If you want an authentic ‘Iwate’ culinary experience, you can’t leave without trying the 3 most well known noodles of the region: “わんこそば(wankosoba)”、”冷麺(Reimen)” and “じゃじゃめん(jangjangmen)”.
Wankosoba is a fast-paced eating challenge where you have to keep eating successive mouthfuls of noodles served at lightening speed into your bowl. As soon as you finish one mouthful, the waitress will put another one in your bowl. They won’t stop until you declare defeat and call for them to stop!
Reimen is noodle dish served cold, while Jangjangmen is a spicer dish originating from the northeast of China. It’s name derives from the sound people make when making the noodles – “Jiangjiang”! Jangjangmen is famous for the unique taste of the soup.
In this blog, I’ll introduce you to the history, the taste and related details of the Reimen – which literally means ‘cold noodles’. Reimen originated from Korea. In 1954, one Korean named Aoki opened a restaurant at Morioka serving the special Reimen. However, at the time, it wasn’t regarded highly as it didn’t fit the taste of the local residents. So Aoki changed the ingredients and component of the noodle while still keeping the 3 important characteristics of the original dish: firm noodles, kimchi (one kind of spicy ingredient) and rich beef-stock soup. Since the new Reimen both fit the Japanese taste and maintained it’s unique features, it soon caught the attention of people’s tastebuds and became more and more popular. Gradually people began to think of it as a special dish of Morioka, instead of the Korean one due to its altered taste. In 2000, the Morioka Reimen was certificated as authentic, which meant the ‘Reimen’ was no longer a Korean cuisine and had its own brand. Morioka Reimen is now famous for its chewy noodles, rich soup and the spicy kimchi sauce which you use to adjust the spice to match your taste.
This was my first time trying Reimen (pictured above). The toppings include half a boiled-egg, one thick piece of beef, one piece of sweet, juicy pear and cucumber, with a bowl of spicy kimchi on the side. As I prefer spicy food, I added all the kimchi in my noodles! The noodles themselves were firm but not hard; the beef was tasty without too much seasoning covering the natural flavour; the pear and cucumber were fresh and sweet, making the overall taste of noodle not too heavy. It was so delicious that I couldn’t help finishing all of it without stopping for more photos! I strongly recommend you to have a try here!!
The restaurant I went to was called “ぴょんぴょん舎稲荷町本店”, which is one of the most famous restaurants serving Reimen in Morioka City since 30 years ago. In this restaurant, the price of the noodle is not high – all are around 1000 yen. And the price for Reimen is 885 yen including tax. You can also try Yakiniku (barbecue) here which is their another main dish.
Website: http://pyonpyonsya.co.jp/shop/shop01 (for more information).
This restaurant is very close to JR Morioka Station. To get access to Morioka, from Tokyo you can take Shinkansen Hayabusa and it takes 136 minutes and 14740 yen (for reserved seat). For unreserved seating it’ll be about 1000 yen cheaper. Or you can take Shinkansen Yamabiko and it takes 214 minutes and 13710 yen (for reserved seat).
And from Sendai there’re more choices! The most convenient 3 are as follows: The 1st one is to take Shinkansen Hayabusa and it takes only 42 minutes and 6670 yen. The 2nd one is to take Shinkansen Yamabiko and it takes a little bit longer time-71minutes and 5940 yen. The 3rd is to take the express bus from Sendai Station to Morioka Station which takes about 147 minutes and 3000 yen.
There’re also many discounts for JR Tohoku such as free pass and so on. Anyway, it will definitely be a really amazing trip to Morioka – make sure to try the 3 most famous noodle dishes and experience the long culinary history!
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