FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (9)-12019/04/15（Mon）
♪ Although Kagawa prefecture is the narrowest prefecture in Japan, there is plains in half of the prefecture. So, many agricultural products can be harvested. There is more than 14,000 ponds because there is little rainfall and no big river. On the other hand, Kagawa prefecture faces the Seto Inland Sea (“Setonaikai” in Japanese) and has more than 110 islands, so this prefecture is abundant in seafood.
♪ The vegetables and fruits that can be taken in Kagawa prefecture are lettuce, onion, broccoli, hassaku orange, citrus iyo (“Iyokan” in Japanese), loquat (“Biwa” in Japanese) and olive. Marine products such as anchovy (“Katakuchiiwashi” in Japanese), whitebait (“Shirasu” in Japanese), sandlance (“Ikanago” in Japanese) and octopus are abundantly landed at fishing ports in the prefecture.
♪ There are many special products in Kagawa prefecture. Among them, the presentative one of brand specialities is an "Udon noodle" which is said to be "Sanuki Udon", because about 70% of tourists visiting Kagawa prefecture answerd “Sanuki Udon” against the question “What is the attraction of Kagawa prefecture ?”. “Sanuki” is the old name of Kagawa prefecture.
☆The time when “Sanuki Udon” had become to be widely known to common people was in 1700 in the Edo period since “Sanuki Udon” was served to worshipers to “Kotohira Shrine” at Kotohira town in Kagawa prefecture. Since “Sanuki Udon” has been introduced on television and books in the late 1990’s, it has become a big boom. This big boom has triggered the rapid expansion of the production of the Udon.
☆The noodles of "Sanuki Udon" are made by mixing wheat flour and salt. And dried young sardine (“Iriko” in Japanese) is used for the soup (“Iriko-dashi” in Japanese) when eating "Sanuki Udon". We use salt that can be harvested in the salt fields of Sakaide region and anchovy (“Katakuchiiwashi” in Japanese) that can be harvested from Ibukijima Island and nearby islands.Further, soy saurce (“Shoyu” in Japanese) was used for the soup, which was abundantly made in “Shodoshima” Island. Thus, the conditions supporting the production and taste of "Sanuki Udon" were completed.
☆The characteristics of "Sanuki Udon" whose noodle is composed of wheat flour, salt and water only as ingredients.The extended noodles are thick cut. Although feeling of noodle texture is soft, the noodle shows stiffness and crunchy when chewed.
☆"Sanuki Udon" is basically made by hand-made method through all making process. Here,we will show simply the making process. Mix wheat flour, salt and water together. Then, the mixture is formed into a dumpling shape. The dumpling is placed on a board and put a vinyl sheet on it. And then step on the vinyl cover using a heel for about 10 minutes to flatten the dumpling. During stepping process, air in the noodle escapes, and surface of the noodle becomes smooth. To ripen the flattened noodle, it keeps at more than room temperature at least 1 hour in summer or 3 hours in winter. And then, the noodle is further flattened using rolling pin. In the following cutting process, the flattened noodle is cut with kitchen knife into 3～4 mm of width. Finally, after the noodle was loosened with both hands, making of “Sanuki Udon” noodle is completed. Although the mechanical method for mass production of the noodle has been applied, hand-made method is said to be more acceptable for customers.
♪ There is an island called “Shodoshima” in Kagawa prefecture. “Shodoshima” is an Island and is important place from the viewpoint of food culture.This island is the 19th largest island in Japan. The climate is similar to the Mediterranean climate. As agricultural products taken from “Shodoshima”, plums, oranges, olives and shiitake mushroom etc. Because this island is surrounded by sea, it is abundant in marine products.
♪ “Production of olive is rare thing in Japan. In addition to olives, soy sauce (“Shoyu” in Japanese) and “Somen” noodle are special products of “Shodoshima”. Next may be described on “Shodoshima Olive”.
☆In order to cultivate olive, seedlings of olive were imported from France to Japan in the 1860s first, and planted in Yokosuka, but the cultivation was failed. After that, the Seedlings were imported from the United States and planted them in three prefectures of Mie, Kagoshima and Kagawa. As a result ,the cultivation was successful in only “Shodoshima” of Kagawa prefecture. In “Shodoshima” has had a dry climate with soil which are well drained and breathable. These conditions were suitable for the olive cultivation. Therefore, olive cultivation in “Shodoshima” has grown.
♪ ”Shoyu” is also a special product at “Shodoshima”. In order to construct castle for Hideyoshi Toyotomi in Osaka, stone materials were carried from “Shodoshima”. At that time, stone craftsmen from “Shodoshima” learned how to make “Shoyu” from the people of “Kishu” which is old name of Wakayama prefecture. This was happened in arround 1600.
☆The reason why “Shoyu” production was grown in “Shodoshima” is that salt making was popular there, soy beans were carried from northern Kyushu, and there is pure water in the island. Further, additional reason may be that at the end of Edo period, “Shodoshima Shoyu” was well sold in Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe which were large consumption areas. The most obvious feature of “Shodoshima Shoyu” is exellent “Umami” taste.
♪ “Shodoshima Tenobe Somen” is a “Somen” noodle of “Shodoshima” by hand-stretched method which is a local special product. The beginning of “Shodoshima Tenobe Somen” is said to get how to make “Somen” noodles from Miwa in Yamato (old name of Nara prefecture) by a man of Shodoshima who went to “ Ise Shrine” for worshipping in 1593.
☆At “Shodoshima”, wheat, salt and sesame oil (the best sesame oil was made for making noodles), those which are the raw material of “Shodoshima Tenobe Somen”, can be obtained. In addition, there is an abundance of fresh water essential for making the noodles. Furthermore, the climate of “Shozushima”, which is with a lot of fine weather and clean and plenty of rain were as suitable for drying and maturation of the noodle. By the way,"three big Somen noodles of Japan ("Nihon no Sandai Somen” in Japanese) are ”Somens” of "Banshu (old name of Hyogo prefecture)", "Miwa in Nara prefecture" and "Shodoshima".
♪ Kagawa prefecture is full of warm weather, good scenery, history, foods and more. Please visit the prefecture including “Shodoshima” because the island has a unique culture.
♪ Tokushima prefecture is rich in water resources because of the existence of large rivers such as Yoshino, Katsuura and Nakagawa rivers. Therefore, many vegetables, fruits and flowers are harvested. And since this prefecture faces the Pacific Ocean and Kii Channel (“Kii Suido” in Japanese), there are plenty of marine products.
♪ Among specialities in Tokushima prefecture, “Sudachi (citrus fruit)”, “Naruto Kintoki “ (sweet potato) and “Wasanbon (Japanese sugar) ” are especially noteworthy local products. So, next section may be described about these.
♪ There are wild “Sudachi” in Tokushima prefecture and some are more than 200 years old trees. “Sudachi” is a citrus fruit which is called to be the flavourful acid citrus. The history of “Sudachi” cultivation dates back to the Edo period, and was used as a seasoning for sushi and side dishes.
☆The start of commercial production of “Sudachi” began in 1956 in order to break the decline of the sericulture industry and sweet potato cultivation in Kamiyama town. Production of “Sudachi” gradually increased in the 1960s. In the 1970s, the introduction of house cultivation established the shipping system of the production area. Originally it was suitable for the cultivation of ‟Sudachi” that the temperature difference between day and night is large and there is a lot of rain.
☆While production of “Unshu Orange (”Unshu Mikan” in Japanese)” was sluggish, in 1979, the prefecture embarked on a policy to support the conversion “Unshu Mikan” to “Sudachi”. As a result of the support, “Sudachi”cultivation area was greatly expanded.
☆Cut "Sudachi", shredded “Sudachi”’s skin and the squeezed “Sudachi”’s fruit have unique acidity and aroma. So, they are added to any kind of Japanese and Western cuisines to emit elegant flavour. In addition, they are also used to create high-class flavour for noodles, alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, etc. It is said that this sudachi has been in Awa (old name of Tokushima prefecture) since mythological age, including “Tachibana” in Japanese which is the ancestor of “Sudachi”.
☆”Naruto Kintoki" is a sweet potato with a bright golden color.The main production area of “Naruto Kintoki” is a sandy area with well-drained, warm and low-raining crimate.This sweet potato tastes elegantly sweet . The sweet potato is rich in vitamins, minerals and dietary fibers. The history of “Naruto Kintoki” is rather new. “Naruto Kintoki” was born in 1979 as an improved species of sweet potato called “Takanawa No.14”. Now biotechnology technique is used to further improve the quality. ”Naruto Kintoki” are used cuisines such as simmered, steamed, tempura cooking and baked Potato . Although it can be eaten directly, it is also used to food materials for sweets And ‟Potato Shochu (“Imo Shochu”in Japanese” (an alcoholic drink). Please try to feel soft and flaky texture (Hokuhoku-kan) of this sweet potato by all means.
☆“Awa Wa San Bon To ” is the sugar which is produced from a sugarcane native to Japan for over 200 years, and this is called ”Banboo Sugar ("Chikuto"in Japanese)”. This sugar cane is taken in parts of Tokushima and Kagawa prefectures. By the way, for the word, ”Awa Wa San Bon To”, some explanation may be required, because even Japanese can not understand this word. Let’s break this word into pieces. “Awa” means “Tokushima”, similarly, “Wa” ”Japanese”, ”San” “Three”, “Bon” “Tray”, and “To” “Sugar”.
☆ Because this sugar cane is Japan-specific sugar cane, therefore “Wa” is used. Crude sugar was refined by grinding with water “three times”. Hence this is to use “San”. This refining process is performed on a tray (this is showed as “Bon”). And this sugar cane was able to harvest in Tokushima. So, "Awa “ was used. “Awa Wa San Bon” was come from by combining these.
♪ Although this sugar is used in a various foods, in the case of use for making Japanese confectionery, it may bring out the best of this sugar.
♪ There is “Awa Odori (“Awa Dance” in Japanese)” which is a famous Bon festival dance in Tokushima. “Bon” is a traditional event to welcome the spirits of ancestors, so it takes in August. Many dancing groups participate in the event, and each group marches the main street of Tokushima city with unique dancing choreography. And competes for good or bad of the dance. You must see “Awa Odori” when visit Tokushima and at that time, please feel the food culture of Tokushima prefecture including local cuisines and sweets.
Refer to FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (9)-2 (Ehime and Kochi Prefectures).
Refer to FOOD CULTURE ANECDOTES Part 1 (8)-2 (Okayama, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi Prefectures).