Jul 1, 2014
Sample the exquisite goodness of Sado’s produce through these scrumptious dishes.
What started as a common fisherman’s dish, ikagoro – squid fried with miso paste, butter, spices and goro (intestine of the squid) – has now become one of Sado’s specialties. It is available at Takeya, a charming restaurant run by an adorable and hospitable husband-wife team. Served with rice, a small dish of pickles and a bowl of miso soup, the ikagoro is prepared on your dining table via a portable cooker. It’s a simple dish with complex flavours, and its gravy goes amazingly well with rice – quite the comfort food, if we do say so ourselves!
Buckwheat noodles, or ogi soba, are a must-try in Sado for their unique flavour and method of eating. Traditionally made using a stone mill, the buckwheat flour adds a nutty flavour to the noodles. This flavour is enhanced by the accompaniment of tobiuo flying fish broth, which is poured over, not served as a dip for, the noodles. Shichiemon, a 220-year-old soba joint located near Ogi Harbour, serves only one type of hand-cut soba. As each serving is small, you’d likely end up ordering at least three bowls for yourself!
Located just across the famous Meoto-iwa “Husband and Wife” rock formation, the Meoto-iwa Drive Inn serves up a local dish known as Burikatsu-don (deep-fried yellowtail fish cutlet with rice). Prepared using 100-percent local produce – from the soy sauce to the yellowtail fish and koshihikari rice – Burikatsu-don is a refreshing change from the more popular katsu-don, pork cutlet rice. The special soy sauce that is drizzled over the fish cutlet perfectly complements the latter, which is crispy on the outside and flavourful on the inside.
With no shortage of fresh seafood in Sado all year round, you are bound to come across some genuinely good sushi restaurants throughout the island. Amidst the main shopping area in Sawata lies one such sushi joint: Riki Sushi. What this omakase-style restaurant lacks in space, it more than makes up for in its exceptionally tasty sushi, thanks to the sushi chef’s esoteric knowledge of seafood. Interestingly, not all seafood is served fresh. The abalone, for example, is boiled for hours until the meat becomes tender. Knowing when each type of seafood has reached its optimum time to be eaten – at its most enhanced texture and flavour – that is truly the mark of a great sushi master.
There is no denying that authenticity would always come up tops, but for these restaurants that dared to defy culinary norms, they bring to Sado a much-welcomed refreshing edge.
A must-visit is Kaifuso Inn at the quaint village of Seki. Inspired by the original curry rice served at the swanky Shiseido Parlour in Ginza, Tokyo, the chef whipped up his own version to inject an element of change into the local palate.
Meanwhile, Restaurant Seisuke, a strictly reservation-only restaurant, serves up a fusion of Italian, French and Japanese cuisines. The chef/owner, who used to own a French restaurant in Sydney, Australia, feels he can better express his creativity in Sado, what with the freedom to experiment with different kinds of fresh ingredients.
Lovers of all-things bread will adore Shima Fumi, a European-style bakery café that offers a plethora of mouthwatering baked goods.
428-1 Seki, Sado-city, Niigata 952-2203