Kaiyaki miso is a unique Aomori home-style dish featuring soup stock mixed with miso paste, to which beaten egg is added. Seafood such as scallops and fish also may be added. The ingredients are cooked on a large scallop shell in lieu of a pan, and it’s believed that each time the shell is re-used, it gives the dish even more flavor.
Ke no jiru
Ke no jiru is a nourishing winter dish featuring a hodgepodge of diced vegetables, tofu, and aburaage fried bean curd in miso soup. It contains root vegetables like daikon radish, burdock root, and carrot as well as wild edible plants such as warabi (bracken fern). Ke no jiru gets its name from “kayu no jiru”, with the word “kayu” (rice porridge) gradually transforming into the word “ke” over time. The dish is eaten for good luck at the start of the new year.
Igamenchi is a dish of minced squid tentacles and vegetables shaped into patties and deep-fried. It originated around the Hirosaki area, in inland Aomori, so the dish uses dried squid rather than fresh. Ikamenchi is seen as a thrifty food because it uses up the squid tentacles and vegetable bits leftover from cooking other dishes. The dish’s name, “igamenchi”, is a local variation of “ikamenchi”, or “minced squid fritter”.
Miso curry milk ramen
Miso curry milk ramen is Aomori’s local style of ramen, which was inspired by miso ramen from Sapporo. It’s made by adding curry powder and miso bean paste to a milk-based soup broth and is topped with pork, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, and wakame seaweed, along with a pat of butter. The thick wavy noodles have a chewy texture that stands up well to the flavorful soup.
Miso ginger oden
Oden is a one-pot winter dish featuring items like fish cakes, yam, squid balls, daikon radish, and hard-boiled eggs simmered in a light soy sauce and dashi broth. While oden is popular all over Japan, in Aomori cuisine, it’s served topped with miso sauce and freshly grated ginger. The dish was first sold at the yatai food stands set up near Aomori Station for passengers waiting to take the ferry to Hokkaido.
Bara-yaki is a dish of grilled beef rib meat cooked on a hot plate or teppan surface over a massive bed of sliced onions. The dish was created in Aomori’s Towada City by local Korean immigrants and is flavored with a sweet and slightly spicy soy sauce, reminiscent of Korean-style barbecue. With its rich, yet down-to-earth taste, it’s no wonder that many people consider bara-yaki to be the “soul food” of Aomori.
Senbei jiru is a dish from the Hachinohe area of Aomori. It’s made by adding toasted rice crackers called “senbei” to a soy sauce, miso, or salt-flavored soup made with chicken or pork stock. The crispy senbei crackers soak up the soup broth but still retain a toothy texture. Ingredients like leek, mushroom, and burdock root are used along with fish, pork, or chicken for a filling winter dish.
Aomori apple pie
Apple pie may not be a native food to Japan, but as the top apple-producing prefecture, Aomori is the place to go in Japan for apple pies, pastries, and cakes. The town of Hirosaki specializes in kyodai (giant) apple pie, some up to 2 meters in diameter.