Food&Drink in Ibaraki
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Discovering Natto in Ibaraki
- Natto, that distinctly-perfumed slurry of fermented soybeans that so many Japanese people start their day with, is not a recent invention, but for most of its history, it was a local product produced in small batches and packed in rice straw. The way that we enjoy natto now—dumped from a Styrofoam carton and hit with dashi, soy sauce or mustard from plastic packets—is a fairly recent innovation. Natto producers in Ibaraki Prefecture provide a glimpse into the past and a hint at the future of the beans. Discovering Natto in Ibaraki Industrial natto is to wara natto as nacho cheese is to a wedge of ripe Bleu d'Auvergne. The Mito Natto Company packs their natto in the traditional way: rice straw. The unique bacterial life that thrive in natto and give it its unique texture and dank aroma seem to be stronger in wara natto. The Mito Natto Company operates a store at EXCEL department store (find it in the EXCEL South Building, on the third floor), connected to Mito Station, selling the wara natto and their other products. Discovering Natto in Ibaraki Tengu Natto is another local natto institution, located not far from Mito Natto’s shop at Mito Station. The site still operates a factory producing wara natto but the real attraction is the Natto Exhibition Hall (admission is free and it’s open 9am to 5:30pm) which lays out the history of natto production in the area and educates visitors on the work that goes into producing wara natto. Discovering Natto in Ibaraki ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
- 9. March. 2018
What to Eat in Ibaraki
- Ibaraki, like other global destinations for food and drink, has a rich rural history with villages making artisanal products, deep dark soil that produces excellent produce, and a long stretch of coastline with a long tradition of fishing. Entire volumes could be written about the dining culture and local products of Ibaraki but here are a few to get you started. Natto Tonkatsu at Tonkatsu Hakkai Natto Tonkatsu at Tonkatsu Hakkai The district of Kasaharacho in Mito City is home to an unassuming shrine to two local products: natto and pork. Tonkatsu Hakkai’s modest dining room (open every day of the week, 11am to 2pm and then 5:30pm to 10:30pm) serves tonkatsu, a fried cutlet made with locally-produced Rose Pork, topped with local natto. Attention to detail is paramount for the team at Hakkai: the frying oil is a proprietary blend and the even the aging of the breadcrumbs to coat the cutlets is considered. For those that would balk at a mound of aromatic, stringy natto—the combination with tonkatsu is about perfect: the earthiness of natto provides a pleasant complimentary flavor, and the heat, oil and crunch works with the unique texture of natto. The natto tonkatsu set meals are in the 2,150 to 2,250 yen range, and there are plenty of other non-natto options, like garlic butter, cheese or house-made curry! Shirasu Donburi at Oarai Kaisen Market Shirasu Donburi at Oarai Kaisen Market Oarai's beaches and the photogenic Isosaki Shrine have made the area a day trip destination, but many are now making the trip to sample the seafood at Oarai Kaisen Market. The fish market gives a preview of what's on offer at the nearby restaurants. The shop, located near the market, is known for seasonal seafood and its rice bowls. Shirasu Donburi at Oarai Kaisen Market There’s no better choice than the fresh shirasu donburi. Fresh shirasu—whitebait, incredibly fresh, tasting of nothing but the Pacific and netted not far from the dining room—is laid on top of a bed of shredded omelet, grated ginger, green onion, and piping hot rice. For less committed shirasu fans, the kama-age shirasu donburi has the whitebait boiled in brine. Both will set you back, before tax, about 1000 yen. Pancakes at Sea Birds Café Pancakes at Sea Birds Café Sea Birds Cafe in Hitachi is a great excuse to enjoy the Sejima Kazuyo-designed Hitachi Station and its unique view of the Pacific. The cafe sits in the Free-corridor, a steel and glass passage cantilevered out over an oceanside cliff. The pancakes at the cafe are particularly worthy: dense yet fluffy in a way that seems to defy physics. Make a note of the time as the pancakes are only available on the lunch menu (11:30am to 2pm). Tofu Donuts at the Hina Matsuri Tofu Donuts at the Hina Matsuri The Hina Matsuri is the perfect time to stroll the streets of Makabe in Sakuragawa. The preserved buildings of old Makabe become an exhibit of the antique dolls that give the festival its name. These delicate tofu donuts are a great way to showcase a local product and another reason to visit Makabe during Hina Matsuri. Sweet Potato Products in Daimaruya Sweet Potato Products in Daimaruya Ibaraki Prefecture produces the bulk of Japan’s harvest of sweet potatoes and they come in all shapes and sizes. Beside the Nakaminato Fish Market in Hitachinaka (easily reached from Mito City or Oarai), Daimaruya specializes in the humble tuber. The dehydrated imo is the best form to appreciate the dozens of varieties that range in flavor from cotton candy sweet to nutty and dank. The colorful names and descriptions call to mind a craft beer menu. The shop also sells local potato shochu and sweet potato jam. Sweet Potato Gelato from Camelot, Daimaruya Sweet Potato Gelato from Camelot, Daimaruya The Camelot gelato counter in Daimaruya offers a revolving selection of potato-based ice cream. The gelato is not an afterthought and is made on a professional setup and is probably the best way for a dilettante to see what all the fuss is about with sweet potatoes. Instead of the generic sweet potato flavor that other shops offer, Camelot’s gelati are each made from single, local varieties. ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
- 9. March. 2018
- Other Coffee Shop
- Ibaraki Pref. Kashimashi Hirai 1051-1
- Sova Tea Koshiji
- Soba / Udon
- Ibaraki Pref. Hitachiotashi Inagichou 1395-4
はじめに、頼んだそばについて。 これは、とても美味しい！ 限定そばは、水そばでも、麺つゆでもどちらも美味しい！ ただ、店内に通されて、オーダーをとってから、実際に食事が出されるまで約一時間半。極めて長い待ち時間。厨房が小さいのか、メニューが多すぎるのか、段取りがわるいのか、追加注文した人のオーダーを先に処理するのかわからないが兎に角時間がかかる。 時間を気にする方は、このお店の開店と同時に入れ...
- Factory of Confections and Dreams
- Japanese Confectionery
- Ibaraki Pref. Mitoshi Migawachou 2139-5
- Gallery & Cafe Ichinokura
- Other Coffee Shop
- Ibaraki Pref. Yukishi Yuki 12-2
- La Cote d’Azurl Main Shop
- Ibaraki Pref. Tsukubashi Higashiarai 19-26
Ibaraki Main Areas
Just a stone’s throw from Tokyo, Ibaraki is a coastal prefecture that has mastered juxtapositions, where old shrines meet new scientific discoveries and traditional gardens are frequented by the inventors of some of the newest technology. Head to Mito City's Kairakuenーone of Japan's Three Great Gardensーin spring to experience the cellestial blooming of fantastic cherry blossoms at the annual sakura festival.
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