What differences in regional food culture in Japan have you noticed whenever you visit various parts of the country?

  • -2

    japan_cynic

    Um...pretty much nothing.

  • 7

    SamuraiBlue

    The taste of Soy Sauce. Since I am Japanese my vote may not count but the taste of Soy Sauce can be divided into three areas. The East is much more darker in color and has a more strong fermented taste to it. The West has a lighter color compared to the East and is much more saltier. Kyushyu type are sweeter compared to the other two.

  • 5

    tideofiron

    I haven't noticed a real difference perhaps because I feel so attacked by this topic all the time. I'm so sick about hearing about food in Japan. The topic is so banal and yet inescapable here. Don't the Japanese have anything interesting to say beyond food? I watch TV at night and it's hours and hours of programming about food - so much so that one show blends into the other seamlessly. Perhaps if people didn't obssess so much over food, they could fix their broken economy, broken political system, broken education system, etc.

  • 2

    edojin

    Um ... actually there's a lot. It would take books just to cover everything.

    For example, in Okinawa pork is used in a lot of dishes. Up in Hokkaido, it's all kinds of seafood.

    Narrowing things down to one item ... let's look at cha-han, or fried rice. When I first came to Japan fried rice in the Tokyo area was really delicious. Then the gas burner system was changed (a stronger flame, I believe) and I couldn't get the same taste out of the cha-han. The higher heat seemed to change the flavor and quality of the rice. Traveling around Japan I discovered the original taste I was used to and loved ... and I found this in Osaka, Fukui and Akita cities. Moreover, the gyoza in these cities had the old-fashioned taste, too.

    On another dish, the basic ramen (noodles) dish varies throughout the nation. Perhaps as SamuraiBlue says above ... it's in the soy sauce. When traveling, be sure to try the local ramen dishes 'cause you might come across one that's much better than the one you already prefer. That's part of the fun of traveling in Japan ... the different foods you come across ...

  • 0

    Jimizo

    @Japancynic My first Japanese teacher ( a very well- travelled woman ) told me that the idea of 'different' in Japan can often mean slight variations on a theme. As Samuraiblue said, the differences in taste in what is essentially the same thing ( soy sauce ) can cause endless debates between people in different regions as to who has the superior cuisine. Salarymen debating soba/udon bore me to death, as do the idiotic food shows, but I suppose a heated debate between my father and uncle on the merits of various ales would be the same for many Japanese. Beer is beer, isn't it?

  • 1

    Lowly

    Tea. (what is standard for what you give your guests or what is put out in a restaurant as "saabisu")

    Shizuoka-Tokyo is green tea (and I think Nagoya too)

    Kyoto area is BanCha (not real bancha actually, but iri bancha)

    Other areas are often as not, Houjicha.

    I have heard most places in Okinawa have some sort of ukon-cha (turmeric, cures hangovers) as their standard tea, but I know not.

    I don't know what other parts of Japan serve, but mostly one of those first three.

    (of course you can get any tea anywhere, I am talking about the traditional tea served in each area).

  • 3

    JDB829

    Ramen and miso soup vary greatly by region.

  • -1

    avigator

    Okinawan soba tastes different from mainland soba. At first I thought the soup had some water after you wash dishes. But with time I learned to like the soki(pigs ribs), soba, and tebichi, (pig's feet), soba. There is a lot of frying too.

  • -1

    SamuraiBlue

    Lowly

    There are also cold Mugi cha or Barley tea, Soba cha or Buckwheat tea and kobu ume cha or Kelp tea with Ume flavoring.

    The flavor of miso is also diverse, more so than Soy sauce. Nagoya is most famous with there aka miso or red bean miso. They developed their own recipe like miso oden, miso katsu and miso dengaku. They also serve aka dashi to every meal and is thick as potage.

  • 1

    PeaceWarrior

    Miso is quite different.

    Tebasaki is very different from region to region.

    Sake and shochu (they have calories so I consider them food) are really different as well.

    I haven't seen too many places where they eat as many inago as in the mikawa area of Aichi.

    And Neko Mamma (ねこまっま) is really, really different.

  • -1

    Lowly

    Yes samurai blue, there are those too

    I was thinking more of regional teas, and in my experience, mugicha is more a summer thing regardless of location, and konbu etc are kind of a specialty drink of tourist places more than a regional standard.

    sobacha is great, I thinki it is a regional one, but I forget where.

    I could be wrong about all that tho.

    Miso, yes there are a million different kinds of miso, aren't there...

  • -1

    BertieWooster

    If you teach English and live somewhere like Tokyo or Sapporo where there is a mix of people from all over Japan, around New Year, ask them what kind of ozoni they have.

    There's a tremendous variety.

  • -1

    BertieWooster

    "Sake" in the Honshu area means "Nihonshu," which is translated incorrectly in most dictionaries as "Rice Wine." It's not a wine, it's actually a beer because it's made of grain.

    Wine is made from the single fermentation of plant juices (other than sparkling wine, which can be a double fermentation to create the carbonation). Sake is produced by multiple fermentation of rice, which is more similar to how beer is produced.

    http://wikipedia.atpedia.com/en/articles/s/a/k/Sake.html

    "Sake" in Izu Oshima or Hachijojima means "shochu," which is a literal translation of "brandy." "Sho" = "burned," and "chu" = "wine." The word "brandy" comes from the Dutch "brandewijn."

    "Sake" in Okinawa means "Awamori," which is, incidentally, made from Thai rice.

    Similarly, "soba" on the mainland and in Hokkaido refers to buckwheat noodles but "soba" in Okinawa is quite different, made of wheat and more like an udon or ramen than "nihon soba."

    Okinawa has its own culture and cuisine. It's very different to mainland Japan in so many ways. It would be great if it had independence!

  • 0

    SamuraiBlue

    The Okinawans also uses the most dried kelp or Konbu out of all the other prefecutures in Japan which I believe is not used anywhere else beside Japan.

    The Okinawans also enjoys sashimi.

    They adopted alot from around the regions that is for sure.

  • 0

    BertieWooster

    Lowly,

    I have heard most places in Okinawa have some sort of ukon-cha (turmeric, cures hangovers) as their standard tea, but I know not.

    Yes, Ukon-cha, known here as uchin-cha. I wouldn't say it's standard, though a lot of people drink it, often mixed with Awamori. There is also sanpin-cha, or Jasmine tea, and even goya-cha, which is surprisingly good and not at all bitter.

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