A place to stay; a base camp; from where we could easily access the famous gasshō-zukuri (合掌造り) village of Shirakawa-gō (白川郷), and also go skiing at the many different skiing stations around; that was Takayama, on the planning board A peek at a small part of the town, changed everything, with whatever plan that was made. Takayama; with its old town, and temples and a bundle of goodness, strikes a chord with your inner self, and keeps you from going off. But all that is written (here), and this post is all about food.
It was lunch time, when we reached Takayama. After finding the hostel, we went on the look for a restaurant. A nice looking soba restaurant was chosen; zeroing in on the place was easy; especially with our strict protocol, ‘a crowded place, with a long waiting line, has got good food’. (I don’t remember the restaurant names, for, I never thought, I would be writing this down.) The corn butter soba, with the famous Hida Beef topping was the star attraction here.
For dinner, it was a very small Japanese/Chinese restaurant. It was here we fell in love with Takayama food. The food was freshly made, and served with a smile. The fried imo (yam) that was served as a starter was mind-boggling. Then came the main dishes, very very crispy karage (chicken), the best ever ebi-chilly I’ve ever had, and gyozas. Onigiris and imo fries kept coming as accompaniments. They also served hot osake.
Day 2 was all about street food. The owara tamaten, the hida beef skewers, the different flavoured beans, the many different kind of pickles, the hida beef maans, the rice crackers with special soy sauce on them… well the list goes on. What made the food more tasty was the way it was served, always with a smile. The making of the food, involved a lot of care and attention to detail, an art by itself, was pleasing to the eye too. The hida beef sashimi counters were all crowded to the max and sold sashimi which were equally pleasing to the eye and the palate.
Lunch at a katsu restaurant, and dinner at the lamen place, were all a similar experiences; awesome food served with an even more awesome smile.