial additives, white sugar, animal products, nor daily products in the food we serve. We would like to contribute to the health of mothers and their kids. Gomacro means Goma (sesame) and macro (macrobiotic). Speaking of which, there’s a story behind. The owner of Yamadaseiyu company was a good friend of Sakurazawa, the founder of macrobiotic diet. The owner’s grandfather was not in good health at the time so Sakurazawa recommended him to try macrobiotic diet. The grandfather got so much better after the diet therapy, that was the beginning of the collaboration between Yamadaseiyu and macrobiotic.
Q: Why did the owner decide to open this cafe?
A: The manager of the cafe, Ms. Sen gave birth to her kids and started to understand how tough it was to raise up children in a healthy and unpolluted environment. So she had been thinking about opening a cafe where mothers and kids can enjoy healthy meals. After two years of planning, it was finally open in January 2015.
Q: Is there a particular dish that you would recommend the customers to try out?
A: We are proud of all the dishes because all of them contain our high quality sesame products. Nowadays, it’s not that easy to find a place where you can enjoy healthy and unpolluted meals anymore. It’s such a place that we would like to create here. What’s so special about our sesame oils is that all of our oils are extracted only once, whereas most of the sesame oils on the market are extracted 3 times. One-time-extraction makes oils that are rich in flavoured, more aromatic, and less bitter. That’s why our sesame oils are a bit more expensive than other brands, but they taste completely different.
Q: Wonderful! Are your sesame oils easy to find at most of the supermarkets?
A: Yes. You can find them at department stores and Yaoichi supermarket in Kyoto.
Q: For foreigners from countries where sesame oil is not commonly used, could you tell us how to use sesame oil for cooking?
A: Sesame oil can be used for stir frying, deep frying, and salad dressing. In Chinese and Korean cuisine, it can be added to the dishes at the end for flavouring.
Q: Cool! Where are these sesame seeds from and where are the oils produced?
A: Both from Japan and abroad. We import most of the sesame seeds from Ethiopia and Myanmar. We also have sesame fields in Kikaijima, an island in Japan between Kyushu and Okinawa. The oil extraction factory is in Nantan city (南丹市) in Kyoto prefecture.
Q: Lovely, can we go visit the factory?
A: Yes, it’s open to the public, but you need to book it in advance. If you go to the factory, you will be able to see the spirit of the artisans! The name of the company is called Kyoto Henko Yamadaseiyu (京都へんこ山田製油). “Henko” means stubborn in Japanese, their workers are very stubbornly committed to making the best product out of the traditional way.
I’ve always had deep respect for this Japanese cultural, people go to great lengths to ensure the quality of the things they create. If you’re around the city centre of Kyoto, consider Gomacro for lunch during your shopping breaks.
If you're interested for a visit, Feel free to check out their website here
Eat Dream Kyoto is brought to you by two close friends, Maki & Sandra. Aiming to introduce healthy eateries in Kyoto and to reveal the dreams of those behind the scene. Through this project, they wish to help the readers to appreciate the food being served, to feel more connected to the space, and to inspire others to live the life of their dreams.
In the spring of the year when I turned 32, I was diagnosed with liposarcoma, a cancer of a malignant tumor. That was the turning point of my life. In order to find my own healthy lifestyle, I quit my job at a company which I worked for 3 years and a half. Now I live in Kyoto and take the time to learn about health and healthy diet. I took a world trip to 19 countries in my late 20s and I’ve spent 5 years in Canada afterwards. I still enjoy traveling to somewhere about once a year. Pescetarian, except for special occasions. (laugh)
I’m Chinese Canadian, moved to Japan in 2009, now working as a yoga teacher in Kyoto and Osaka. I yearn to see the world and to seek a purposeful life. Traveling is one of my passions and so far have been to about 30 countries around the world, but I believe that the inner journey is just as important. Yoga, meditation, and reading help me to deepen that path.