Miyagi Prefecture is located in the Tohoku region of Honshu in Japan. Sendai is both the capital and largest city in the Miyagi Prefecture. Around 23% of national parks cover the land area of this prefecture, which includes Rikuchu Kaigan National Park. Miyagi is known for their seafood as it has one of the biggest fishing ports in Japan. In this blog we will explore the different food that Miyagi has to offer you.
Gyu-tan is a fried beef tongue of a cow that was started not long after the end of World War 2. It began at a yakitori establishment in Sendai’s Ichiban-cho area. Gyu-tan is usually fried with salt, sauce or miso. This can be served with a side of rice and barley, oxtail soup and pickled vegetables.
When it is being cooked it is done on a strong heat so that leads to a strong taste of the flavour and beef juices. Gyu-tan is a combination of the Japanese word for “cow” which is gyu, and the English word “tongue” which is tan. Gyu-tan has been described as having a similar taste to other red meats but it tastes fattier and milder. It has a chewy texture as the tongue of a cow is full of muscle.
Harako Meshi is a traditional dish that comes from the Watari area. This dish consists of salmon and roe that is served on rice. The salmon has a light melt-in-your-mouth consistency. While the roe adds a salty but savoury taste when burst.
The recommended time to have Harako Meshi is from September to early December. Harako Meshi is sold as ekiben which is a box lunch sold on a train or at a station. You can find them for example if you’re traveling from Sendai and Morioka Stations.
Zunda mochi is a dessert that consists of edamame. Zunda mochi is a traditional Japanese sweet in the region of Tohoku. It is in the three major Sendai specialties. This Mochi consists of edamame, which is an immature soybean, for its bean paste. Zunda mochi has also been known to have excellent nutritional value to them.
The word Zunda means green paste in Japanese. The edamame has been mashed up and then sugar and salt are added to it. By adding the bean paste to the mochi that is now where the origins of the name come from. The edamame is known to have a rich aroma and umami.
The best time to eat this dessert is during the summer period which is also the time when edamame is harvested. This dessert can be found in different shops and also dishes.
People have described Zunda Mochi to have a sweet taste and a chunky texture.
Miyagi is very famous for its oysters. In the prefecture, they have one of the three largest fishing areas in the world. Due to how fresh the oysters are in Miyagi, most of them can be harvested and eaten raw. Matsushima oysters are only available between October and March. At the start of February, an Oyster Festival takes place that is a great event that should not be missed.
There are many ways to eat oysters but most people would recommend that you eat them raw. But if not it is also advised to have them fried or with rice.
Restaurants that are recommended to try oysters are Kaki-Goya. Their popularity has risen over the years and they offer a buffet which allows you to eat as much as you want.
Seri-Nabe is a very popular dish in Miyagi Prefecture. Especially during the Wintertime and early Spring. The most popular city that is associated with the dish is Natori.
Seri-Nabe is a hotpot stew that consists of several ingredients that are stewed together in one pot. Nabe consists of broth, vegetables and meats or seafood. Seri which is Japanese parsley is a kind of herb which is eaten even with the root. Seri-Nabe is known to have plenty of vitamins and dietary fibre.
It is recommended that if you happen to have leftovers you eat the rest with noodles or rice.
When planning your next trip to Japan make sure to include going to Miyagi in your plan. With all these the food that Miyagi has to offer it will be great to try out the regional foods.
Feature image by Denise Metz on Unsplash
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