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Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

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Local Dishes in Kansai Area

 Kamo nabe(Shiga)


Kamo nabe(Big)

 As winter arrives, migratory waterfowl arrive at Lake Biwa from Siberia. After their long journey, the birds are lean but soon fatten up to protect themselves from the winter cold. The meat of the ducks has a good texture and a sweet fattiness. A popular recipe in this area is a hot pot of duck meat cooked with tofu and leeks, Chinese cabbage, and other vegetables.

 Ise udon(Mie)

Ise udon

 This recipe for cooking udon (wheat noodles) originated in a restaurant serving pilgrims who came to worship at the Shinto shrines of Ise. The thick, firm noodles are cooked until they are tender, then served in a dark, rich, slightly sweetened broth prepared from bonito flakes and sardines, and seasoned with tamari soy sauce. The usual condiment is finely chopped scallions.




 Also known as oshi-zushi (pressed sushi) or Osaka-zushi, the name derives from the way it is made: the vinegared rice is packed into a square wooden mold, topped with shrimp, fish, or other kinds of seafood, and pressed down to form a firm "cake" of sushi, which is served in slices. Because the process is rather laborious, fewer shops prepare it these days, but it remains popular as a specialty of the Osaka region.

 Ikanago no kugi-ni(Hyogo)

ikanago no kugi-ni

Young sand eels caught in February or March are cooked with a seasoning of soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and ginger. The baby fish were thought to resemble bent nails, and that's how the dish acquired its name.




 This is a form of pressed sushi made with slices of mackerel. The bite-sized portions are wrapped in persimmon leaves, which have a very strong antibacterial effect. Both the fish (mackerel) and the rice are considered delicacies. This dish was prepared for ceremonies in the Yoshino area, such as the summer festival and the annual opening of the river to boat traffic.

 Kyo tsukemono(Kyoto)


Kyo tsukemono(Kyoto)

 Kyoto pickles are not so salty, bringing out the natural flavor of the vegetables. They are carefully prepared, taking into consideration specific combinations of tastes and colors. A popular style is senmai-zuke ("thousand-layer pickle"), which is made with thin slices of shogoin kabura, an extremely large turnip. Another variety is shibazuke, a pickle of chopped eggplant and myoga ginger, prepared with red shiso and salt.



mehari zushi

 Leaves of takana (mustard greens) are briefly salt-pickled, rinsed, and marinated in a mixture of soy sauce and mirin. The leaves are used to wrap balls of cooked rice. These were popular in the old days as an easy-to-carry lunch for people working in forest or field, and were often made in very large sizes.


 Funa-zushi  This specialty of Lake Biwa is prepared from crucian carp that are fat with roe. The fish are cleaned (apart from the ovaries) and salted and left for at least a month, or as long as a year. The body cavities are then filled with a mixture of cooked rice and salt, packed into a vat and left to pickle for several months. The sour flavor of this preparation is considered the origin of modern-day sushi, which is made with vinegared rice. 

 Botan nabe (Hyogo)

Botan nabe   Because of its bright red color, wild boar meat came to be known by the poetic euphemism "peony" (botan). The boar meat, finely sliced, would be arranged in a flower shape on a platter, together with Chinese cabbage, carrot, burdock root, and mushrooms, before being cooked in a hot pot seasoned with miso. Wild boar hot pot made with miso was a dish prepared for infantry regiments during the Meiji era. 

Pictures and articles are cited from JAPAN'S TASTY SECRETS.