Tohoku, Japan, is well known for it’s tasty ‘Gyu-tan’ (Beef Tongue) and fresh seafood. However, some visitors may be wondering if there is anything else they can taste? Well, you are in luck!! There are so many great dishes to choose from. In this article I would like to share the delicious dishes I have tried during my Tohoku travels, including several kinds of food from Aomori and Miyagi prefectures.
Aomori ~ land of apples!!
When you are in Aomori, you can’t leave until you try Kuroishi’s famous ‘Tsuyu-Yakisoba’ and – of course – the very famous apples!!
Tsuyu-yakisoba with fried shrimps
In Kuroishi, Tsuyu-yakisoba is a must-try dish. The small side-dish on the left is pickled yam, and it tastes crunchy; the big bowl is the main course! Before entirely mixing the soup with the fried noodles, I firstly tasted the soup; it was delicious and not that salty. Then, the soup became too salty to eat after mixing; however, the noodles and the fried shrimps were super delicious in the strong-tasting soup.
What impressed me most was the combination of the crispy fried shrimps and soup. I originally thought it might be a little bit weird when the batter entered the soup. But, it tastes even better as it absorbs the strong flavour or the soup.
Apple pie sold in Nebuta Museum
Various desserts made of apples
After any meal in Aomori, you can have apples or apple pie for dessert!! There are lots of apple orchards in Aomori; moreover, the flower of Aomori prefecture is the apple flower with the meaning of purity. Besides the tasty apples themselves, there are a lot of desserts made using apples. The apple chips (orange-color pack) taste like thick potato chips and has a nearly orange flavour; but, you can enjoy the aroma of apples when eating. Personally, the apple slice-shape snack (pink-color pack) is the most special one! When you hold it in your mouth for a while, it will come alive like real apple slice.
With apple flesh instead of puree
In addition to those packed desserts, I highly recommend the baked apple pie sold in pam pam shop, Aomori Tourist Information Center (which is also called ASPAM) for people like me who don’t like too sweet food. The apple pie in pam pam tastes more sour with just the right amount of sweetness. As for others who love sweet, you may like apple pie which is sold in the lobby of Nebuta Museum; the apple pie there is sweet, warm and super tasty.
Miyagi ~ Hearty comfort foods!
If you visit Miyagi in winter, you should try the ‘Seri’ (Japanese-cress) hotpot. In this hot-pot not only can you enjoy the tasty leaves and stalks, but also the roots which are thoroughly cleaned. Traditionally, the flavour of hot-pot in the Tohoku area tastes slightly saltier than others. However, with the fragrance of the cress, the salty flavour becomes less strong. Usually, you can find it in many izakaya (Japanese pubs/tapas like eateries) and restaurants.
Pork in cress hotpot
Cress in cress hotpot
There are other great, fresh dishes to try at izakaya in Miyagi. The salad pictured below is a combination of yam, lettuce, dried fish, Nori-seaweed, and vinegar – as abundance of delicious flavours which whetted my appetite for more. As for the triangle tofu dish – it is actually a common food you can buy in supermarkets and make on your own, but it seems to require some extra-special skill to make it as delicious as the one I ate in the izakaya!!
Pretty common dish which you may buy from supermarket and make by your own
Salad (yan, lettuce, etc) with vinegar suace which fresh you out from the salty and oily
Or, if you are someone who love noodles, you should definitely visit Shiroishi, Miyagi to have the U-men (pronounced ooomen) dish. There are many Umen restaurants in Shiroishi due to it being a local delicacy and manufactured in the area. Unlike other Japanese noodles (Soba, ramen etc), Umen is thinner but maintains a chewy texture especially when served cold. When you order the hot dish, the Umen feels like it melts in your mouth; when you try the cold dish, you can chew the noodles for a while. I would strongly recommend the cold dish with three different types of sauce (particularly sesame, walnut, and soy-based sauce) brings you the enjoyment of eating three different dishes at once!
Pork Unmen Combo
Three-flavour Unmen Combo