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I love Japanese food. I was introduced to Japanese cuisine a bit late in life, but now, well, ramen has become one of my favorite comfort foods, I can keep up with the guys when eating all-you-can-eat yakiniku, I love lingering around my favorite supermarket near closing time to buy discounted sushi, and I even like to watch Japanese cooking shows like Dotchi even though it’s pure torture. Still, authentic Japanese cuisine served in their native regions would be, like, the ultimate way to experience it, right? That’s why one of my biggest dreams is to trek through Japan, visiting as many prefectures as I can, and sampling as many local delicacies as I can…

Naturally, I’ve been reading up on Japan’s culinary traditions; so here are several uncommon dishes that I can’t wait to try…

Uni, Ikura-don in Hokkaido: a rice bowl, one half covered with ikura (salmon roe) and the other with uni (sea urchin). I mean, two of the best types of seafood in one dish? Come on...

Ichigoni in Aomori: a stew made with sea urchin and abalone. The name literally means ‘strawberry stew’, but it refers to the dish’s pinkish tint.

Gyuutan Yaki in Miyagi: roast cow tongue… it doesn’t get any better than this…

Kiritanpo nabe in Akita: the prefecture’s signature hot pot dish which is super popular…

Tamago konyaku in Yamagata: balls of konyaku (which has virtually zero calories) served in various ways.

Kurikinton in Gifu: mashed sweet potatoes with chestnuts. Sounds delicious…

Kamo nabe in Shiga: a hot pot dish dominated by duck. Lean meat is good for you, right?

Okonomiyaki in Osaka: almost like a savory pancake with various ingredients like shredded cabbage, octopus, squid, shrimp, and meat. There are quite a few versions, but Osaka’s is one of the best, along with Hiroshima’s okonomiyaki

Kobe beef in Hyogo: need I say more?

Matsubangani in Tottori: snow crab, which can be prepared in a multitude of ways, including as the famous kanijuu or crab soup.

Actually, there are dozens of other dishes I’d love to include in this list, but writing them down only makes me hungrier… ;)

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