Hungry? If you’re in the Akita Shirakami area, try these new menu items…

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Hungry? If you’re in the Akita Shirakami area, try these new menu items…

The Shirakami area is famous within Akita prefecture for a variety of ingredients including junsai (water shield), negi (green onion), awabi (abalone), buta nankotsu (pork cartilage), and more.

With a focus on using local ingredients, six restaurants came together to create Kamashi Meshi. In the local Akita dialect, kamasu means “to mix.” Paired with meshi (food), these hearty dishes are packed with flavors that meld together and can be transformed with the addition of original sauces and broths. See the masterminds behind each dish and learn more below.

Starting December 18, you can try them all!

For the cafe lover…

Cafe Dake owner, Takeda-san

Cafe Dake’s Kamashi Meshi pulled pork rice bowl is a must. The tender, sweet barbecue balances well with the bitterness of the Shirakami negi and watercress. Mix in a poached egg to give it a bit of a glaze, and stir in a few spoonfuls of the curry broth to elevate it to a surprisingly good flavor combo you didn’t know you were missing.

Cost: 1,000 yen
Cafe Dake:
Hours: Mon.~ Sun. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Closed on Tues. and Wed.)
*Update: Cafe Dake closed permanently in November 2022.

For the meat lover…

You can’t go wrong with Shushokusaien Iki’s Kamashi Meshi bibimbap. This bowl features three of the Shirakami area’s premier meats including Tsurugata Gyu (beef), buta nankotsu (pork cartilage), and Shirakami Jidori (chicken). If you want a small kick, mix in the locally sourced doubanjiang (fermented bean paste).

Cost: 2,500 yen
Shushokusaien Iki:
Hours: Mon.~ Sun. 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.

For those looking to eat with a view…

Enjoy eating Dining Fukuhachi’s Kamashi Meshi rice bowl with a wide view of the Sea of Japan. Topped with local awabi (abalone) and pork cartilage, this dish is served in a cast iron bowl over a flame. You can mix it with a Shirakami negi (green onion) sauce to create a flavorful fried rice. Then, add a bit of the mild negi potage to alter it into a creamy risotto. Viola!

Cost: 1,500 yen
Dining Fukuhachi:
Hours: Mon.~ Sun. 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For those craving something a bit greasy…

Teppankukan Enishi’s Kamashi Meshi monjayaki mixes farm fresh veggies with Noshiro udon noodles. Monjayaki is like a runny okonomiyaki, which may not sound good but is addicting. With three unique sauces like the pork cartilage miso paste, green onion and Shirakami Jidori (chicken) oil sauce, and the shrimp and fish oil sauce, you’ll have so much fun taste-testing the different combinations.

Cost: 1,100~1,650 yen
Teppankukan Enishi:
Hours: Tues.~ Sun. 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. (Closed on Mon.)

Another greasy dish takes the classic Okinawa taco rice and gives it a Shirakami spin. Dining Kimon’s pork cartilage taco rice is topped with a heap of local produce including green onion and pickled daikon radish. Want to play with the texture? Add some potato chips, or mix in some egg. Want a little spice? Drizzle on some Tabasco.

Cost: 1,000 yen
Dining Kimon:
Hours: Mon.~ Sat. 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Closed on Sun.)

If you want a truly Japanese experience…

Restaurant Kirameki’s pork cartilage meal is fit for an emperor! The slow-cooked pork cartilage is so tender that it’s characteristically crunchy texture disappears as it melts in your mouth. Dribble on the sweet sauce from the hot plate to enjoy a juicy, flavorful rice bowl.

Or! Pour some of the dashi broth to create a traditional ochazuke-like meal. Ochazuke is a Japanese one-bowl dish made by pouring green tea or water over rice. Experiment with fun toppings like junsai, pickled plum, and doubanjiang (fermented bean paste) and adjust the taste to your palette.

Restaurant Kirameki is located inside of Mitane town’s Sakyu Onsen Yumeron so, take a dip in the natural hot spring before or after your meal!

Cost: 1,500 yen
Restaurant Kirameki:
Hours: Mon.~ Sun. 11 a.m.~ 2:30 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.~ 7 p.m. (Closed every 2nd Wed. of the month)