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You make it sound as if the Japanese are very parochial, with little knowledge of the foods and methods of other parts of the country let alone other countries. Is that the case, or am I reading too much into what you are saying?


Well, yes and no.

Japanese cuisine differs greatly by region, perhaps as much as in Italy. I find it surprising that there is no English-language cookbook that addresses this (if fact, there doesn't even seem to be much in Japanese). I'd like to write such a book if nobody has done so already by the time I have the resouces and time to do it.

However, I wouldn't exactly say the knowledge of other regions is low. It's just amazing how much the average Japanese knows about food, and that includes regional specialties. Everybody knows that Kochi is the place to go for katsuo, for example, or that wanko soba is the thing to eat in Morioka.

And yet these local specialties often seem to be thought of as exceptions to the rule, or to exist simply as souviners for tourists. I've found that people here tend to exagerate Japan's homogenity and will assume people mostly eat the same thing all over the country. And it's kind of coming true, sadly. A lot of these regional differences seem to be disappearing, being replaced by "standard" Japanese food.

Not sure if I answered your question or just confused things! But those are my thoughts on the matter.


i love the idea of regional specialties, and would love to learn more.
i'll be traveling to tokyo, kyoto & fukuoka in a few weeks. can you recommend anything in particular that i should try while i'm in these areas?


Man, that looks delicious!


The ramen looks delicious!!! I love menma, and when I can get a jar , I practically use the entire jar in one bowl of ramen!!!! Yummmmm...


It is an interesting point, is it better to be too specific or too broad? You are very localised with your recipes but on the other side of the coin the new tiger beer website over here in the UK has recipes from all over Asia all presented in one free online cook book. Its good but it means a huge amount of generalisation.


How do you cook those little sardines? Do they have to be salted first? Rinsed? Do you just stick the whole thing in the fish grill? Do you eat the heads? I'm curious because I heard sardines are the least contaminated of all fish and I want to try to grill them.
Thank you!


Erina, those are three great food cities you've chosen! I've never been to Fukuoka, but it's famous for tonkotsu ramen (ramen in pork-bone soup), mentaiko (spicy cod roe), and its many yatai (outdoor food stalls). You could probably try all three at once: go to a ramen yatai and order tonkotsu ramen topped with mentaiko!

Kyo-ryouri (Kyoto-style cooking) consists of a few different syles, from kaiseki (haute cuisine served in courses) to o-banzai (tradional homestyle cooking) to shojin-ryouri (Bhuddist vegetarian cuisine). Must tries include kyo-yasai (traditional Kyoto vegetables), yudofu (silken tofu in hot broth), yuba (soy milk skin), and Kyoto-style pickles. One good place to try o-banzai is a restaurant called Daruman: it has a reasonably priced buffet lunch and is near Heain Jingu, which you'll probably be visiting.

In Tokyo, be sure to try soba, sushi (especially Edo-mae-zushi), monjayaki and tsukudani. Here is more info: http://www.tourism.metro.tokyo.jp/english/taberu/kyoudo_tokusan.html

Thanks Janet!

Carlyn, I love menma too! I could eat it every day.

Oldboygoast, that's right-- over-generalizing can do major disservice to great cuisines.

Dove, I don't know where you are, but here in Japan these shishamo come ready to grill. They have been dried for a day with their natural salt. But you're right, smaller fish like sardines and smelt don't live long enough to acquire the same kind of contamination as bigger fish. You can also try mackerel, squid and other small fish.

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