Nagoya Food Culture
Nagoya has a distinctive food culture
Centrally located between Tokyo and Osaka, the country's third-largest metropolitan area of Nagoya has developed a distinctive food culture.
Traditionally, the region is known for its hatcho miso, produced here for nearly 600 years. This miso is made from soybeans using a special process that takes longer to age than miso made of rice or wheat. Hatcho miso is dark brown in color with a strong flavor rich in umami.
Nagoya's miso katsu (pork cutlet with miso-based sauce) and miso nikomi udon are just two of the area's many specialties using hatcho miso. The thick udon noodles are simmered in hatcho miso soup. Individual servings are boiled in a small earthenware pot and eaten piping-hot. Another popular Nagoya dish is hitsumabushi, grilled eel cut up and served over rice with a soy sauce- and mirin-based sauce.
Nagoya is known for its tea ceremonies, one reason why various kinds of delicious wagashi (Japanese confectionery to accompany green tea) were created here. Uiro is one of the city's most popular of these, a simple yet elegant cake that is a steamed mix of ground rice and sugar. Uiro dates back several hundred years and comes in a variety of flavors, including plain sugar, azuki bean, green tea and brown sugar.
Nagoya's famous kishimen are broad, flat noodles similar to udon, served hot or cold in a soy sauce-based broth. This dish includes thin-sliced kamaboko steamed fish paste, boiled spinach and deep-fried tofu, topped with katsuobushi dried bonito shavings.
Nagoya is also nationally known for its premier Cochin variety of chicken. This chicken originated at the beginning of the Meiji era, a cross between a breed imported from China and the native breed of Owari (now western Aichi Prefecture). Its reddish meat is rich in flavor and can be prepared in a variety of ways, including tori-nabe, chicken and vegetables cooked in hatcho miso-based dashi stock.
Over the last several years, specialty restaurants around the country have been introducing these and other local foods outside the region, making the unique flavors of Nagoya much more well known.