Keisuke Numata enriches Vienna’s food culture with traditional Japanese cuisine
Take one quick stroll along your local food court and you may come to believe that the world revolves around cold, vinegared rice melded with raw fish into bite-size cakes wrapped in seaweed. While sushi’s popularity is holding fast, Kyoto-born chef Keisuke Numata, spills an insider secret: Most of it isn’t authentic!
© rawpixel / Sushi is reaching new heights in popularity in the world of fast cuisine.
Learning the masters’ craft can take up to 10 years in Japan – while others would happily settle for less, he’d rather not add it to his repertoire.
His dedication to uncompromising quality started early; at 15, he worked at his grandparents’ restaurant in Kyoto, where cooking first piqued his interest. When his family moved to Vienna, a poignant longing for home-cooked meals led to the original Kuishimbo on Naschmarkt, opened by his parents, Hiroko and Yoshihiro Numata, in 2003.
© Mascha Verkooijen / Chef Keisuke Numata in front of the new Kuishimbo restaurant.
About a month ago, Numata expanded his family’s humble but venerated eatery with a larger branch on nearby Esterhazygasse with vintage Japanese posters inside and a quaint front patio. It’s one of very few Japanese restaurants in Vienna that hasn’t deviated from its culinary roots, eschewing trends for authenticity. Inside its cozy environs, a patient Numata serves up traditional treasures, from batter-fried tempura and katsudon (pork cutlet) to buckwheat soba noodles boiling in hearty broths.
Both the original Kuishimbo and its larger counterpart remain resolute family businesses.
Asked to describe a typical day, Numata sighs momentarily, but swiftly transitions into a heartfelt laugh – a young father, he juggles a toddler with a bustling business. In Japanese cuisine, fresh ingredients are essential. Although it’s often a gamble finding the right ones in Vienna, to Numata, wide grins at the sight of his food make it all worth it.
Ingredients & recipe for a traditional spinach salad
© Mascha Verkooijen
- 100g of cooked spinach
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable bouillon
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons of sesame seeds
Boil the spinach in the vegetable bouillon. Cool it down and drain. In a small bowl, mix the cooked spinach, sugar and soy sauce. Sprinkle lightly with sesame seeds. Serve cold.