Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Food Hunt Around Sendai

"All you need is love. 
But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."

Charles M. Schulz


I've been to Sendai twice. Once as a volunteer in the tsunami disaster area, twice for pleasure

This city in the northern region of Honshu island is blessed with rich nature and enjoys fruitful harvests from both land and sea. The region has produced unique delicacies since ancient times and its seafood has established a solid reputation for freshness. Fresh sushi and oysters from Matsushima Bay are among the most famous Sendai specialties. Sukiyaki made with Sendai beef and fish tempura are also both highly recommended.

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Sendai Station, the landmark of the city.

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The city is currently holding a campaign called "Sendai Destination Campaign" to promote tourism around the city.

In all, there are lots of local food to eat in Sendai. However, if you are there, there should be only one thing in your mind - gyutan (beef tongue). Sendai is so famous for this piece of thing, grilled over charcoal that you will find gyutan restaurants literally littered around the whole city. You can read my first time trying out this delicacy at the end of this post

Here, I would like to introduce several Sendai specialties that I got to try from a half-day food hunt around the city.

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This is Zunda Saryo (ずんだ茶寮),  a famous brand that specialises on zunda-based mochi, cakes and snacks, found at the west exit of Sendai Station.

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A huge varieties of zunda (sweet edamame paste) products, including fuki dorayaki (富貴どら焼) on the left.

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There is a cafe which is next to the shop selling the zunda products.

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Zunda mochi (ずんだ餅). One word to describe its taste - out of this world!

Next up was this small little hut hidden in between huge shopping malls. The shop has a simple name - Taikichi (鯛きち). Tai is a Japanese word which refers to sparidae, or more commonly known as sea breams. This shop sells taiyaki (たいやき), a type of Japanese pancake-like snack shaped like a fish and usually containing sweet filling in the middle.

What makes the taiyaki in this shop unique is the specially made gyutan curry taiyaki, which I believed is only found in Sendai.

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Clis Road Shopping District, a pedestrianised and covered shopping arcade near Sendai Station.

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The banner which promotes its popular menu - gyutan curry taiyaki (牛タンカレー).

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Another one not to be missed is the maccha whipped cream taiyaki.

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Caught this fish which has beef tongue flavour curry inside for 100yen.

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Here is how it looks inside. The curry overwhelmed the flavour of gyutan.

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Served chilled, this maccha whipped cream was good.

The next stop was at Abekamaboko (阿部蒲鉾) to try out another speciality - hyotan-age (ひょうたん揚げ). It is a Sendai-style corn dog with kamaboko (fishcake) instead of sausage inside. It is usually served together with spicy ketchup. 

Apparently, everyone from Sendai knows this shop, located along the famous Cris Road shopping arcade near Sendai Station. The hyoutan-age from this shop is really delicious, that it is common to see long lines queuing up to try it out.

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The little shop at the corner of the shop lots, which sells hyoutan-age.

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The size is relatively huge, and one stick costs 150yen.

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However, if you are lucky, you can get another stick for free. Anyone who has his wooden stick with the atari (当り) carving will get another stick free of charge!

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And guess who was the lucky boy on that day?

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Food hunt continued and we stopped at this interesting-looking stall selling fried dango (揚げ団子).

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Hot and chrispy outside, and sticky inside. The small piece of seaweed was the icing on the cake dango.

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Another interesting snack called kashiwa mochi (柏餅), a Japanese traditional sweets eaten on Children's Day on May 5th.

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Kashiwa mochi is a kind of steamed mochi made with glutinous rice flour, joshin-ko (上新粉) and shiratama-ko (白玉粉), wrapping sweet red bean paste inside.
Each of them is then wrapped with kashiwa (oak leaves).

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Dropped by the souvenirs shops at the basement of the station to grab some souvenirs back to Tokyo.

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Zunda is so popular in Sendai, that they even came out with zunda jam! The world's one and only it says.

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Bought a box of zunda manju and okanemochi lol! To those who doesn't speak Japanese, okanemochi (お金持ち) can also mean "rich" hahaha!

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Finally, after a couple of days, it was time to return to Tokyo.

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Took the stylish green Hayabusa shinkansen home.

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It turned out to be the wrong train. Look where it took us to! A very ayashi place hahaha!

That's all for my short Sendai trip. Hope you enjoy reading. And ohhh by the way, getting to see *ehem* comments *ehem* from my readers will always turn me like this ^.^

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