Overview

No matter how delectable the marbled flesh is, Hyogo prefecture is more than just its internationally famous Kobe beef. The prefecture is also home to retro-cultured egg battered dumpling balls, a fresh tasting hotpot dish that adds a tang to winter heartiness while one of the region's ultimate beer foods is also a harbinger of spring. Here is a simple guide to some of the regional cuisine of Hyogo.

Kobe beef

Kobe beef, about as famous a food as you can get, is the representative high-end meat of Japan. The succulent flesh of the Tajima strain of Japanese Black cattle is so highly regulated that technically it can only be served in Japan. The meat's tenderness, flavour and marbled texture is particularly well appreciated served as a gently grilled steak.

Kobe beef (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/kalleboo/6816397673/in/photolist-bokPxP-chC4o-chC4e-gRZ8M-4AyDht-2aF8Ys-2aFadh-J1fdD-ot8Wba-uaZP-9AKAMT-3ht5BG-ezbAuy-9Ynhz-6Aedx-6i22cX-52Ek5q-GfKCXE-6vumJu-6i6axq-nTKH8F-6i6apq-z8RU1A-bokPFk-3bcBN5-3b87tD-byhT1J-3b87Ce-6Ywu3t-nSmkNk-6i6arN-3eUg5q-aVAWqn-59ezY9-6i6aAE-9A4tF6-7sueZD-6i6auA-aVAWf2-9A7rMY-6i228x-6i21UH-qJ5r1y-9A7se3-4obnZX-4AdtbD-srN9b-aQk5fM-6i22mD-6i6aJY" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Karl Baron / CC BY 2.0</a>)
Kobe beef (Photo: Karl Baron / CC BY 2.0)

Akashiyaki

The origin of its more famous takoyaki cousin, akashiyaki are Hyogo's balls of dumpling happiness . Commonly known as tamagoyaki in Akashi City where they originated, these retro dumplings are actually made from egg. The ensuing richness in flavour combined with a gentle texture become moments of magic when dipped into the accompanying bonito-based broth.

Akashiyaki (Photo: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Akashiyaki_Tamagoyaki.JPG" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">Midori / CC BY-SA 3.0</a>)
Akashiyaki (Photo: Midori / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Himeji oden

Hyogo's take on this earthy winter hotpot dish, Himeji oden is defined by its use of a ginger soy sauce as a dressing or dip. The deep down-to-earth flavouring of the dish's usual radish, potato, konjac and tofu ingredients are freshened up with the cutting flavour of the sauce. Eaten all year round, Himeji oden is a staple in Hyogo.

Himeji oden (Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/travelstar/3915832376/in/photolist-6Y2Exj-EXxzD5" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">hirotomo t / CC BY-SA 2.0</a>)
Himeji oden (Photo: hirotomo t / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ikanago no kugini

A traditional dish, ikanago no kugini are tiny sand eel simmered in a sauce of sugar, soy, mirin and ginger. A habringer of spring, the fish can only be harvested for about a month so starting in late February. A staple in Hyogo, ikanogo no kugini are perfect on a bed of rice or with a cup of Japanese sake.

Ikanago no kugini (Photo: <a href="http://photozou.jp/photo/show/244672/124116599" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener nofollow">MIDTAIL / CC BY-ND 2.5</a>)
Ikanago no kugini (Photo: MIDTAIL / CC BY-ND 2.5)