Even in Japan, Nagoya has a particularly unique culture. Here is a careful selection of 5 recommended souvenirs that you must buy! This selection can boast of being available only in Nagoya.
1. Tsukete Miso Kakete Miso (Nakamo)
“Tsukete Miso Kakete Miso” is a highly recommended product from Nakamo, a miso company with 180 years of history. Just as the name suggests, you can add it to of any kind of food and it’s delicious. Add the sweet and savory sauce, which is made from a full-bodied red miso base, onto cutlets for Nagoya’s famous miso katsu (fried pork covered in red miso sauce), add to grilled meat, or mix with mayonnaise as a dip. It’s an all-purpose sauce that goes well with anything. Miso is made with the same fermentation process like butter and cheese, so they have a great compatibility. You can use it as a sauce for a dish like eggplant gratin because it also goes perfectly with Western-style dishes! It’s such a popular product that there isn’t a person in Nagoya who doesn’t know about it. Why not try it for yourself? You can buy it at the food sections in the basements of department stores, at supermarkets and convenience stores. (350 JPY for about 400g)
2. Tezukuri Doubutsuen (Namikoshiken)
When you open the packaging decorated with adorable animals, you’re sure to say “So cute!” without thinking and crack a smile. Inside the box, there’s an assortment of 12 tiny, animal-shaped steamed buns. The two kinds of filling inside the buns are anko and chocolate. The best-before date is 10 days unopened from the manufacture date so it’s quite short, but you can keep it in room temperature. In addition to the Tezukuri Doubutsuen 12 pack (1,782 JPY (incl. tax)), there is the Tezukuri Suizokukan 12 pack (1,782 JPY (incl. tax)) done in sea creatures, and the Nyanko Mamire 6 pack (972 JPY (incl. tax)) for cat lovers. They're are all sold as part of the series. These cute animals that are almost too cute to eat will no doubt make a great souvenir. In addition to the Namikoshiken main branch, you can buy these at Chunichi Building, JR Nagoya Takashimaya, Kintetsu Pass’e, and Chubu International Airport Gift and Souvenirs Building.
3. Nikomi Udon (Yamamotoya Honten)
One of the representative foods of Nagoya is Yamamotoya Honten Miso Nikomi Udon. It’s not the udon in a clear broth that you normally find in Japan; instead, thick, firm noodles in an original, dark miso makes up the Nikomi Udon. The noodles are so hard that some people who eat it for the first time say that the noodles are still raw. When you eat at the store, the noodles are served in a still gently bubbling donabe (earthenware pot) and the way to eat it is by putting the noodles in the donabe cover to cool. You can also make it using the pots you have at home so don’t worry. For souvenirs, instead of just regular raw noodles, the Hannama Nikomi Udon (6 meal servings for 3,564 (incl. tax)), with its long shelf life and delicious taste that is similar to raw noodles, is much better. You can buy it at the Yamamotoya Honten branches around Nagoya Station, Sakae, and other areas.
*Image is of the Miso Nikomi Udon that you can eat at Yamamoto Honten.
4. Kishimen Pie (Aoyagi Sohonke)
This is a pie made to look like Nagoya’s famous kishimen (wide, flat noodles) but it’s not made with actual kishimen. High quality ingredients are carefully weaved into long and narrow kishimen shapes then stretched, twisted, and baked. It’s a simple and delicious pie with a flaky texture and gentle sweetness that spreads through your mouth. It’s light and has a long shelf life making it a perfect souvenir.
Furthermore, the easy to share packaging is definitely a plus. Another reason for its popularity is the low price (1,080 JPY (incl. tax) for 20). Although the name Aoyagi Sohonke brings to mind their famous Uiro (a type of sweet made from rice powder), Kishimen Pie is recommended as an easy souvenir. You can buy these in at KIOSKs in Nagoya as well as the surrounding suburbs, department stores, and airports.
5. Tebasaki Karaage (Furaibo)
One of Nagoya’s representative foods is tebasaki karaage (fried chicken wings). There are a ton of tebasaki restaurants but the first to start selling fried tebasaki is said to be Furaibo, a restaurant that is popular with the locals. The crispy outside and juicy meat inside goes particularly well with the sweet and savory sauce. The added spice of the salt and pepper plus the sesame seeds are to die for. From adults to children, it’s extremely popular. One portion of food with 5 pieces is 486 JPY but you’ll definitely be able to eat a 2 person portion in no time! Perfect as a snack, a meal, or to eat with beer. Fried tebasaki is held in one hand and all the meat is pulled from the bone at once. The way to eat it is posted on their homepage (http://www.furaibou.com/howto.htm) so take a look at it. You can eat in at the restaurant but there are also takeout shops for those who missed their chance to eat so it can be a souvenir. This is one Nagoya food that you have to taste. *Please note: this product doesn’t keep well so buy it the day you return home and dig in when you arrive.
Nagoya's food and souvenirs had their own unique development in Nagoya and won’t be found in any other region. You just might eat and yell “dera uma!” (“very delicious” in Nagoya dialect).
*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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