to A Taste of the Tohoku where 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.
sansai 山菜

The season for freshly foraged mountain vegetables is short and quirky.
Kogomi ( fiddlehead ferns), warabi (bracken; Pteridium aquilinum) and zenmai (fern; Osmunda japonica), takénoko  (bamboo shoots) are gathered from the forested mountain slopes as winter thaws into spring.

A Taste of the Tohoku


Literally the "remote road," the word michinoku refers to the northern territories and is cloaked in a romantic aura. It was made famous by the 17th century poet Matsuo Bashō in his travel-inspired verse, "The Narrow Road to the Interior."

In a culinary context michinoku often describes a pilaf-like dish (michinoku gohan) or a boxed-to-go meal (michinoku bentō) that features sansai (foraged mountain vegetables) from the Tohoku region.
No matter where in the world you may be, you can support economic recovery of the region by making a contribution to Sponsor Fellows for Tohoku and Japan’s Recovery. This project, launched and managed by Entrepreneurial Training for Innovative Communities (ETIC) has a dual goal: creating jobs in the area devastated by the disaster and developing a new generation of business leaders in Japan. To learn more about the Fellows Project, click here.
Most of the sansai that is harvested up north is par-boiled and packaged in lightly seasoned brine in vacuum-sealed pouches. Look for them in your local Asian market; many are sold outside Japan.