Enjoying the local foods when visiting a new place is always a special treat, one you don’t want to miss out on during your trip. In Kagawa, you will experience a rich culture of specialty dishes, integrating a wide variety of locally sourced ingredients, nurtured by the warm climate.
It is a well-known fact that udon noodles are a staple food of Kagawa. It has become so much part of the region that people refer to their home as the “Udon Prefecture”. The taste and serving style of udon varies from shop to shop; in fact, when visiting a self-serve udon restaurant for the first time, you might feel a bit unsure of how to get the bowl of udon you wish for! While “Kake-udon” (udon in hot soup stock) and “Zaru-udon” (cold udon served with dipping sauce) are the simplest ways to relish this type of noodle, “Kamatama-udon” (freshly boiled udon topped with raw egg) is another often-popular item on the menu. You can choose to have your noodles and soup either hot or cold and topped with items such as Tempura, if you wish, as well as choosing from other side menus displayed on the shops’ shelves. Another treat for foodies’ is to have curry udon at an overnight udon restaurant to round out the night.
2. HONETSUKI-DORI – OR GRILLED CHICKEN ON THE BONE
The crispy, juicy flesh of “Honetsuki-dori”, or grilled chicken on the bone, is another popular local dish to try alongside udon. The whole thigh of the chicken is elaborately grilled in the oven and seasoned with spice, going best with beer. When you order, you can choose between “Oyadori” (old chicken) or “Wakadori” (young chicken). Old chicken has a chewy, meaty flavor, its firm flesh favored by gourmets who prefer the deep taste of chicken. The young chicken, on the other hand, is tender and easy to chew, popular with diners of all ages. Since this dish was born in Marugame City, Honetsuki-dori has swept Kagawa and now you can find shops and restaurants all over the area, a line of people waiting outside to buy it.
3. SEAFOOD FROM THE SETO INLAND SEA
The oceans of Japan offer different fish and seafood inherent to each area of the ocean. The Inland Sea of Seto is blessed with abundant seafood throughout the year, switching types of fish in accordance with the sea temperature, which changes greatly with the season. The specialties here are white-fleshed fish reared in a strong current. “Sawara”, a delicacy in springtime, comes into season from April to May and has soft flesh and a mild taste. During the summer, “Managatsuo”, known for its elegant flavor, is served. Although “Hamachi” and “Kurodai” are both always on the market, the best season for these fish is during fall and winter, when they put on fat. You can try these seasonal fish in local pubs and sushi restaurants, which serve up fresh sashimi and seafood dishes.
4. OLIVE PRODUCTS
A wide range of merchandise using local olives has hit the shelves of souvenir shops, including olive oil, olive noodles and olive paste, among others. “Olive beef” and “olive yume buta pork”, both grown with plant feed containing olive lees, are highly regarded for their tender, sweet flavors and umami. Farmed yellow tail, popular for its light, healthy taste, also grows up eating feed mixed with powdered olive leaves.
5. SOFT-SERVE ICE CREAM
Why eat ice cream in Kagawa? You’ll see why as you travel through the area, encountering a series of soft-serve ice creams featuring local specialties and in-season fruits. A unique lineup of ice creams includes ones topped with fancy traditional confectioneries, ones mixed with unusual ingredients like olives, soy sauce and Tsukudani (preserved seafood boiled down in soy sauce), as well as locally grown fruits such as plums and boysenberries. It’s definitely worth trying these special sweet delights to find your favorite!