Nagoya, Japan for Your Tastebuds
Nagoya, the fourth-most populous city in Japan, has long been an agricultural and economic centre due to its strategic location along the fertile Nobi Plain. Its strong and distinctive culinary tradition sets it apart from its neighbours – Kyoto and Osaka. Only a short train ride away from Kyoto, Nagoya is one of Japan’s hidden gems—for food as well as fun.
A dish you won’t find anywhere else in the world, hitsumabushi is a grilled eel-and-rice dish. It might also be the most expensive dish to be found on this list because eel is a real delicacy in Japan. Hitsumabushi is Japanese eel prepared in the unique Nagoya style. The whole eel is split open at the belly, the bones are removed and the eel is grilled whole without steaming. Hitsumabushi is said to have originated around the Meiji Period (1603 – 1867) when waitresses dished out each serving of sliced eel from a sizeable wooden tup for keeping cooked rice called Ohitsu into individual bowls for each customer.
2. Miso Katsu
Miso Katsu is a pork cutlet with thick miso sauce. When you talk about miso in Nagoya, it means the dark-colored type made from soybeans. The aka-miso (red bean paste) is made into thick sauce by adding broth and seasonings and then poured over pork cutlet. That’s Nagoya’s specialty miso-katsu (pork cutlet served with thick miso sauce). The unique flavor and rich taste of red bean paste, which is fermented for three years, might be intimidating for a first-timer; however, as the flavor of the miso is unaffected by heat and remains even after being boiled, it is sure to become an acquired taste. Crisply-fried cutlet made of pork with salty-sweet miso sauce -miso-katsu or miso-katsu-don rice bowl is worth trying. Once you try it, you’ll never get tired of the taste, which varies with spices, such as mustard or shichimi (chili peppers mixed with six other spices) and sesame seeds. Many coffee shops in Nagoya include miso-katsu in the lunch menu.
3. Ebi Furai
Ebi furai, or shrimp fritters, are almost always found in Nagoya’s bentos (Japanese lunch boxes). They are a great accompaniment to almost any main dish, such as the spaghetti, misonikomi and oyakodon. Fried shrimp are often used in Nagoya as topping for noodles, rice dishes or Japanese style curry dishes and is a real Nagoya specialty. Many shops in Nagoya serve Ebi Furai with the same Aka Miso sauce as Miso Katsu, making it true Nagoya cuisine.
Oyakodon, which literally means “parent and child” rice bowl dish, is a cute reflection of the fact that both chicken and egg are used in the dish. It may be a simple dish, but it is very popular among locals because of its simplicity and rich flavour.
Go for a delicious bowl of wholesome Oyakodon with tender and succulent chicken thigh meat simmered in a sweet soy-sauce, with egg topping on a fragrant bowl of Japanese rice.
Tebasaki is Japanese-style fried chicken wingtips. These spicy wingtips go very well with beer or sake. Traditionally, wingtips are not usually used in cooking because they have very little meat. However, in Nagoya, they have become a hit with locals because of the creative way to double fry them for a crisp finish. Once tasted, it is never forgotten. The spicy flavor also goes very well with beer or Sake Japanese rice wine. And if you love chicken wings, in general, you will love Tebasaki. This delicacy has become so popular that you can also find Tebasaki-flavoured ice cream and snacks now.
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