Legend of Cabbage Man & Food Field Trip ★ ONLY in JAPAN
Ramen, Sashimi and Cabbage Man: Food Adventure I’m about to embark on an amazing adventure to the far reaches of Tohoku. It’s a quest for food — and for fun and to get there, I’ll be leaving Tokyo on this The Shinkansen The Shinkansen is one of the fastest trains in the world with speeds up to 320 km/hour. It’s a food field trip! Coming to Japan to eat is one of the best reasons to visit and I’m expecting to do a lot of that up there ”Up there“ being IWATE PREFECTURE and if you don’t know where that is don’t worry! I got you covered. Iwate is Japan’s second biggest prefecture after Hokkaido, over 15,000 sq km big! The capitol is Morioka and a major stop on the Tohoku Shinkansen. I’ll try some making some ramen here later. I start off here, Iwate Machi for food, sake and a festival, but I’ll also be traveling to the pacific coast to catch some fresh fish at Tanohatamura. FIELD TRIP! Let’s go – it’s over 550 km from Tokyo to Iwatenuma-kunai Station. The view on the way changes from city to beautiful countryside. It’s about a 2.5 hour trip from Tokyo. Iwate prefecture is one of the most natural places in Japan As a result, they also have some of the best vegetables. We’re going to be asking — WELCOME to this place! Lettuce Man CABBAGE MAN! CABBAGE MAN! Wow. Cabbage. Yes! Cabbageman is a local mascot or yuruchara a chubby masked cabbage maniac with a t-shirt a few sizes to small. But that doesn’t impact his superpowers at all. Hello, Cabbage Man!![00:02:03.13 He’s beloved by all in the town. How much does Cabbage Man love cabbage? I thought I’d race him and his buddy for a trophy cabbage 50 meters away. Iwate Machi’s cabbage is so good that it deserves our best effort, winner take all! To the Victor — goes the cabbage. In town, he’s famous! Cabbage Ice cream anyone? Want some? I can’t eat THAT! My mouth’s too small! Cabbage is in a lot of local dishes here and Cabbage Man and his side kick took me to a place for some HORUMON NABE. Fresh cabbage with meat, tofu and soup. Nothing powers you up quite like it. After a few minutes, the ingredients and flavors all come together. It’s more than good. It’s awesome. But there’s another side to cabbage cuisine in Iwate. Refined and sophisticated. It’s Iwate Machi Cabbage Shioyaki Udon All local ingredients stir fried to perfection. Enjoy it with some sparkling cabbage flavored cider. Pour it like a fine champagne. One of the finer things in life. Iwate Machi Cabbage Shioyaki Udon should be served on a plate any will do. Civilized. Feel privileged. This is Iwate’s best cabbage, and it’s divine. In Iwate, cabbage is taken to the highest level. A hundred kilometres away from Iwate Machi is Tanohatamura. A new fishing experience starting at the crack of dawn + 2 hours (after breakfast) offers the ultimate local food adventure. The captain navigates the rugged coastline with unique rock formations and tunnels. There’s even a cave with a special attraction from in here, you can see the true color of the pristine water as the light pushes through the darkness. As the wave push into the cave, so does the light revealing a stunning emerald color. There’s nothing like the feeling of being on the open sea on a clear cool day like today. But we’ve got some fish to catch. The traps were set the day before. From the start, we had quite a catch! We’re here for this! DONKO! Not really a fish, more like an eel. It’s a local favorite. We also caught other fish like this — Soi I was told that I had to prepare my own lunch! Cut here? Yes, there. Wait! It’s still alive? Yes, it’s alive. IT’S ALIVE?! IT’S ALIVE?! ISN’T IT PAINFUL? IT”S PROBABLY PAINFUL!? It won’t hurt him at all. No, the opposite way. That meant gutting and cutting the Donko. I’d never done this before, it’s nice to have these wonderful ladies as guides. It’s not easy when you have to do it yourself. “Donko, I’m so sorry about this.” The ladies showed me how to prepare donko with miso and onions. The results looked good. Donko sashimi a little wasabi and soy sauce and … Delicious. And the Donko Miso? Another winner. What an experience. RAMEN! You knew it was coming. IWATE RAMEN NOODLE CLASS This is a Morioka Ramen Noodle making class! It’s located in the city where ramen chefs are here to teach you all that you need to know about Morioka Ramen Everything was prepped for me by Onodera-san leader of the Morioka Ramen Club FLOUR BAKING SODA SCALE AND MIXING BOWL SALT WATER AND SALT You can mix it old school by hand it’s really hard to do. Or you can just add all the ingredients to a noodle making machine. That’s more fun! Fresh ramen noodles ready to be turned into a bowl of deliciousness. We have thin hosomen and thick futomen. In the kitchen, It’s a crash course with the shop owner. I started with the vegetables and meat. Need to stir fry it up for this miso ramen. Add some broth to build up the flavor. While that’s cooking, I had to get on to the noodles. There’s no stopping! They need to be boiled for a couple of minutes. Stay focused! Don’t forget the meat and vegetables – skim the fat, lower the heat and