We love food, and we love trying out different kinds of food. That’s precisely what we did when we lived in Japan. Almost every region in Japan has its cuisine, and we decided to write about Nagoya cuisine. Nagoya, the 3rd largest metropolitan in Japan, is very near to our hearts. Having lived there for quite some time, we have eaten quite a lot of what Nagoya has to offer. So here is our guide to Nagoya Food Guide:
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Nagoya’s “Morning Service”
This excellent service is provided in many (not all) cafes across Nagoya. You walk into a restaurant and order a coffee, and you get toast, a hard-boiled egg, and some salad – free of charge! ( the contents may vary depending on the cafe). As you can read from the title – it’s only during breakfast, but we think it’s a great deal! This practice is said to have originated in Nagoya but is now available in most parts of the country.
Ogura Toast is made from thickly sliced bread. The bread is toasted, buttered slightly, and then topped with chunky red bean paste. This can be eaten as a snack or breakfast with hot coffee. You’ll love this if you have ever had Anko ( red bean paste) or like sweet things! The Japanese people like it so much that they even have a Kitkat with this flavor.
I like Ogura toast – just not as a breakfast item. I’m not a fan of eating lovely stuff in the mornings. I love Japanese bread – it’s soft, but it can be thick. If you like pancakes with lots of sugary maple syrup – you’ll love this!
Where to eat: Any one of the Komeda Coffee cafes.
Hitsumabushi is a barbecued freshwater eel eaten during the summer. It is basted with a sugar and soy sauce mixture and then steamed before barbecuing. The eel is then served on top of a bowl of rice. This style of plating is called donburi.
I tried this at Yoshinoya. It’s usually one of the priciest meals on the Yoshinoya menu (around 800 yen), but it was worth it. The barbecued eel is slightly sweet. It’s very tender, and I loved it. At a gourmet restaurant, this dish is usually served with hot tea(broth), which you have to pour over the dish.
Where to eat: Yoshinoya or Atsuta Horaiken (“Hitsumabushi” is said to be a registered trademark of Atsuta Horaiken.)
Tebasaki is fried chicken wings glazed with a garlicky glaze. They can be sweet because of the glaze or spicy because of the added pepper. They are great with beer. They’re so famous in Nagoya that you can buy one as a take-home gift. They are also really cheap. You can get a good tebasaki at Yamachan, a famous Izakaya (Japanese-style restaurant) in Nagoya.
We usually go for the spicy version, and we love it. It is putting together everything we love – garlic, chicken, and pepper(lots of it). We do wish there was more meat, though!
Where to eat: We recommend Sekai No Yamachan.
Tenmusu is a kind of onigiri ( rice ball) with prawn tempura (deep-fried battered prawn) stuffed in the middle. It’s really easy to make and a perfect snack to carry with you – they’re kind of like the sandwiches of Japan. They’re cheap, so do try them! You can easily find them in convenience stores or ready-made bentos (lunch boxes) in Nagoya.
I love tempura – but it’s not the healthiest thing out there! But by eating it stuffed inside the onigiri, I can trick myself into thinking it is healthy – because of the seaweed! I love how simple it is to make. It tastes great with soy sauce!
This is one of my go-to bentos. If you’re at Nagoya Station, you can pick up a “Tenmusu bento.” It’s an excellent choice for an “eki-ben” (Train Bento) if you’re boarding a Shinkansen.
Where to eat: Senju (Nagoya famous Tenmusu) – Address: 4-10-82 Osu, Naka-ku, Nagoya 名古屋市中区大須4-10-82
Kishimen are broad flat noodles in a strong soy sauce broth, topped with steamed fish cake, deep-fried bean curd, spinach, and bonito flakes. The soy sauce in the broth is produced in Aichi. It is made differently than soy sauce, produced using soy and wheat. This sauce, however, uses mainly soybeans. Hence it is stronger.
We like the broth and the toppings in the Kishimen but find the noodles challenging. It’s broader and chewier than Ramen or Soba – not mushy or chewy. But we prefer this to Udon.
Where to eat: A great place to try it is at Miya Kishimen, an old restaurant located beside Minamishinike pond on the grounds of Atsuta Jingu Shrine, Nagoya.
