Despite having been told about the delicacies of Nagoya many times in the past, I couldn’t really remember what any of them were as I made my way to Nagoya via the cheaper three hour local train ride from Osaka. Thankfully, a quick google search brought me to a site explaining what the essential local dishes were and I was adamant to try as many as I could during my short time in the city.
No sooner had my train pulled into Nagoya Station and I was meeting up with my ex-student Yuki for the first time since March last year. My capsule hostel (below) was just a few minutes walk from the station so we first went there and I checked in, dumped my bag and headed straight back out to sample some local food and drinks.
Not too far from Guest House Wasabi (under 2000 yen for the night) were plenty of places to spend a very rare Friday night out for me. Yuki and went to a couple of places and we tried a range of culinary delights including miso katsu (deep fried pork cutlet topped with red miso) which is probably the must-have dish. It was so good that we ordered a few more!
I’m no stranger to tebasaki (deep fried spicy chicken wings) and there is a knack to eating them and removing the chicken from the bones in one smooth swipe. The other picture below is of teba-gyoza which are stuffed chicken wings and by the time we had eaten all of that lot I was tired of the miso taste and craving something else.
To be fair, I think anyone could have eaten the aforementioned dishes as they’re quite gaijin-friendly! We moved on to another restaurant down the road which had a good atmosphere and the first two dishes we had there were slightly more daring. Both were much better than their appearance may suggest. The first one was doteni (beef simmering in red miso) and that was followed by chanja (spicy cod innards) which not only looked like Korean kimuchi but also tasted like it too.
Taiwan maze-soba (dried noodles) was our final dish and boy was that spicy!! Luckily we had a flowing supply of beer and other alcoholic drinks on hand to help wash it down.
Yuki wasn’t ready to finish the night there and wanted to go to The Hub which is a popular chain of “British-style” pubs dotted around Japan. It is perhaps a little ironic that the only similarity between real British pubs and the Japanese version is that they sell alcohol! It may be different to usual Japanese izakaya but it’s feeling and atmosphere is still quintessentially Japanese.
Once I’d returned from scouting out the ‘Mr Baseball‘ (1992) filming locations, I met up once again with Yuki the following afternoon for some miso nikomi udon (udon noodles stewed in a red miso based broth) at a local restaurant close to the Osu-Kannon Temple area. The set seen below cost around 900 yen. Miso is very much an integral part of many Nagoya dishes and this particular one also included chicken, egg, spring onions, mushrooms and deep-fried tofu all served in a nabe-style hot-pot.
It was nice enough and is probably the normal regular style for locals but I am such a fan of the regular udon which I eat in Tokyo that the miso version just doesn’t compare. I wanted to try ankake spaghetti (thick pan-fried noodles topped with vegetables and red sausages) too but that will have to wait till next time I visit. I did have one final food item on the Shinkansen (bullet train) going back to Tokyo that evening and that was tenmusu which is basically just a rice ball containing shrimp tempura.
Click here to read ‘Sightseeing In Nagoya’