back to the noodles they need another 30 seconds. Stir the vegetables – add the broth to the miso in the bowl THE NOODLES! It’s not easy to get them all in the strainer. Scoop and shake the water out. Quickly get all those noodles into the bowl. Don’t forget any of them. Add the vegetable toppings to the miso broth — and DONE. The results? Beautiful. Awesome experience. THANK YOU! Delicious time. Iwate ramen! What a lovely day! Now it’s time to change into something more traditional for my next adventure. A kimono. Putting one on goes a lot faster with some help. 3 minutes — and out the door. I’m dressed in a beautiful Japanese kimono. Now I’m going to try some Japanese sake and I’m dressed for the part! There’s a place in Iwate Machi where you can try Japanese sake brewed locally. It’s got quite a selection. Tohoku is famous for it’s high quality nihonshu and Iwate makes some of the best. It’s hard to know which you’ll like best so I picked two to try and went upstairs. All right! So I’ve got 2 bottles of Japanese sake Nihonshu, here! I’ve never heard of these brands They’re all locally made Maybe I can ask somebody to help me. Fugane-san! This requires the help of Fugane-san. He’s a local businessman who also knows a lot about the area sake so we started with this one. YUKI NO TSUTSUMI With nihonshu, the drink of Japan you must remember protocol don’t fill your own glass. Oooh-tooh-tooh-tooh Enough Always drink sake like a man, unless your a woman, then drink it tough like this. It’s a way to show your respect to the mighty rice and national drink of Japan. Smooth. Delicate. The taste bites a little then melts and leave a pleasant after taste. Mellow, isn’t it? Next, we try this WASHINO-O Pour for your drinking buddy — then sip. Nice. A little sharper, robust flavor but Fugane-san knows that sake is also best enjoyed with a snack. He’s brought some of his shops locally made Iwate raw ham! Cut thin, loaded with flavor. Eaten with a cup of sake it’s the perfect compliment to Iwate’s local brands. Iwate sake with Iwate raised meat … Iwate ham, Iwate sake Iwate guy Sake is always enjoyed best with friends. Delicious. The best. Iwate Machi’s Autumn Festival During the day I noticed these really tall floats pulled by a lot of people with ropes. Taiko drums, cymbals and flutes. The floats had actual pine trees in them, the whole structure seemingly made of wood. This is Iwate Machi’s Autumn Festival. I asked the shrine’s priest and a local artist to tell me more about the festival that dates back centuries. How many people pull these floats that can weigh several tonnes? About 100 people. Sometimes 200 to 300. We have cherry blossoms and pine trees. And what else? We also have outer space. And the ground, ocean and people. And the four seasons. Anyway, there are a lot of elements. This explains what we got from god. The floats have a deep religious meaning, made to show appreciation to god. At night, they really stand out. This year, there were 6 floats made by each local group. I joined the Shinmachigumi procession. Each design is different and made anew every year. Festivals are also a great place to make friends with locals. The floats start moving slowly at the start with the Taiko drums setting the beat. I love these kinds of events because all of us right here are working as a team to pull this parade float which weighs a couple tonnes, at least! And that gives it extra meaning because — the parade floats is a sacrifice to god. and … it give all of this extra exertion this extra power that we need to pull it so much more meaning. This festival is not all floats. Dancers and musicians join in. The floats are as tall as the highest road signs, several meters up! Since telephone and electrical wires are suspends above in Japan due to earthquakes, the floats have a team of people with poles to make sure the lines don’t get snagged. This can be a challenge when rounding corners. Festivals are a lot of work for teams and there’s nothing better than the celebration that takes place when it’s all done. This is the Shinmachigumi party. There’s loads of drinking and food here. This is a simple tofu and soba nabe topped with miso and green onions. It warms you up and tastes so good after a long day. Someone’s always watching to fill you up! Make sure you have a good time. After all, the Autumn Festival is a celebration. What a fantastic day! I saw so much on this field trip. Food, fun and new friends. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending. So if you want to make the trip up to Tohoku Hit Iwate because there’s so much to see and do here. — and it’s a lot of fun! Kanpai. Next time, I travel to the city of knives. Seki, in Gifu prefecture to check out some of the world’s best knives and swords. Seki has a long tradition for making samurai swords and now into knives, best seen and bought during their annual knife festival. Thanks for watching ONLY in JAPAN Check out the latest episode, channel playlist and don’t forget to subscribe A big special thank you to ENSORQ for setting up this wonderful trip around Iwate. See you next time. Mata ne.