Rice isn’t the only thing you’ll find here! These treats aren’t simply delicious; they leave you feeling happy.
Niigata Prefecture is most known for its rice, which is Japan’s primary meal. There are many reasons for the smoothness of their rice wine (sake in the West): Japan’s top-quality Koshihikari rice, which you can definitely taste the difference in, is associated with this prefecture west of Tokyo.
Still, there are a plethora of native delicacies that will leave you with a lasting impact. Located on the coast of the Sea of Japan, Niigata is also a major producer of seafood and agricultural products. There’s no excuse not to visit Niigata and taste these five local favorites.
1. Noppe Stew
Niigatans are as accustomed to noppe as the rest of the country is to oden, a winter Japanese hotpot dish, at festivals, New Year’s festivities, and family dinners. Both noppe and oden use a soy-flavored dashi broth, therefore they are quite similar dishes. Noppe, on the other hand, isn’t sold at convenience stores like oden, maybe because different regions or even individual households prefer a more subtle flavour profile.
There are several types of noppe, but konjac potato jelly, carrot, lotus root, and shiitake mushroom are among the most popular. Wine and soy sauce combine to make this delicious broth. In some regions, taro or starch is used to thicken the soup, resulting in a distinct flavour. In addition to salmon roe, chicken and fish as well as potato and ginkgo nuts, there are other local characteristics.
Noppe can be enjoyed both hot and cold. As long as it brings back memories of your time in Niigata, it’s an excellent noppe.
Suruten can be found in the Joetsu section of the prefecture if you’re seeking for a variation to the conventional tempura dish. Squid tempura, or Suruten, is simply shredded squid tempura, except in Joetsu people use squid that has been salted overnight instead of fresh.
With that, a fuller aroma will fill your mouth with a burst of flavor. This dish can be prepared at home, served in an izakaya or as a side dish in a bento box at school. As a result, it is a popular choice for both adults and children.
Poppo-yaki should come in a larger package because one will simply not be enough to satisfy your appetite. Wheat flour and brown sugar are all that are needed to make poppo-yaki, a popular Japanese snack. Long, thin sticks like pancakes are all that’s left. Poppo-delicate yaki’s sweetness and bouncy texture will keep you reaching for more even if it doesn’t have a strong flavor. Indeed, for many children, simply squeezing the soft sticks is a source of delight!
Poppo-yaki is best enjoyed when it is still warm from the oven. It is possible to acquire it fresh at festival food stands, where they are served often. Poppo-yaki can be found at the Bandai Bus Center in Niigata City or at a variety of specialty stores during the quieter months of the year.
4. Hegi Soba Noodles
Hegi soba noodles, which are widespread in Japan, make the process of eating just a little bit easier.
Niigata’s Uonuma region’s most notable plant, funori seaweed, is used in the making of hegi soba, which has a “tsuru” texture. Tsuru-tsuru noodles are so silky that they may be swallowed whole without any chewing. Try it!
For those who aren’t already convinced, know that hegi soba has a little green hue and comes in the form of coils, making it an exceptional soba dish.
One of the most popular Japanese desserts is mochi, which is made by grinding rice into a paste. Sasadango, a Niigata specialty, is probably unknown to you. Sweet red bean paste and bamboo leaves are used to wrap the sasadango, a dark green yomogi (mugwort)-flavored confection filled with sweet red bean paste. Sweet and distinct yomogi fragrance awaits you as soon as you unwrap it. Most likely, you’ve seen them in the Niigata shinkansen stations, department stores, and gift shops.
So, how do you get started? The first step is to unwrap the bamboo. Then there’s the pleasant scent of the leaves… It’s time to eat! Traditional “Boy’s Day” food is now enjoyed all year long, despite the fact that the ceremony is only held once a year. There are also courses where you can learn how to make it yourself.