In Japan, the cuisine of a local region is something of which to be particularly – sometimes fiercely – proud, and Nagoya is no exception to this. Nagoya food (Nagoya Meshi) is hugely varied and diverse cuisine, encompassing the traditional ‘washoku’ as well as the more modern ‘yōshoku’. Whether it is the delicateness of chicken sashimi, the spice of Taiwan ramen, or the salty miso katsu, there is something in the Nagoyan menu to suit all palettes. It is perhaps this assuredness and pride in the city’s fare that was behind the idea of the Nagoya Meshi Expo.
The Nagoya Meshi Expo is an annual celebration of the huge array of food for which the city is famed. Now in its fifth year, it has expanded to include up to 307 stores and restaurants all over Nagoya. The plan is that you can purchase discounted meal tickets either at one of the dozens of ticket centres or at a convenience store ticketing machine, which can be exchanged for some great food at participating stores. For example, one ticket can get you a meal set from Yamachan of tebasaki, kushi katsu and a highball; two ebi furai with a drink from Enshu Mikawaya or a yaki niku pizza and a soft drink from Napoli Pizza.
With tickets costing 1,240 JPY for two and a set of five for 3,000 JPY, it’s not too bad a deal. Then, should you particularly enjoy what you have eaten, and it is one of the 31 competing stores, you can show your love by voting online for it to be awarded with the much coveted prize of ‘Nagoya Meshi of the year’.
Whether you have been in the city for a short time or are here for the long haul, there is a good chance that there is something in Nagoya’s wide selection that you don’t know. In that way, it is a great opportunity to discover something new: a new restaurant perhaps, a different part of town, or even a new favourite dish. While you can’t possibly try them all (very few people can stomach 10 deals a day), there is still plenty of time to get out and try something.
Below is a by-no-means complete list of the types of food for which Nagoya is famous, but merely a sample of our favourites.
Tebasaki – Perhaps Nagoya’s most famous food, these deep-fried chicken wings can be salty, spicy or lathered in sauce. Check out the JIS Guide to Tebasaki.
Nagoya Cochin sashimi – The Nagoyan Cochin chicken is held in particularly particularly high regard – think the Kobe beef of poultry. It’s so succulent and fresh that you can eat it raw.
Ebi Furai – Deep fried bread crumbed prawns. Some of them can be gigantic, up to 30cm. Check out the JIS Guide to Ebi Furai.
Hitsumabushi – Many parts of the country serve ‘unagi’, or eel, but Nagoya’s grilled eel is particularly special. Check out the JIS Guide to Hitsumabushi.
Miso katsu – While white miso is favoured throughout most of the country, Nagoyans are immensely proud of their red miso sauce. Slathering it on top of a fried cutlet, or dipping ‘kushi’ skewers into it is about as Nagoyan as you can get.
Taiwan ramen – Despite the name, this dish is as Nagoayn as Ichiro. And like the baseball superstar, it packs a big hit. This is a seriously spicy noodle dish.
Ankake pasta – Of course, spaghetti is an Italian thing. Mixing it with red weiner sausages, bright coloured vegetables and a spicy, sticky sauce is definately a Nagoya thing.
Doteni – Its English name of ‘offal stew’ does little service to this red miso stew that is perfect for warming cold bodies on chilly winter nights.
Ogura toast – This thickly sliced toast served with a sweet red bean paste is often found as part of the Nagoya cafe ‘Morning’ tradition, usually coming with coffee or tea.
Curry udon – Mixing Japanese curry sauce with udon noodles is such a straghtforwardly delicious idea that it seems crazy that Nagoyans had to even come up with it. But they did.
Misonikomi udon – Another udon dish peculiar to Nagoya the chicken, egg and onion of the soup is brought to life by the red bean miso, and is believed to have been an original of the warring era Takeda clan, becoming another spoils of war for the victorious Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Photo: www.nagoyameshi-expo.com -Modified