Tohoku Feature

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Visitors seeking culinary excellence and diversity will not be disappointed in Tohoku. Restaurants in the region serve the freshest assortment of seafood, in sushi, sashimi, grilled, broiled, and boiled versions, as well as a bounty of seaweed and generous offerings of wild mountain vegetables (sansai) and mushrooms (kinoko) in season. Hinaijidori, or special local chicken, is a year-round treat and so is the marbled, exquisitely tender beef known as Yonezawa-gyu—very expensive, but well worth it!

In Sendai, don't be afraid to try the local delicacy—grilled or braised beef tongue, gyutan, which tastes like a juicy and less chewy version of well-seasoned beef jerky. In Morioka, try the reimen, or chewy ramen-type egg noodles served in a big bowl with a slice of beef, a helping of kimchi, half a boiled egg, slices of cucumber, and a large wedge of watermelon—all served cold. In Akita, locals are fond of ina-niwa udon noodles that are flatter, whiter, and more tender than the usual udon. In Kakunodate, sakura, or cherry blossoms, are mixed into the flour, and the result is a mildly sweet noodle, as edible as it is pink! Don't miss the truly unique kiritanpo (hot pot) made with chicken, local vegetables, and distinctive tubular rice cakes that have been formed and cooked onto sticks of bamboo or cedar. Yamagata has its distinctive rounded, chewy soba and incomparable beef. The local sake is uniformly excellent throughout the region, thanks to the quality rice and water.

Updated: 2014-02-06

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