Japanese Language Blog

Japanese Food: Kyoodo Ryoori (郷土料理) Posted by on Nov 14, 2008 in Uncategorized

Kyoodo ryoori (郷土料理) translates to “regional specialities” in English.  By “specialities” I mean a dish or cuisine that a particular region in Japan is famous for; and in which tourists flock to the region to try out the local cuisine.  Every month or so I plan on highlighting a particular region with the food they are associated with.  So fasten your sealtbeats!  Today’s itinerary will include a stop in the Toohoku (東北) region of Japan.  Toohoku (東北) literally means “northeast” in Japanese.  As the name implies, the region is located in the northeastern part of Japan.  The climate tends to be a bit chilly and the locals who live there stock up on some gyutan (牛タン) to fill the belly and warm the stomach.

What is gyutan (牛タン)?  Gyutan (牛タン) is cow tongue.  Gyu () means cow while the word tan (タン) is derived from the Japanese pronounciation of the English word “tongue.”  Gyutan (牛タン) is made from a cow’s tongue that has been grilled.  It can be served with salt or with tare (タレ) sauce.  Tare (タレ) sauce is a dipping sauce that is made from soy sauce, dashi (だし), vinegar, and sugar.  Dashi (だし) is used to make broth soups in Japan, and can also be used to make tare (タレ) sauce.  The dashi (だし) makes the tare (タレ) sauce thicker in texture.  Sometimes the gyutan (牛タン) is marinated with tare (タレ) rather than served separately.  Either way, the tare (タレ) sauce, which is sweet, gives the meat a nice taste.

Although gyutan (牛タン) is a popular dish in Japan, its popularity may die down in the distant future.  The scandal caused by Mad Cow Disease forced many gyutan (牛タン) restaurants to close down.  Hopefully gyutan (牛タン) will still be there for those of you who plan on going to Japan in the future.  If gyutan (牛タン) were to disappear, the region’s tourist market and cultural notorioty may also die with it as well.  There needs to be a balance between the public’s health and safety and its desire to enjoy delicious food.  You all can do your part by visiting the region and trying some gyutan (牛タン).  By doing this, you’ll be helping the region keep its tradition alive.

Ok minasan (みなさん), (minasan (みなさん) meaning everybody in Japanese) did you enjoy the tour?  For more regional tours, check the blog monthly.  You’ll never know where we might go next, so check frequently!

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