I LOVE Nagoya-meshi

Nagoya-meshi, food culture the region is proud of.

Nagoya Meshi is a range of regional dishes unique to the culture of Nagoya and Aichi, and enjoyed daily by the local community.

Nagoya Meshi Adviser, Mr. Toshiyuki Otake

Nagoya resident, writer and Nagoya Meshi fan, Mr Otake is the author of Nagoya no Kissaten (Nagoya’s Coffee Shops) and serves as an advisor to the Nagoya Meshi PR Council.
His research is a fascinating guide to Nagoya’s culinary delights and eateries. Nagoya Meshi (Liberal Publishing, yen1,400+tax)

Nagoya Meshi, attracting tourists from other prefectures.

Nagoya Meshi has undeniably become one of Nagoya’s greatest tourism resources and is becoming more popular than Nagoya Castle or Atsuta Shrine! According to a tourism and guest trend survey conducted by Nagoya City in 2014, interest in, and satisfaction of Nagoya Meshi at 56.5%, surpassed other well known attractions such as Atsuta Shrine (44.6%) Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens (41.7%) historical and heritage sites (40.7%) and the bustling Sakae district (35.9%). Nagoya Meshi scored first place in the visitor experience, food, and experience intention categories.

The origin of the name, Nagoya Meshi

The name “Nagoya Meshi” was created when Kenichi Inamoto, chairman of Nagoya based restaurant operator, Zetton, opened his first store in Tokyo in 2001. The menu specialized in Nagoya themed cuisine, such as miso-katsu and stone-grilled hitsumabushi amongst others. Tokyo’s mass media attempted to sum this all up in a single word. Ita-meshi was the popular abbreviation for Italian food, and so Nago-meshi was suggested, however Mr. Inamoto believed the more direct ‘Nagoya Meshi,’ was easier to understand, and so Nagoya Meshi was born.

Greater Nagoya Gourmet

Nagoya Meshi doesn’t just apply to the delicious cuisine of Nagoya City, but the Greater Nagoya region, including Aichi and the surrounding Tokai area, a region long associated with soybean miso culture. Miso is a thick, dark paste peculiar to the Tokai area, made from aged, fermented soybeans and salt. The strong flavor is eaten daily by the people of the area and Nagoya Meshi has evolved to match that taste.
Soybean miso is the heart and soul of Nagoya Meshi, and its distinctive taste is an appreciated feature of Japanese food.

What Kinds of Nagoya Meshi are There?

It is said that apart from Okinawan cuisine, no other region in Japan boasts such a unique food culture. Centrally located on the main Japanese island of Honshu, Nagoya Meshi is rich in variety, and includes rice based meals, side dishes, confectionary, snack like serves enjoyed with alcohol, and not just traditional Japanese cuisine, but Chinese and Western foods have been creatively enhanced to create a cross-cultural food experience with Nagoya Meshi.
Aichi’s long-standing poultry and fish breeding industry has been behind the creation of Nagoya Cochin chicken and Hitsumabushi.

Nagoya’s Unique Sweets and Service

Nagoya Meshi also includes snack items, such as the popular Uiro, a jelly like cake, or Oni-Manju, devil cakes, Ebi-Senbei, prawn crackers, the much loved Ebi-Furai fried prawns, even Curry-Udon Noodles have been adopted and adapted as a Nagoyan delicacy. Although not a type of cuisine as such, Nagoya’s famed Morning Service, usually consisting of a serve of hot buttered toast, a hard-boiled egg and a hot coffee is also recognized as Nagoya Meshi.

Nagoya Meshi’s Many Events

In recent years, Nagoya Meshi themed events have been gaining in popularity. The Nagoya Meshi Expo commenced in 2011, with over 300 shops participating. Walking-eating events encourage visitors to enjoy a range of foods using special discount tickets as they wander the area, while stamp rally events with stall type catering remain popular. Regular competitions are staged to discover the next generation of Nagoya Meshi.
The Nagoya Meshi Exposition, held every autumn, sees various restaurants present their creations to be judged as new Nagoya Meshi.
Ever popular, Nagoya Meshi receives a great deal of attention at the Nagoya Festival and other big events.
Nagoya-meshi, Representing Japanese Food and Spreading its Wings to the World

As interest in Japanese cuisine increases, unique and appealing Nagoya Meshi is being promoted around the world. So how does it taste?

Nagoya Meshi, a hit at Milano’s EXPO

The Milano World EXPO was held in 2015, with the theme being “Food”. Japan ranked among the most popular international pavilions. The Aichi-Nagoya Fair In Milano event was staged from August 4th to 8th, during which Aichi Prefecture and Nagoya City served Nagoya Meshi dishes, including Ebiten-koro, Kishimen noodles, Tebasaki Nagoya fried chicken wings, Tenmusu rice-balls with shrimp, and Akadashi soup amongst others. The reaction was most impressive with many positive comments received.
The foreign visitors were served Kishimen noodles

Comments from a workshop questionnaire.

Many visitors had an interest in Japanese food culture, and managed with chopsticks well.
"I feel closer to Japan through this experience. I would like to visit."
Female (60s)
Tebasaki is similar to Italian style. It was very good, almost a familiar taste. I enjoyed the Japanese Pavilion!”
Male (30s)
“It was tasty. I am curious about the ingredients of Akadashi
Male (50s)
“The Ebiten-koro Kishimen was delicious. Cold soup with non al dente noodles was a first for me.”
Male (20s)
“It is rare for rice to be unsalted in Italy, but the unsalted rice really matched the prawns, so I really enjoyed it.”
Male (30s)
Tenmusu was really delicious!”
Male (30s)

‘Aichi-Nagoya Fair in Milano’ Event Report

The Nagoya Meshi workshop was a great success, selling out daily and attended by over 5,700 people.

Although focusing on the local cuisine, Aichi-Nagoya traditions, industry, culture and the environment were also promoted.

The reception was amazing!

The reception was well attended by local Italian media, travel agency officials and food industry specialists, who enjoyed a demonstration of the cooking processes in the central kitchen area.

Stage Events Promoted Japanese Culture

The events saw a full house every day, with interviews conducted by Italian media giant, RAI and entertaining shows by the Nagoya Omotenashi Bushotai samurai performance team, who closed the day with a samurai Kachidoki war cry.
Nagoya Meshi is the food culture of the samurai warriors of Aichi, and as such, is also referred to as Samurai Cuisine. Nagoya’s samurai performance team helped to further promote the region during their act.