At A Taste of the Tohoku you can expand your repertoire of regional dishes. Each post to this page will feature some Tohoku specialty not included in my e-original book, KIBŌ.
With extremely limited time to finalize manuscript -- less than 3 months for KIBŌ where as each of my previous cookbooks took about 5 years to complete! -- I was unable to include recipes and stories for many classic Tohoku dishes such as WANKO SOBA, a specialty of Morioka and Hanamaki (both cities are in Miyagi Prefecture).

Food-eating contests are popular sport in Japan, and wanko soba-eating events in Morioka and Hanamaki attract tourists from all over Japan, as well as foreign travelers.

Dōzo, meshi agaré (Eat up!)

A Taste of the Tohoku

Pictured to the left, a scene from AZUMAYA (東屋) restaurant in Morioka where customers can challenge each other in a friendly food-eating battle. The wait staff will keep bringing fresh soba until you place a lid on your wan (bowl) and say maitta ("I give up... I've had enough!). The restaurant claims that 15 of their mini-portions are equal to one ordinary serving of noodles. The current record was set in 1996 by a (then, 21-year old) man who downed 559 bowls!!!

Want to try your hand at wanko soba-eating? Packages of stubby-short buckwheat noodles can be purchased at most Asian groceries outside Japan. Here are some recipes to get you started: