Local Food Specialties of Chiba Prefecture
Japanese Food & Cuisine
In this article, I’d like to introduce the world-renowned food of Japan, specifically the local specialties of Chiba Prefecture. I’m actually currently living in Chiba, and I spend most weekends visiting different places in the prefecture and trying out various food. My family also loves eating out. While the article contains many subjective opinions, they are based on my personal experience, and I hope you will find it useful and interesting.
Chiba Local Specialty: Peanuts
If you ask Japanese people the first thing that comes to their mind when they think of Chiba, many of them would probably say peanuts. As a matter of fact, Chiba is the largest producer of peanuts in Japan, accounting for 78% of production in the country.
While peanuts are delicious as is when boiled or roasted, there are also some interesting flavor variations in Chiba, including sugared peanuts or peanuts in miso sauce. In some shops, you may even find peanuts flavored with butter, green tea powder (matcha), or coffee. As for my family, we just love peanut butter. Chiba’s peanut products are also great as souvenirs, so why not buy some for your friends or family?
Chiba Local Specialty: Namero
Another local Chiba specialty is namero. A lot of people have probably never eaten or even heard about namero. Namero is a traditional dish of the Boso Peninsula, originally invented by fishermen as a meal they can prepare and eat while out in the sea. It is made from chopped and pounded mackerel, horse mackerel, Pacific saury, or other local fish, seasoned with ginger and marinated in miso. It is said that the name namero (which means “lick” in Japanese) comes from the fact that it is so delicious, you will want lick the plate clean.
While namero can be delicious as is with some soy sauce, you can also enjoy it as a namero-don rice bowl. One grilled variation of namero is called Sangayaki, and features namero stuffed into an abalone shell and wrapped with a shiso leaf.
Chiba Local Specialty: Asari Clams
Clam digging is a popular activity in the beaches of Chiba, and my family and I have tried it many times. Many people in Chiba love asari clams, so much that there’s even a Chiba Prefecture mascot character called “Asari-kun”.
When in Chiba, you should definitely try the asari clam dishes. One of my favorites is “asari gohan” or steamed rice with asari clams. In one restaurant I visited in Kisarazu (a place famous for clam digging), the asari gohan had plenty of large lobes of clams. It was a truly delicious and fulfilling dish. Another recommendation is miso soup with asari clams. Some less common but tasty dishes include asari clam kakiage (a kind of tempura) and asari clam kushiage (deep fried skewers).
In this article, I talked about some of the local food specialties of Chiba Prefecture. My personal favorite and a definite recommendation is the asari gohan. Asari gohan in Chiba has large, succulent lobes of clams, and its savory flavor permeates throughout the rice. The next time you’re in Chiba and you’re looking for something to eat, I hope you can try some of the dishes I introduced in this article.