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kagawa

Where the Wheat Noodles Roam

Foodie hotspots: Takamatsu, Mure, Sakaide, Mitoyo, Shodoshima.

 

Foodies Look Out For: Sanuki udon wheat noodles. And wheat noodles. And udon. Did we mention udon wheat noodles? Also sushi, naruto wakame seaweed,

 

The Basics: A naturally warm climate and above average hours of sunshine make this small prefecture in Northern Shikoku a pleasant place to visit. It is mosr easily accessed by the Seto Ohashi bridge from Okayama.

 

Foodies Go Kagawa: Kagawa prefecture, once known as Sanuki, doesn’t get enough rainfall for full-scale rice production, so it relies heavily on wheat. Thus, its meibutsu 'famed product' is Sanuki-udon. Udon was reputedly first brought from Xian in China to Japan, indeed Shikoku, by Buddhist saint Kukai in the 9th century.

Sanuki udon is most popular in Takamatsu city, although the most famous producer is Mure-cho’s Yamadaya Honjin. Nakamura's 'self-udon' in Marugame

Menkobo Rokusha (which dates back to Taisho era) in Higashi-Kakagawa city,

 and Miyoshi Udon in Mitoyoshi where everything is made by hand - and feet - are local legends. Beware Miyoshi Udon is only open 10am to 2pm.

Kake-udon is hot udon in hot soup, zaru-udon is cold udon eaten with dipping sauce and kama-age is hot udon eaten dipped in sauce.

Shoyu-mame, eaten throughout the prefecture except on Shodoshima island, are parched broad beans soaked in locally made shoyu containing sugar and red pepper. Other popular dishes include manba no kenchan leaf mustard (aka, karashina) fried with tofu and seasoned with shoyu, and oshinuki-zushi, prepared with small Inland Sea fish, served with locally grown rice.

On Shodoshima, tenobe-somen, made with finest quality wheat flour competes with Nara’s Miwa-somen for summer noodle laurels. At Sakubei, in Shodoshima-cho, you can eat at their restaurant, alongside the factory. Nakabuan at Yasuda-ko is highly regarded.  Shodoshima is renowned nationwide for its olives and olive oil.

Cultivation of nori laver, buri amberjack, katakuchi iwashi anchovies and ikanago lance fish are Setonaikai Inland Sea specialties. Expect also to find excellent madai sea bream, hirame flounders and kaki oysters in season.

 

The Kagawa Budget Gourmet

Sakaide Pippi-meshi at Myojin with rice, chopped udon and takuanzuke pickles; Hamachizuke-don, in Mure, especially at Kaisen Shokudo Jakoya; hishio-don, local fish pickled in local soy sauce; Sanuki udon burger (editor - are you serious?); hone-tsuki chicken.

 

The Ramen Professor Recommends: Going to eat ramen in Kagawa is like going to eat fish and chips in Italy. It's not impossible, but why would you?

 

FGL Favorite Tipple: Maruo Honten has been crafting great sake in the Enai district of Kotohira since 1885. We love their 'Yorokobi Gaijin' series, especially the wild yamahai jikomi and super smooth junmai ginjo versions.

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John F. Ashburne

John F. Ashburne

Editor-in-Chief Foodies Go Local