Overview

The cuisine of Aomori prefecture is known for having some of the best tuna in the entire world. Beyond that though, a cheap but satisfying dish of beef and onions sits alongside a number of hotpot stews that are intimately connected with the prefecture's famously harsh winters. Here is a simple guide to some of the regional cuisine of Aomori.

Maguro-don

Fleshy and fatty, Aomori's maguro-don melts in the mouth with the arguably the world's best tuna meat. Sourced from the waters of the Tsugaru Strait using traditional fishing techniques that help to protect the flesh, this famous tuna is popularly served on bowls of steamed rice to the delight of all lovers of tuna.

Maguro-don (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/kuruman/9771559966" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Kuruman / CC BY 2.0</a>)
Maguro-don (Photo: Kuruman / CC BY 2.0)

Kenojiru

Kenojiru is a miso-based soup filled with neatly diced root vegetables like daikon radish, carrots and burdock as well as deep-fried tofu. Like much of Aomori cuisine, the flavour of a pot of kenojiru continues to improve after multiple reheatings, making it a perfectly sustainable - and healthy - meal in the middle of the region's rugged winters.

Kenojiru (Photo: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%E5%AE%B6%E5%BA%AD%E3%81%A7%E4%BD%9C%E3%81%A3%E3%81%9F%E3%80%81%E3%81%91%E3%81%AE%E6%B1%81.jpg" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">EAT&ART TARO / CC BY-SA 4.0</a>)
Kenojiru (Photo: EAT&ART TARO / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Barayaki

A dish of beef rib and onions, barayaki is seasoned with a sweet & spicy soy sauce and grilled on a sizzling hot plate. Said to have originated as a way of making use of the cheap beef that was available in the 1950s, barayaki is a very easy meal to prepare and with its delicious flavour and meaty texture, easy to eat as well.

Barayaki (Photo: <a href="https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E3%83%95%E3%82%A1%E3%82%A4%E3%83%AB:%E5%8D%81%E5%92%8C%E7%94%B0%E3%83%90%E3%83%A9%E7%84%BC%E3%81%8D_P1290019.jpg" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">あおもりくま / CC BY-SA 3.0</a>)
Barayaki (Photo: あおもりくま / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Jappajiru

Making good use of the leftover parts of fish, particularly cod, jappajiru features the fish's head, bones and other bits and pieces of flesh mixed in with plenty of vegetables like cabbage and leek. Seasoned with salt and miso, and simmered for a long period of time, jappajiru is mentioned in local proverbs and is the perfect dish to warm the locals from the inside out.

Jappa jiru (Photo: <a href="http://aomorinoarukikata.hatenablog.com/entry/2019/01/16/081152" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Image by ミスターイッチー (id:the-1taizee60h8)</a>)
Jappa jiru (Photo: Image by ミスターイッチー (id:the-1taizee60h8))