So what is Nagoya-meishi anyway?
Anyone new to Nagoya will immediately be confronted with questions about whether they like kishimen, misonikomi udon, misokatsu and other popular local dishes. Known in Japanese as Nagoya-meishi, items on the menu in Nagoya are distinctly different from many other local cuisines and are well known for being saltier, sweeter and heavier than most of what you will encounter elsewhere in the archipelago. So what ingredients make up Nagoya food?
Akamiso (red miso) is a primary ingredient in Nagoya cuisine. The most commonly used types of miso in Nagoya are aged for a long time, sometimes more than one year. During this process the color of the miso changes to red or even black. Akamiso is known for its thick, brothy, even beefy, taste and is normally quite salty as well. You will find akamiso employed in a variety of Nagoyan dishes.
Nagoya Cochin is a cross breed of Nagoya and Cochin chicken breeds. The birds are raised free-range and known for their meat is juicy and tender with a milder scent than other varieties of chicken. Nagoya Cochin is so highly regarded for its quality that it is often eaten as sashimi. Eating raw chicken may seem hazardous to Americans and other westerners who fear salmonella but the delicate flavor and texture toriwasa is famous.
Kishimen are flat wheat noodles which are slightly thicker and wider than the udon noodle. You can enjoy Kishimen cold or hot with a soy-based broth.
Popular Nagoya Dishes
Unlike many varieties of Japanese food which are light and valued for the combination of fresh and subtle flavors, Nagoya mesihi is a bit more determined – often employing fried elements as well as strong and salty flavors.
Tebasaki are chicken wings that are glazed and then deep-fried. Each shop will have their own unique flavor, but most often they are basted with a sweet soy sauce and sesame seeds. Move over Buffalo wings this stuff is yummy!
Misonikomi Udon refers to heavy udon noodles simmered in a red miso soup. Rich and hearty, the soup often includes chicken and an egg that cooks in the piping hot broth while you eat. Often you will see dishes that include Nagoya cochin chicken and eggs.
Misokatsu is a Nagoya dish featuring a juicy pork cutlet which is breaded and deep-fried. In Nagoya they serve this with a sauce made from a red miso paste. The dish is often eaten with rice and served with shredded cabbage.
Hitsumabushi is a local dish in which eel is grilled and soaked in a special sauce then served on rice. Hitsumabushi is traditionally eaten in three stages: First, mix the grilled eel and rice and eat. Second, add some of the condiments provided, usually spices, green onions and dried seaweed. Third, add the provided broth which adds a nice rich.