If You Can’t Decide What to Buy, Try These! 5 Delicious Souvenirs from Tohoku
Tohoku is a place that is filled with so many tasty items, so you may find it quite difficult to choose souvenirs to take home with you. Here are five recommended treats that were handpicked from a long list of famous confections and gourmet dishes from this region.
1. Kamome no Tamago
Kamome no Tamago (prices start at 453 JPY (incl. tax) for a 4-piece set), by Saito Seika, is a confectionery from Iwate that looks like the egg of a “kamome” (seagull) that leisurely flies above the blue waters of Sanriku in Tohoku.
This dessert is characterized by its utterly cute appearance, as the oval-shaped sponge cake bun filled with yellowish sweet bean paste and then coated in white chocolate definitely looks like an egg. The bean paste filling made from white beans has a soft palate. You will love its mild sweetness and the richness of egg yolks.
2. Hagi no Tsuki
Hagi no Tsuki (900 JPY for a 5-piece set) of Kasho Sanzen is the classic souvenir from Sendai. The prefectural flower of Miyagi is Miyagi no Hagi (Thunberg's bushclover) so this pastry was created in the image of the moon (“tsuki” in Japanese) floating in the night sky of Miyagino that is carpeted with bush clovers (“hagi” in Japanese) that are in bloom.
This is a confection that is made with soft sponge cake filled with custard cream. It is famous for its airy texture and milky sweetness. Further, it comes in a charming packaging that will make you feel the Japanese vibe, as it depicts a woman clad in a kimono against a full moon and a bush clover field.
Mamadoru (prices start at 432 JPY (incl. tax) for a 5-piece set), created by the Fukushima-based confectionery shop Sanmangoku, is characterized by its mild taste that has not changed all these years. The name “Mamadoru” is Spanish for “a child drinking milk”. It is a baked treat of dough made with butter, filled with milky anko (bean paste).
The Ecusson Pie (prices start at 648 JPY (incl. tax) for a 5-piece set), a pie with walnut and anko filling, is also recommended. This aromatic baked pastry has been a constant bestseller for Sanmangoku since it was released in the market. There are also boxes containing a mix of Mamadoru and Ecusson Pie (prices start at 1,080 JPY (incl. tax)).
4. Kitakata Ramen
Ramen is known as the gourmet delight of the city of Kitakata in Fukushima. While the standard variant of this ramen is the one with the robust soup made with soy sauce from the brewery town of Kitakata, there are also shops that serve seafood-based and salt-based soups, indicating diversity in its flavors. This ramen is distinguished by the use of full-bodied, thick curly noodles called Hirauchi Jukusei Taka Suimen (which literally means “aged, flat noodles with a lot of water”).
This ramen is sold in a set of noodles and soup in many shops, including Genraiken that is said to be the origin of Kitakata Ramen, and Kurakuratei that is run by a brewery of miso and soy sauce. You can also find them at souvenir shops and other places.
Sample price: 1,188 JPY (incl. tax) for a 4-piece set at Genraiken
5. Sanriku Kaihozuke
Sanriku Kaihozuke (prices start at 3,600 JPY (incl. tax) for 350g) of Nakamuraya is an exquisite product that has become a hot topic of discussion even in the Japanese media. Arranged like small boats floating in the Sanriku sea and the glistening water that is lit up by the morning sun, this is a dish of pickled seafood that recreates the fruits of the local sea against the backdrop of the Sanriku coast.
This pickled delight uses local abalone from Iwate that is known as the best in Japan in terms of quality and catch volume, mekabu (the ruffled sprout of wakame seaweed) from Sanriku that is characterized by its crunchy and sticky texture, and ikura (salted salmon roe) that has a rich, delicious taste. The addition of abalone softened through boiling to the soy sauce-based pickled mekabu and ikura makes this dish the perfect accompaniment to white rice and alcohol.
Found anything you like? The above list contains a wide array of products, from pastries whose designs are inspired by beautiful sceneries, up to items containing the bounties of the sea that are the pride of Tohoku’s Sanriku area. All you have to do now is choose the souvenir that matches your taste and budget.
*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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