Miso is the Nagoya specialty, especially aka miso or red miso. It is generally fermented for up to 3 years, so the taste is strong. Don’t worry; the miso for the miso katsu is mixed with broth and seasoning and then poured over the breaded pork cutlet. It has a rich flavor as it’s made from Hatcho miso, also known as the Emperor’s miso.
Miso is an acquired taste. It’s rich and strong. I love it in savory dishes like miso soup. Miso katsu is a little too sweet for me!
I love Miso-katsu curry. The breaded pork cutlets are crispy and soak the curry but retain their crispiness.
Where to eat: Misokatsu Yabaton is famous for its Pork Cutlets.
Miso Nikomi Udon
Udon is a thick and chewy wheat flour noodle. It is mainly by the people of Aichi. Miso Nikomi Udon is made by letting the udon simmer in red miso soup. A basic Miso Nikomi udon will have green onions and a hard-boiled egg. Depending on the restaurant, you, and the additional options, you can also get steamed fish cakes, bonito flakes, Shitake mushrooms, and other stuff.
Where to eat: This dish originated at Yamamatoya.
Nagoya Cochin Chicken
This breed of chicken was produced by cross-breeding a Cochin breed imported from China, and the local Owari breed, in the Meiji era. It is said to lay many eggs that are superior in quality, and the meat is said to be more tender and juicer and can be cooked in various ways. This breed of chicken is so famous that entire restaurants are dedicated solely to cooking dishes with it. However, these dishes can be expensive, but it is worth it. It’s not for buying every day, though!!
Where to eat: Nagoya Cochin Shunsai Ichio
This is a kind of spaghetti that is pan-fried and topped with a thick sauce and an array of colorful ingredients like sausage, cabbage, and sometimes with green peppers, ebi furai ( shrimp fry), or some other kind of fritters.
Ankake Spaghetti is an exciting fusion food. I like the ebi furai pancake spaghetti. The sauce is spicier than the usual Spaghetti sauce.
Where to eat: Spaghetti House Sole (スパゲッティハウス そーれ), the birthplace of Ankake Spaghetti
Uiro or Uiro-mochi is a traditional steamed rice cake made with sugar and flour. It’s pretty similar to mochi in texture. It is available in many flavors – matcha (green tea), strawberry, yuzu ( a citrus fruit), etc. It is chewy and doesn’t have a lot of sugar. Nagoya is particularly famous for its Uiro.
We love Uiro – It’s got just the right amount of sugar. However, it’s very dense and a little chewy because of the rice flour, but if you like mochi – you have to try this!
Where to Buy: Toraya Uiro
Shiro in Japanese means white, and I’m not sure about noir – I think it’s black ( French). But Shironoir is a warm Danish pastry topped with whipped ice – cream. It’s available in Komeda Kissaten ( Komeda Coffee Shop), a Nagoya-based company. This company has slowly expanded to other regions so that you can try it in Tokyo at Don Quijote, Shinjuku.
I liked Shironoir, but it’s not something that stood out. A lot of people who visit Japan love this, so please give it a try.
It tastes good, and we like how the pastry is warmed just enough to ensure it doesn’t melt the ice cream quickly!
Where to Eat: This one is again available at Komeda Coffee.
Taiwan Ramen (Tantanmen)
The name can be misleading, but this ramen originated in Nagoya. The chef is Taiwanese – hence the name. It’s ramen noodles in a soy broth topped with ground pork, green onions, bean sprout, garlic, and spicy red peppers. It has become so popular that it has started appearing in restaurant menus across Nagoya.
We love anything spicy, and we usually cannot satisfy this craving in Japan. Eating Taiwan ramen was the best thing ever happening to us – kidding! But we love this ramen!
Where to eat: Misen is the birthplace of Taiwan Ramen.
We also decided to add a bonus item that is only available in Nagoya, which looks adorable!
Pyorin is a pudding shaped like a baby chick. (It’s adorable!) You make it by crumbling sponge cake over a pudding made from Nagoya Cochin eggs. This is then molded with vanilla mousse into the shape of baby chicks. The consistency of the mousse has to be exactly right to keep it from losing shape.
Where to eat: It’s handmade and can only be eaten at Nagoya station’s Cafe Janjyanu Rejie. Good luck!