The Seto Inland Sea, which is Japan's largest inland sea, is blessed with a mild climate throughout the year. It is a popular tourist destination for the fantastic views of its numerous islands and its wonderful seafood. This article introduces some outstanding local dishes in the Setouchi area around the Seto Inland Sea. Be sure to enjoy the fabulous food made with freshly caught ingredients.
1. Kakioko (Okayama)
If you are in Okayama, be sure to try "kakioko," a specialty of the town of Hinase in Bizen City.
Kakioko are freshly grilled okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake) packed with fresh oysters that are full of the natural minerals from the Seto Inland Sea.
Take one bite and your mouth will be filled with the flavors of the ocean from the soft and plump oysters.
The rich juices of the oysters and the okonomiyaki sauce combine to create flavors that are out of this world.
The local restaurants really don't skimp out on the amount of oysters used in their kakioko!
2. Sanuki Udon (Kagawa)
"Sanuki udon" is a famous specialty dish of Kagawa Prefecture.
This particular type of udon (thick noodles) has become a popular dish representative of Japan that can be eaten quickly when you're short on time.
The main characteristic of Sanuki udon is the smooth yet chewy noodles. The noodles are made through a process called "ashibumi," where the dough is kneaded slowly by stomping on it, and as a result, you're left with a fantastic, springy and chewy texture.
Sanuki udon can be enjoyed in a variety of different ways: as "kamaage," where the boiled noodles are dipped into a sauce; as "bukkake," where sauce is poured over cold noodles; or as "kamatama," which is like an udon version of carbonara. One of the best parts about Sanuki udon is that you can find your own style for eating it!
3. Jakoten (Ehime)
"Jakoten" is a local food of the Nanyo area (Yawatahama/Uwajima) of Ehime Prefecture.
Jakoten is a type of kamaboko (steamed and seasoned fish paste) made by deep-frying fish paste made from fresh small fish. It's a nutritional food packed with calcium and DHA.
Jakoten from Yawatahama has small fish bones that are hardly noticeable. They have slightly different flavors from the firmer jakoten from Uwajima.
When you bite into a jakoten, which is made by filleting the fish that is then made into surimi (paste) and deep fried, you will get a burst of flavors of the fish and the soft yet chewy texture. Be sure to try freshly fried jakoten in Ehime!
4. Anagomeshi (Hiroshima)
"Anagomeshi" is a regional dish that has long been popular among the locals of Miyajima in Hiroshima Prefecture.
It is a donburi (rice bowl) dish with anago (conger eel), which is similar to unagi (eel). It's prepared as kabayaki (skin off and cooked with a soy-based sauce) and served on rice. Anago is less fatty than unagi and is characterized by a light, clean flavor.
This dish is made with Miyajima's specialty product of anago, which is cooked in its own fat and flavored with a sweet and savory sauce. It has the perfect combination of the nutty aroma unique to kabayaki and the juiciness of the soft meat. The flavors can be enhanced further with wasabi or sansho (strong Japanese pepper).
5. Kawara Soba (Yamaguchi)
"Kawara soba" is a local dish that has long been popular among the locals of Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
This soba (buckwheat noodles) dish is served on a heated roof tile, and comes with a dipping sauce.
It's really exciting to see your sizzling dish being brought to your table! The noodles are green chasoba (tea soba) made with matcha (powdered green tea), which are grilled on the jet black steaming hot tile until they are crispy. There are strips of yellow Japanese omelet served on top, giving it beautiful color. The dish has a fantastic, lemony flavor.
When traveling, you'll want to make sure to enjoy the regional cuisine along with the sights! If you are in the nature-rich Setouchi area, be sure to savor its unique, local flavors.
*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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