Japanese cuisine Okami-san

To find the local “Tsugijiru” in Meiho area, Gujo-shi, I visit the “Okami-san” inside the Roadside Station “Meiho Surusumi-no-sato Park”

“Meiho Tomato Ketchup” you can find in supermarkets throughout Japan is made by “Meiho Ladies”. Every day they cook set lunch like, Meiho ham steak, Hida beef, tofu steak, “Omu-hayashi (Rice omelet with hashed beef sauce)”. Every one’s favorite dish is available here.

Gentle taste like mother’s dish

Gentle taste like mother’s dish

I order “Kei-chan set lunch” and “Fried Meiho ham curry rice” this time. You can choose how spicy your curry is. “Kei-chan” here is full of chicken, onion, cabbage, carrot and green pepper! Side dishes are home-made too. Curry contains thick Meiho ham and tomato, a local specialty, gives a rich taste.

Meiho local food3
Meiho local food4

During lunchtime on weekdays, the whole restaurant is filled with regular customers. They are attracted because of the gentle tastes like mother’s dish. The most important part of my journey this time, is the soup coming with the set lunch, “Tsugijiru”.

Local cuisine at Meiho Kansui area
Tasting “Tsugijiru”

The appearance of “Tsugijiru” is like “Sumashi-jiru (Clear soup)” with some small square cut tofu. So simple! After I taste one mouthful of it, I find that the soup stock is so tasty! But, a little bit spicy! It is my first time tasting this. You can refill one more bowl for free if you want! After having this tasty soup, I want to know more about the secret of making it and its history.

Meiho local food5
Meiho local food6

You need to boil Konbu (Seaweed), dried mushroom, Niboshi (Dried sardines) and fried Meiho Nanban (Red chili) altogether and add cut handmake tofu. Finally add some soy sauce and sugar for seasonings. You need to cut the tofu smaller so that water coming out form the tofu will not dilute the soup. That is why the flavor of this soup is so rich!

Meiho local food7
Meiho local food8
Meiho local food9

The origin of this “Tsugijiru” soup is not very clear. We only know that it is a local food from Meiho Kanomizu area, where Meiho Ladies located. There is a temple called Honkoji-temple. Believers come to the temple once a year for a Buddhist service. The temple served them with vegetable like boiled pumpkin, boiled Hijiki (Edible seaweed) and tofu etc. And also a bowl called “Takatakamanma” with 700g of rice and “Tsugijiru” soup.

“Tsugijiru” is pouring out with only one chopstick stirring a large pot called “Kittate”. People pass one to another, so it is called “Tsugijiru” means pouring and passing from one to another. Nowadays, people usually make this soup for wedding or funeral.

Meiho local food10
Meiho local food11

Recently people do not gather at home, therefore they seldom have chances to have “Tsugijiru”. For the locals, Okami-san’s soup is a nostalgic taste but if you taste it for the first time, you will find it so tasty. It is wonderful that you can feel the delicious local food with a bowl of soup in the set meal! You will definitely want to come again for the soup!

Meiho local food3 Meiho local food5 Meiho local food7 Meiho local food9 Meiho local food11
Meiho local food4 Meiho local food6 Meiho local food8 Meiho local food10
minokamo(Akiko Nagao)

minokamo (Akiko Nagao)

Come from Minokamo-shi, Gifu-ken. Local food researcher, photographer, illustrator. Bases on her memory of making food with her grandma, she starts holding events and producing menus using local ingredients to connect food with people. She also produces receipts which can be found in all kinds of media, makes menus for local stations, collects local food data throughout Japan, takes pictures and do writings. As a photographer, she also designs new menus and provides styling. She uses food as a conductor to make happiness. She is running a serial about seasonal food on Gifu Shimbun.

Photographs by minokamo