Sendai in Miyagi is the largest city in the Tohoku region and is full of tasty food! Here are five specialty gourmet items you'll want to try in Sendai including items to eat for lunch or dinner, and sweets you may want to pick up while sightseeing.
1. Grilled Beef Tongue
A gourmet dish representative of Sendai is grilled beef tongue. It is a Sendai specialty of just the soft part of tongue thickly sliced and grilled. It is aged before cooking, so it is soft and has rich flavors.
A standard menu item at specialty restaurants is a set of grilled beef tongue, tail soup full of the umami flavors of beef tail, and mugimeshi (rice cooked with barley). Although the tongue is usually flavored with salt, some restaurants have miso flavor and other sauces as well.
Zundamochi, a regional sweet with a long history, is also a must eat. It is a dish of mochi with a paste of crushed boiled edamame and sugar called "zunda," and is characterized by a soft sweetness and chewy texture. It has a distinctive bright green color from the edamame.
Arrangements on the traditional sweet, such as zunda shakes made by mixing zunda into a vanilla shake or roll cakes made with zunda mixed with fresh cream, are available so give them a try as well.
3. Sasa Kamaboko
Sasa Kamaboko is kamaboko (a processed food made by adding salt to ground fish) in the shape of a bamboo grass leaf. It has a distinctive springy texture and is grilled to a golden color. It can be eaten as is, but is even better grilled or toasted to enhance the aroma.
At the main store of Abe Kamaboko located 10 minutes on foot from Sendai Station, you can experience grilling and eating the freshly grilled kamaboko (210 JPY each (incl. tax)) yourself. There is a variety of kamaboko, such as those with cheese or beef tongue, and those that have been smoked, so please try a few.
Harakomeshi is a regional dish made with natural fall salmon caught out in the seas near Miyagi from the fall to the winter. It is a bowl of the fatty "harasu" (belly meat) of fall salmon and ikura salmon roe marinated in soy sauce served on top of rice.
Although salmon meat and salmon roe on rice is a common type of seafood bowl, the harakomeshi is slightly different from standard seafood bowls. The harasu belly meat is cooked in a light dashi broth and the rice is cooked with the remaining broth. This is a luxurious dish of rice infused with dashi fragrance and umami flavors of salmon, harasu belly meat, and ikura salmon roe combining as one.
5. Sendai Imoni
Imonikai is a seasonal activity in Sendai in the fall. It is a long established custom of enjoying pot dishes on the banks of a river to deepen friendships with friends and family, and Sendai imoni is indispensable to it.
Sendai imoni is a pot dish of taro, pork, daikon radish, carrot, burdock root, negi scallion, konnyaku, etc. Although other prefectures in the Tohoku region also have regional dishes called imoni, the Sendai imoni is unique in that it includes pork and is flavored with miso. It is a specialty dish available in the fall, when taro roots are harvested.
Trying gourmet items only available at your destination is one of the joys of traveling. Please enjoy Sendai's regional dishes and experience its food culture.
*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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