Nagoya Food Guide – Where and what to eat
We love food and we love trying out different kinds of food. That’s exactly what we did when we lived in Japan. Most every region in Japan has its own cuisine and we decided we’d write about the Nagoya cuisine. Nagoya, the 3rd largest metropolitan in Japan, is very near to our hearts. Having lived there for quite sometime, we have eaten quite a lot of what Nagoya has to offer. So here is our guide to Nagoya Food :
Nagoya’s “Morning Service”
This is great service provided in many (not all) cafes across Nagoya. You walk into a cafe and order a coffee and you get toast, a hard boiled egg and some salad along with it – free of charge! ( the contents may vary depending on the cafe). As you can read from the title – its only during the breakfast hours but we think it’s a great deal! This practice is said to have originated from Nagoya but is now available in most parts of the country.
Ogura Toast is made from thickly sliced bread. The bread is toasted and buttered slightly and then topped with chunky red bean paste. This can be eaten as a snack or even as breakfast with a cup of hot coffee. If you have ever had Anko ( red bean paste) or like sweet things, you’ll love this! The Japanese people like it so much that they even have a Kitkat with this flavor.
I like Ogura toast – just not as a breakfast item. I’m not a fan of eating really sweet stuff in the mornings . I love Japanese bread – its really soft but it can be really thick. If you like pancakes with lots of sugary maple syrup – you’ll love this!
Where to eat: Any one of the Komeda Coffee cafes.
Hitsumabushi is barbecued freshwater eel, eaten during the summer. It is basted with a mixture of sugar and soy sauce and then steamed before being barbecued. The eel is then served on top of a bowl of rice. This style of plating is called donbouri.
I tried this at Yoshinoya. It’s usually one of the priciest meals on the Yoshinoya menu (around 800 yen) but it was worth it. The barbecued eel is slightly sweet. It’s very tender and I loved it. At a gourmet restaurant, this dish is usually served with hot tea(broth) which you have to pour over the dish.
Tebasaki are fried chicken wings glazed with a garlicky glaze. They can be sweet, because of the glaze or spicy because of the added pepper. They are great with beer. They’re so famous in Nagoya that you can actually buy one as take home gifts. They are also really cheap. You can get a good tebasaki at Yamachan which is a famous Izakaya ( Japane style restaurant) in Nagoya.
Where to eat: We recommend Sekai No Yamachan
Tenmusu is a kind of Onigiri ( rice ball) with a prawn tempura ( deep fried battered prawn) stuffed in the middle. Its really easy to make and a perfect snack to carry with you – they’re kinda like the sandwiches of Japan. They’re really cheap so do try them! In Nagoya, you can easily find them in convenience stores or in ready made bentos (lunch boxes).
I love tempura – but it’s not the healthiest thing out there! But by eating it stuffed inside the onigiri I can trick myself into thinking it healthy – because of the seaweed! I really love how simple it is to make. It tastes great with soy sauce!
This is one of my go-to bentos. If you’re at Nagoya Station, you can pick up a “Tenmusu bento”. It’s a nice choice for an “eki-ben” (Train Bento) if you’re boarding a Shinkansen.
Where to eat: Senju (Nagoya famous Tenmusu) – Address: 4-10-82 Osu,Naka-ku, Nagoya 名古屋市中区大須4-10-82
Kishimen are broad flat noodles in a strong soy sauce broth, topped with steamed fish cake, deep fried bean curd, spinach and bonito flakes. The soy sauce in the broth is produced in Aichi. It is made different than the normal soy sauce which is produced using soy and wheat. This sauce however, uses mostly soy beans,hence it is stronger.
We really like the broth and the toppings in the Kishimen but find the noodles a bit difficult to eat. Its broader and a little more chewier than Ramen or Soba – not mushy or too chewy. But we definitely prefer this to Udon.
Where to eat: A great place to try it is at Miya Kishimen, an old restaurant located beside Minamishinike pond on the grounds of Atsuta Jingu Shrine, Nagoya.
Photo by Laura Tomàs Avellana
Miso is the Nagoya speciality, especially akamiso or red miso. it is generally fermented for upto 3 years so the taste is quite strong. Don’t worry though, the miso for the miso katsu is mixed with broth and seasoning and then poured over the breaded pork cutlet. It has a rich flavor as its made from Hatcho miso which is also known as the Emperor’s miso.
Where to eat: Misokatsu Yabaton is famous for its Port Cutlets
Miso Nikomi Udon:
Udon is a thick and chewy wheat flour noodle. It is particularly by the people of Aichi. Miso Nikomi udon is made by letting the udon simmer in red miso soup. A basic Miso Nikomi udon will have green onions and a hard boiled egg. Depending on the restaurant, you and the additional options, you can also get, steamed fish cakes, bonito flake, Shitake mushrooms and some other stuff.
Where to eat: This dish originated at Yamamatoya
Nagoya Cochin Chicken :
This breed of chicken was produced by cross breeding a Cochin breed which was imported from china and the local Owari breed, in the Meiji era. It is said to lay many eggs that are superior in quality and the meat is said to be more tender and juicer and can be cooked in a variety of ways. This breed of chicken is so famous that you have entire restaurants dedicated to solely cooking dishes with it. However, these dishes can be expensive but we think it worth it. Its definitely not for buying everyday though!!
Where to eat: Nagoya Cochin Shunsai Ichio
Photo by pax60 (Thanks for letting us use your image!)
This is a kind of spaghetti which is pan fried and topped with a thick sauce and an array of colorful ingredients like sausage, cabbage and sometimes with green peppers, ebi furai ( shrimp fry) or some other kind of fritters.
Where to eat: Spaghetti House Sole (スパゲッティハウス そーれ) , the birthplace of Ankake Spaghetti
Uiro:Photo by Yukari Abe
Uiro or Uiro-mochi is a traditional steamed rice cake made with sugar and rice flour. It’s quite similar to mochi, in texture. It is available in maly different flavors – matcha ( greeen tea), strawberry, yuzu ( a citrus fruit) etc. It is chewy and doesn’t have a lot of sugar. Nagoya is particularly famous for its Uiro.
Where to Buy: Toraya Uiro
Shiro in Japanese means white and I’m not quite sure about noir – I think its black ( French). But Shironoir is a warm Danish pastry topped with whipped ice – cream. Its available in Komeda Kissaten ( Komeda Coffee shop), which is a Nagoya based company. This company has slowly expanded to other regions, so now you can even try it in Tokyo at Don Quijote, Shinjuku.
Where to Eat: This one is again available at Komeda Coffee.
Taiwan Ramen (Tantanmen) :
The name can be misleading but this ramen actually originated in Nagoya. The chef is Taiwanese – hence the name. Its basically ramen noodles in a soy broth topped with ground pork, green onions, bean sprout, garlic and spicy red peppers. It has become so popular that it has started appearing in restaurant menus across Nagoya.
Where to eat: Misen is the birthplace of Taiwan Ramen.
We also decide to add a bonus item only available in Nagoya and it looks really cute!
Image from apalog.com
Pyorin is a pudding shaped like a baby chick. ( Its really cute!!) You make it by crumbling sponge cake over a pudding which is made from Nagoya Cochin eggs. This is then molded with vanilla mousse, into the shape of baby chicks. The consistency of the mousse has to be exactly right to keep it from losing its shape.
Where to eat: It’s all handmade and can be eaten only at Nagoya station’s Cafe Janjyanu Rejie. Good luck!
Have you ever tried any of the above? Do you like Nagoya Cuisine? Let us know in the comments!