Overview

The cuisine of Aichi prefecture is a huge wake up call for anyone imagining that Japanese food is somehow bland and lacking in taste. The number one flavour here is undoubtedly miso and this marvellous ingredient can be found in much of the prefecture's cooking. Eel dishes, pork cutlets, udon noodles and even beef or pork offal all feature. Here is a simple guide to some of the regional cuisine of Aichi.

Hitsumabushi

Aichi's hitsumabushi eel on rice dish differs from the more common unagi-don. Here, the eel is sliced finer and the serving dish is always round. Different condiments are included and as the meal progresses, the method of eating changes: when about a third of your eel remains, your transfer it to a bowl, pour dashi soup or green tea over it and continue eating. Divine doesn't begin to describe the result.

Hitsumabushi (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/28012204@N03/3359188348" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">dreamcat115 / CC BY-SA 2.0</a>)
Hitsumabushi (Photo: dreamcat115 / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Miso Katsudon

Thick pork cutlets, deep fried in batter and bread crumbs are a standard dish loved throughout the nation. Miso katsudon takes the famous dish a step further by then coating its cutlets with an incredibly earthy and satisfying miso-based sauce. One of Aichi prefecture's soul foods, miso katsudon is as scrumptious as it is popular.

Miso katsudon (adjusted contrast) (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/usgo55/3002510552/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Go Ikeda / CC BY 2.0</a>)
Miso katsudon (adjusted contrast) (Photo: Go Ikeda / CC BY 2.0)

Miso Nikomi Udon

The prefecture's love affair with miso continues with miso nikomi udon. Udon noodles are simmered in a miso-based broth along with other hearty ingredients including cabbage, onions, mushrooms carrots, fish cake and chicken. Savoury and flavoursome, miso nikomi udon is one of the most satisfying comfort foods out there and a dream food come winter time.

Miso nikomi udon (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ayustety/3534872261" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">ayustety / CC BY-SA 2.0</a>)
Miso nikomi udon (Photo: ayustety / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Doteni

A popular izakaya-style pub food, doteni sees beef intestines or even pork offal simmered for a long time in red miso. Don't be put off by the ingredients, this dish is scarily addictive with its warm and surprisingly sweet flavouring and usually features daikon radishes, egg and other tasty inclusions.

Doteni (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/u-suke/6599886233/in/photolist-b4d9eX-UTCZvP-UvbY3b-22hQD7m" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Yusuke Kawasaki / CC BY 4.0</a>)
Doteni (Photo: Yusuke Kawasaki / CC BY 4.0)