What to Eat in Toyama
With Toyama cuisine one of the cornerstones of the region’s culture, there is no shortage of delicious grub on offer. Its proximity to the ocean makes the seafood dishes unmissable, while the cold weather has aided the perfection of heart-warming soups and sweets.
The award-winning Toyama black ramen never fails to impress its consumers thanks to the rich flavor and unique appearance. Acquiring its name from the dark broth the noodles are served in, the saltiness of the black soy sauce base is offset with a light broth that renders the soup a satisfying dish with perfectly balanced flavors. Nishi-cho Taiki is a restaurant in the south of Toyama City that offers bar seating and serves up generous portions of soup whose noodles are topped with delicious slices of chashu pork, spring onions and bamboo shoots.
Masuzushi Circular Sushi
Toyama’s answer to a soggy sandwich to munch on the train is unsurprisingly somewhat more sophisticated with the circular masuzushi pressed into a bamboo leaf before being packaged. Topped with salt-pickled trout, expect something quite different to the standard fresh sashimi found in sushi shops. Masuzushi makes for a wholesome snack that is served up in some restaurants around Toyama Prefecture but is most commonly bought on the train or at the train station. The Masu no Sushi Toyama chain is found at two addresses in Takaoka and one in Uozu and offers variations on the standard sushi snack with prices starting at 1,400 yen.
White shrimp, or shiro ebi as they’re known in Japanese, are exclusive to Toyama Prefecture with the skinny pale shrimp found nowhere else in the world but Toyama Bay. Referred to as the jewel of Toyama Bay, shiro ebi are one of the most pricey fish in the area due to the small amount of fish caught every year but they are an easy dish to get your hands on if you’re in the region between April and November. For all things shiro ebi, head to the Shiroebi-tei restaurant. A favorite among locals of Toyama City, the long thin shrimp can be eaten raw over rice from 2,480 yen or as tempura for a more affordable about 1,260 yen.
There is something about green cuisine that makes us subconsciously believe it’s healthy. Toyama’s green ramen stays true to the myth with a healthy dose of spinach used to give the ramen its characteristic green glow. The noodle soup is stewed for hours in a tasty tonkotsu pork broth and topped with melt in your mouth pork seasoned with yuzu pepper, spring onions, more spinach and optional red salty miso sauce on the side.
While hunting down green ramen can be a bit of a mission, we recommend making a beeline for Manyo no Sato, a five-minute drive from Nishi-Takaoka Station. The green ramen can be bought for a reasonable 800 yen from the building’s food hall.
Kankontan Custard-filled Cakes
To complete the Toyama gastronomical experience, a box of Kankontan is the icing on the cake. While this cake is icing-free, it offers a trifecta of textures with a creamy custard inside enveloped in a spongy cake which is crisp on the outside. Specializing in Toyama sweets, Lis Blanc found in Toyama City is one of the best spots to guarantee the fluffiest cakes with the creamiest interiors whether the Kankontan are a gift or an afternoon snack for yourself.