Local foods are somewhat a source of pride, especially in Japan. Nagoya is located in Central Japan and has arguably some of the best food in the country. While Japanese food is usually known for its subtleties in flavor, Nagoya-meshi — local Nagoya food — is known for its strong, bold flavors. Here are the top 10 best foods in Nagoya.
Grilled eel served in 3 mini courses. 1st-as is; 2nd-with toppings like green onions and nori; 3rd-with topping and tea. My favorite is the 2nd way. The most famous shop in Nagoya is Horaiken, but my personal favorite is Shirakawa near Joshin station on the Tsurumai line.
A flat noodle similar to fettuccine. If you are a noodle lover, you MUST try Kishimen! My favorite places to order kishimen are at Akakara after eating nabe (hotpot), or at Nagoya Tantanmen - the “shiru-nashi” (no soup) version.
3. Miso nikomi udon
A thick noodle dish with a strong broth. Udon usually comes in a clear broth, but miso nikomi is hearty and filling. The miso used is the red miso and it usually has toppings like egg, green onions, chicken, and shiitake mushrooms. It’s a wonderful dish to eat in winter.
Spiced peppered chicken wings. There are two famous places for these wings, Yama-chan, and Furaibo. Yama-chan is a favorite especially among foreigners as they have a picture menu and serve a variety of items found at izakayas–Japanese bars. Their logo is also easy to spot around Nagoya station with a colorful image of a man dressed in a chicken suit.
Furaibo locations are also near major stations in Naogya, but are usually tucked away down side-streets. Their menu has no photos and is written in only Japanese. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t speak the language. The first question they ask you when you sit down is how many servings of wings you want. Get at least one serving per person! They also have some salad and rice ball sides, but their menu is mostly focused on the tebasaki. Definitely give both Furaibo and Yama-chan a try!
A triangle-shaped rice ball with a tempura shrimp in the middle. You can get these at convenience stores or at supermarkets in Nagoya. Some shops at Nagoya station will have them as well in packets of 6, but they are pretty small rice balls. There’s a great little shop near Joshin station (exit 6) that sells LARGE rice balls for about 100yen, and the sauce they dip the tempura shrimp in before wrapping it with the rice is delicious. Go before 11am though because they only make a certain amount each day.
6. Taiwan Ramen
Don't let the name fool you! This noodle soup dish was created in Nagoya. Usually Japanese food isn't very spicy, but Taiwan ramen can really kick up the heat. Misen is known to be the original restaurant that started serving taiwan ramen. They have shops all over Nagoya, but the main shop that started it all is in Chikusa.
7. Miso Katsu
This dish is usually the first one mentioned when asking about Nagoya specialties. Tonkatsu is a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet served with tonkatsu sauce that can be found all over Japan. Nagoya serves tonkatsu with a red miso sauce instead. The miso sauce has a strong flavor kind of like a BBQ sauce and is popular among visitors and locals alike. Yabaton is the most famous shop to serve this dish and has locations all around the city. If you end up really loving it, you can pick up bottles of miso katsu sauce at supermarkets in Nagoya and make the tonkatsu at home. If you decide to make it yourself and end up having leftovers, miso katsu sandwiches are a great way to eat it the next day.
If you’re into baseball, the local Nagoya team is the Dragons. They are featured in movie “Mr. Baseball” starring Tom Selleck. Nagoya Dome, home of the Dragons serves an exclusive miso katsu dog.
8. Ankake spaghetti
This dish can be found at some Chinese restaurants, but is a Nagoya dish. The noodles are pan-fried and a sticky red sauce with vegetables and sliced hot-dog style sausages are poured on top.
9. Morning set
If you order a coffee in the morning at a cafe, it will usually come with a slice of toast as well. Sometimes it might include a hard-boiled egg and/or banana. Other cities are starting to do this as well, but it started in Nagoya. Some friends who visited from Fukuoka or Tokyo were surprised when they ordered their coffee and toast came with it! Komeda Coffee was founded in Nagoya and is a popular place to get morning set.
10. Ogura toast
Sweet red bean paste on toast. At some cafes you can substitute the regular toast during morning set for the ogura toast. KitKat even made a Nagoya edition Ogura Toast flavor that can be found at the gift shops in Nagoya station or at the airport.
Have you tried any of these Nagoya specialties? Which ones do you want to try? Let us know in the comments below!
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Jenny & Bradley of EatWanderExplore