Translated by Jasmine Nishino
Award Winning Flounder Dishes At Minato Shokudo In Hachinohe, Aomori
Written by Ai Yoneda
Aomori prefecture is known as a great place to catch plenty of delicious seafood. This time we would like to feature the award winning marinated flounder on rice bowl from Minato Shokudo that has earned itself fans nationwide.
The northern most prefecture on Honshu island of Japan is Aomori. Facing both the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan, it is known to be a location where fresh and delicious seafood can be found. While Aomori is popular for its tuna, squid, and monkfish, the flounder is the fish of Aomori and is a must try.
The flounder is fresh and is delicious when eaten raw in sashimi and sushi. However, in Aomori, there is a famous dish that brings out the flavors of the flounder to its fullest. That is the flounder zukedon (rice dish with a topping of marinated flounder).
In this article, we would like to turn the spotlight onto the flounder zukedon from Minato Shokudo restaurant that has even won a gold medal from the Nationwide Donburi Grandpris (Japanese) (*1)!
*1 Nationwide Donburi Grandpris: A tournament in Japan where they award prizes to the most delicious donburi rice bowl dishes.
Minato Shokudo is located in Hachinohe city, which is the largest port city in the prefecture. The closest station to the restaurant is JR Mutsuminato Station.
When stepping out the station, you will immediately be greeted by the Isaba no Kaccha (Mom of the Market) statue. Apparently, there are many women who dress in that style in the marketplaces of Hachinohe.
Right outside of the JR Mutsuminato Station is the Mutsuminato Station Morning Market. Out of the many markets in the port city of Hachinohe, this market is the oldest one around. Here, you can find the freshest seafood caught in the surrounding seas of Aomori.
After walking for about two minutes, you will find the Minato Shokudo.
The photo above shows the front of the store. At a glance, you can see its history just from the darkened wooden exterior and the torn curtains by the entrance. At the same time, you can tell that it is a shop that has been loved by the community for ages.
According to the worker at the shop, there are many people from out of town who come to visit just to eat this flounder zukedon. At around 9:00 on a weekday, you may be able to spot a line of people waiting at the door. For those who have time, it is a good idea to go early in the morning.
This is the long awaited flounder zukedon. Slices of flounder have been marinated with a sweet sauce and cover a bowl of white rice while being topped with a glistening egg yolk.
Before taking a bite, mix the yolk with the flounder and the white rice. The sweet sauce has also mixed into the bottom of the bowl, so it is best to mix everything up before eating. Feel free to add the wasabi too, for those who prefer a slightly spicy yet refreshing taste.
After the mixing is done, go ahead and indulge! In one bite, you can savor the flavors of the flounder which match very well with the creamy egg yolk. The sauce, with its hint of garlic, follows and brings out the flavor of the fish even more. The texture of the flounder is just right and makes you want to continue bite after bite.
This is a traditional senbei-jiru from Hachinohe that comes when ordering a set meal at the store. Senbei-jiru is a soup that is made from a broth of meat, fish, vegetables, and shiitake mushrooms and is topped with special senbei crackers made with flour and salt. Standard senbei crackers are baked once for a hard, crispy texture, but the senbei for the senbei-jiru are cooked in the soup so they are soft when eaten.
The senbei-jiru comes in many variations based on the shop or households. At Minato Shokudo, the senbei-jiru had carrots, maitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and scallions. The broth was light and had a heartwarming flavor. The senbei crackers had an ever so crisp texture that was almost like a mochi rice cake.
The Minato Shokudo is slightly away from the city center but the flounder zukedon was definitely worth making a trip out of the city. Why not savor the best rice bowls around during your next visit to Aomori?
Address: Aomori, Hachinohe, Kubo Minato 45-1
Credit Cards: No
Menus in Other Languages: -
Nearest Station: JR Mutsuminato Station on the JR Hachinohe line
Access: 2-minute walk from Mutsuminato Station on the JR Hachinohe line
Price Range: 1000-2000 yen