Rikuzentakata’s Local Flavor

One important facet of Japanese culture is the idea of the “local dish,” a delicious and local cuisine that draws hungry, curious tourists from all over the country. In Nagasaki, they have champon. In Hiroshima, they have okonomiyaki. And in Rikuzentakata, we have scallop and wakame shabu shabu, called “Hota Waka Go-Zen” by the locals.

Rikuzentakata’s scallop and wakame shabu shabu is a recent invention, born out of a collaborative effort among local chefs to create the perfect dish to utilize the area’s delicious local scallops and wakame seaweed. The result is a dining experience as unique as it is healthy and delicious.

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(photo courtesy of the Capital Hotel 1000)

The scallop and wakame shabu shabu is served on a giant tray (go-zen in Japanese). On the left is a wooden tower (made of locally sourced cedar) with three levels of scallops: three types of raw scallop sashimi on top, steamed giant scallop in the middle, and scallop and vegetable tempura on the bottom. Next to the tower is a mini grill on which diners can grill the steamed scallop to their desired texture, and next to that is a simmering pot of shabu shabu broth. The wakame (below the simmering pot) is meant to be swished for a few seconds in the broth and then dipped the sauce below. Once all the wakame has been swished and devoured, the leftover broth (now imbued with wakame flavor), can be poured over the ingredients in the soup bowl and sipped. The rest of the plate is occupied by a picked vegetable side dish, two more dipping sauces (one for the sashimi and one for the grilled scallop), a bowl of rice (local Takata no Yume brand), and a special wakame dessert that differs from restaurant to restaurant.

This dish is currently offered at four Rikuzentakata locations: at the restaurants Café Food Bar Waiwai and Rikumaru, and at the hotels Capital Hotel 100 and Hotel Sanyo. You’ll have to try it out at all of the locations in order to enjoy the subtle touches each chef employs to make the dish his own. Each location offers their scallop and wakame shabu shabu for ¥1,350 yen.

For more information (in Japanese), as well as pictures and video of the dish, please visit the designated website at http://rikuzentakata-hotatewakame.com/.

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