Kishu Binchotan has been marketed as everything from an air and water purifier to a mood enhancer. A white charcoal made from the indigenous ubame oak, it considered the world’s best fuel for grilling, especially Japanese dishes such as yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) and unagi (grilled eel). Chefs around the world swear that it imparts meat and seafood with a flavour unachievable using other charcoals. I travelled to Wakayama to meet a Kishu Binchotan maker and learn more about the craft and the men who make it as part of my long term project on the region.
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