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Food to Have in the Winter! Five Select Specialty Foods and Ingredients that Represent the Gourmet City of Kanazawa

Eating great food is just as important as the sites when you are traveling. So this time, we introduce specialty cuisine and ingredients to try when you visit Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture. Kanazawa faces the Sea of Japan, so it has an abundance of great seafood and other ingredients.

1. Sushi

First, we introduce one of the most famous types of Japanese food, sushi. It is available throughout the country, but if you are in Kanazawa, you should definitely try the sushi there. The toppings are fresh seasonal seafood from the Sea of Japan. In particular, the fatty and umami-rich nodoguro (blackthroat seaperch) is a must try. It is a fish caught in the Sea of Japan, most famously from the coast of Ishikawa Prefecture. It is a high-end fish that is in season in the fall and winter. The kanburi (winter Japanese yellowtail) is also recommended. Kanburi refers to Japanese yellowtail before they spawn. At this stage, they are fatty yet toned and are at their most delicious.

2. Amaebi and Crab

Amaebi sweet shrimp and crab are also seafood that shouldn't be missed. The amaebi, which live in the Sea of Japan and around Hokkaido, are characterized by their sweetness that seems to melt in the mouth. They are also appreciated for their plump texture and are generally eaten raw as sashimi or on sushi. They are in season from early September through late February.
Crab fishing starts on November 6 every year. The male snow crab caught in Ishikawa Prefecture are referred to as Kanogani, and the female snow crab as Kobakogani, and both have sweet and rich flavors. The uchiko (unfertilized eggs inside the shell) of Kobakogani are delicacies popular among the locals. Kanogani are available till March 20, and Kobakogani till December 31.

3. Kanazawa Oden

Kanazawa is said to be the city where oden is eaten more than in any other city in Japan. Oden is a pot dish in which a variety of ingredients are cooked in seasoned dashi stock. Kanazawa oden is unique for the ingredients that go into it. It has Japanese babylon, akamaki (made by rolling paste made from white fish), and taro. Although oden is usually eaten in the winter in other parts of the country, in Kanazawa, it is enjoyed throughout the year both at home and in restaurants. However, Kanimen (the meat, innards, and unfertilized eggs of a whole Kobakogani that is picked and served back in the shell), which is a unique Kanazawa oden ingredient, is only available in the winter, so winter is the best time to have oden in Kanazawa.


4. Jibuni

Jibuni is a dish that is representative of Kanazawa's regional cuisine. Ingredients such as duck (or chicken or oysters) sprinkled with flour, sudare-fu (wheat gluten with a unique texture and shape) that originates in Kanazawa, shiitake mushrooms and lily bulb are simmered in dashi stock flavored with soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and sake. The meat is sprinkled with flour to lock in its umami flavors and create a viscous sauce. The wasabi that is added at the end when the dish is plated goes perfectly with the sweetness of the meat and the rich sauce. This is a dish best enjoyed in the winter, when duck is in season.

5. Toriyasai Miso Nabe

Among the various nabe pot dishes that warm the body in the cold winter, the Ishikawa specialty is toriyasai miso nabe. Toriyasai miso is a flavored miso that is popular in Ishikawa Prefecture. It was commercialized by Matsuya, when the pot dish it served in its restaurants became popular, and is now a familiar flavor to anyone living in Ishikawa Prefecture. Its appeal is the rich flavors that enhance various ingredients such as meat, fish, vegetables, mushrooms, and udon noodles. It is available in supermarkets, so if you are staying somewhere with a kitchen, you may want to try making it yourself. You can also enjoy it at the Katsura location of Matsuya (500 JPY for a single serving) in Kanazawa City.

Matsuya Katsura Branch

I 32-4 Katsura-machi, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa

We introduced a variety of foods ranging from cuisine to enjoy fresh seafood to items popular among the locals. We hope this article will help when you debate what to eat in Kanazawa in the winter.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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