©iStock/coward_lion
©iStock/coward_lion

Nagoya's unique gastronomy: Nagoya Meshi

4 minutes to read

Nagoya is a city that connects the east and west of Japan. It is the third biggest city in Japan, and the easy access to it has been attracting many tourists from overseas. If you use Shinkansen, it takes about one and a half hour from Tokyo and only 35 minutes from Kyoto, where there is an international airport. Nagoya consists of two areas; the area of ​​Atsuta, which is centered around the historical Atsuta Shrine, and the castle town, which was built by the famous shogun, Ieyasu Tokugawa (1543-1616). Nagoya castle was built in 1609 and was known as the ‘Golden Castle.’ You can witness two golden carps on the edge of the roof. At that time, it was one of the top three valued castles, along with Edo (Tokyo) castle, and Osaka castle. If you are a history lover visiting Nagoya, Nagoya castle can be the starting point of your discovery.

Nagoya castle
Nagoya castle
1-1 Honmaru, Naka-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 460-0031, Japan
©flickr / reikow
©flickr / reikow

Nagoya Meshi

In Nagoya, you can find Nagoya Meshi, ideal dishes that are already known nationally. From the menus that have already become famous, such as Nagoya Meshi, to the unfamiliar not so famous menus, you will be surprised by the variety of types of Nagoya Meshi available. The history of Nagoya Meshi can be traced back around half a century. Many of these menus use a lot of Nagoya's famous miso, and the taste tends to be strong. In fact, regardless of genre, from eels, meat dishes, noodles to sweets, they all have a stand out uniqueness and rich flavor. Nagoya Meshi has already spread nationwide and attracted many tourists and visitors who come to Nagoya to experience the unique gastronomical culture. It is no exaggeration to say that sightseeing in Nagoya equals a trip of tasting Nagoya Meshi.

Misonikomi Udon at Yamamotoya

©Wikimedia Commons / unknown
©Wikimedia Commons / unknown

Udon is a dish of thick white wheat noodle in clear fish broth and soy soup. Udon in Nagoya is a little different.  Misonikomi udon uses miso in its soup. Misonikomi udon's toppings are usually chicken, fish shiitake, mushrooms, eggs, spring onions, and aburaage or deep-fried tofu. Misonikomi udon is typically served in Japanese earthenware pots called 'donabe.' While at the famous Yamatoya, it is highly recommended to enjoy their next level Misonikomi Udon. Yamatoya uses flat udon noodles, which also find their origins in Nagoya.

Yamamotoya honten, Nagoya
Yamamotoya honten, Nagoya
6-chōme-5 Taikōtōri, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 453-0811, Japan

Taiwan ramen at Misen

©flickr / kanesue
©flickr / kanesue

When coming to Nagoya, many people are confused, wondering why there are so many Taiwan ramen options. Even though the name makes people wonder, Taiwan ramen is definitely referring to the local Nagoyan cuisine. It started in the '70s at a Taiwan restaurant, Misen, where the shop manager came up with the idea. The origin of Taiwan ramen is the Tantsu noodle form Taiwan. Tantsu noodles, with a combination of chilies, garlic, and spicy meat of rich flavors, matched with Nagoyans' taste buds: with its evolution Tantsu noodle, became Taiwan Ramen. The spicy neo-Tantsu noodle gradually gained popularity in the Nagoya region, and now the majority of ramen stores in Nagoya offer Taiwan ramen on their menu.

Misen, JR Nagoya station
Misen, JR Nagoya station

Hitsumabushi at Atsutahouraiken

©wikimedia / hirotomo
©wikimedia / hirotomo

The eel dish called Unajyu or Unadon is famous all over Japan. Historically, eel dishes have been known as a luxury ingredient and believed to be highly nutritious. Nagoya's famous dish, Hitsumabushi, is eaten very differently from Unajyu or Unadon. Even some Japanese people do not know yet how to eat it. It differs from unadon as the flesh of the eel is finely chopped, and other toppings like seaweed or wasabi accompany it.  Most orders of Hitsumabushi are served in four separate bowls. 

It might be a good idea to learn how to eat Hitsumabush so that you can enjoy different tastes. First, you divide the main dish, which contains rice, eel, and other toppings into four equal servings. Then, take one serving and place it on the small empty bowl that came with the set and eat the first quarter like you would in the Unajyu style. The second server, you should eat it with condiments, and then for the third bowl, you pour in the dashi broth soup or the tea that comes with the set. You can eat the remaining serving whichever way you like. Atsutahoraiken is a popular Hitsumabushi restaurant where you should line up but is definitely worth it. Some people believe that Atsutahouraiken is the birthplace of Hitsumabushi, and the great taste is guaranteed.  

Atsutahouraiken, Nagoya
Atsutahouraiken, Nagoya
Godocho, Atsuta Ward, Nagoya, Aichi 456-0043, Japan

When you are in Nagoya, you have to try some typical traditional Japanese dishes with their little extra surprises. There are so many interesting Nagoya Meshi you can try in Nagoya. Experiencing the gastronomy of the Nagoyan culture will add color to your Nagoya visit. Remember, there are a lot of interesting and unique Nagoya Meshi to choose from. Being enthusiastic and adventurous is the key to enjoy Nagoya Meshi.


The author

Mayo Harry

Mayo Harry

Hi, I am Mayo from Japan. Travelling around the world and Japan since my late teens, my life has been a continuation of trips. I am excited to share my knowledge and experiences of Japan with all of you.

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