Nagoya is the birthplace of the great 16th-century national unifiers Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, as well as the home base of Toyota, a company known around the world for its “kaizen” business philosophy. When talking about Japan’s history, Nagoya is impossible to overlook.
The area is developing its own individual culture of cuisine—and it’s only two hours from Tokyo by bullet train.
Nagoya is full of famous tourist attractions, but let’s first take a look at its fascinating foods.
Ogura toast, which is now available in convenience stores around the country, first emerged as a staple of Nagoya’s cafes.
It’s made with piping hot toast spread with plenty of margarine, with ogura red bean paste heaped on top.
The saltiness of the margarine and sweetness of the ogura create a wonderful harmony that spreads through the mouth.
Flattened udon noodles with a rich soup, made of soy sauce base and bonito stock, and typically topped with kamaboko, aburaage-fried tofu, spinach, and bonito flakes: Kishimen has become known throughout Japan as a famous food of Nagoya thanks to the standing eateries in its stations.
A major contribution to its popularity came in 1964, when the opening of the bullet train gave people from around the country a chance to visit Nagoya, and they sampled the dish as they came.
At first glance, ankake spaghetti looks like it’s covered in a Chinese sweet vinigar sauce, but it seems that this sauce was made by tailoring meat sauce to a Nagoyan taste.
Super-thick noodles twine through a slightly spicy sauce infused with the rich, savory taste of the meat and vegetables. It’s a slightly mysterious flavor that can easily become a habit, and the savory quality of the ingredients shines through.
Sugakiya is the name of a chain, but there may not be a single person born and raised in Nagoya who hasn’t eaten Sugakiya ramen. It’s no exaggeration to call it Nagoya’s soul food.
It’s a taste you can’t experience in Tokyo.
Tenmusu is a kind of onigiri (rice ball) with small tempura-fried shrimp inside.
They’re smaller than regular onigiri, meaning that you can eat as many as you want, and making them a priceless treasure for snacks outside of regular mealtimes.
The tempura uses nicely-textured Akasha shrimp, and the fluffy batter is delicious.
One of Nagoya’s representative foods, miso-nikomi udon is a staple among staples of soybean miso cooking.
Nagoya natives love this hot udon all year round, regardless of the season.
The soup mixes a broth of bonito and shiitake mushrooms with soybean miso, producing a full-bodied fragrance of miso and a rich flavor.
The fusion of red miso sauce and tonkatsu in this quintessential Nagoya dish symbolizes Nagoya’s culture of collaboration.
The salty-sweet miso sauce is surprisingly simple and mild.
Another model food of Nagoya is hitsumabushi, born in the key eel-producing territory of Aichi.
The way to eat it is special too. The first section is eaten as-is, enjoying the taste of the eel.
The second section is mixed with condiments like wasabi, scallions, and seaweed to accent the flavor.
Finally, the third section is enjoyed with a light chazuke broth.
Delicious, cheap, and quick, “tebasaki” chicken wings have spread around the country at a remarkable pace.
Unusually for fried chicken, no batter is used, and the wings are fried with a light coating of seasoning. Then, salty-sweet sauce, pepper, and sesame seeds are applied. The recipe’s merit lies in its simplicity.