Eating up Akita


_DSC7152Have you heard of the word “Tempura” before?

When it comes to Japanese fried cuisine, besides “Karaage”, many of you might think of “Tempura”. In Japan, from vegetables such as pumpkin, eggplant to seafoods such as shrimp and calamari, almost every ingredient can be made into “Tempura”. However, in Yuwa district, Akita Prefecture, there’s a farmer restaurant called Yuunaya using special ingredient for making the “Tempura”. Now, we’re going to introduce this special restaurant for you and teach everyone how to make “Tempura” cuisine easily by yourself._DSC7068_DSC7036Yuunaya – Farmer’s restaurant
Driving fifteen minutes away from the Akita airport, you might notice a extraordinary cabin sit along the countryside. Step on the stairs, open the door, and what fold out before your eyes is a space with warmth. The smell of delicious cuisines flied through the transparent kitchen located at the right handside, filling the air. Welcome to Yuunaya!

According to Ikuko Asano, the owner of Yuunaya, the restaurant is located at the second floor since she hopes people who come to this restaurant can enjoy brilliant countryside sceneries when having the meals. As the first farmer restaurant of Yuwa district, the original goal of Yuunaya is quite simple: “Using local ingredients base on different seasons to provide handmade cuisines, and interact with people through this process.” Yuunaya not only makes delicious cuisine out of the ingredients cultivated by themselves but also uses wild vegetables picked from the mountains._DSC7046_DSC6953Today’s menu depends on Mom
The menu is simple and made out of wood, and the names of the cuisines blow people’s minds. One of which called “ Today’s menu depends on Mom.” is recommended for those who visits for the first time. What make the “Tempura” of Yuunaya special is the use of wild vegetables. The just fired Tempura suits the best with the maccha salt. When putting in mouth, the crispy sounds dance along with the freshness born from the ingredients. The main dish is called Moroheiya noodle, which is the main feature of this restaurant and can be provided in different ways including warm and cold. The owner, in order to provide cuisines beneficial to people’s health, planted the Moroheiya in organic ways, making them into noodles.

“Making local ingredients into season cuisines” is one of the main spirit of Yuunaya. The bond between human, local, and food can be found also by the name of this restaurant. The word “yu” comes from the word “Yuwa”, telling people that “We are from Yuwa district.” And the word “na”, which means vegetables in Japanese, represents the Moroheiya, the symbol of Yuunaya. People ask, what can we do in Akita? After enjoying the fresh farmer cuisines at Yuunaya, I would say, besides touring around Tazawa lake, taking a dip of Nyuto hot spring, the trip to Akita is not completed only if you take a visit to Yuunaya!

_DSC7084_DSC7122The delicious Tempura comes from good water
After the visit to Yuunaya, we are going to make a Tempura by ourselves. However, in order to make delicious Tempura coats, first, we need to find clean, cool water. Fortunately, there’s a natural spring near by AIU. Rumor has it that those who drink the spring water become beauties. One kind of wild vegetables named after “Mizu” (water) are found during our way. It’s said that it can only be found nearby clean, natural spring. After getting the Spring, we found some baby bamboos and Mizu at a weekend farm market for the Tempura cooking. Let’s go to the kitchen now!

There are three main steps for making Tempura. Cutting the ingredients, making Tempura coats and last step is frying. We first separated the roots and leafs of “Mizu”. The roots, after boiled, can be eaten with soy sauce. The leaf, on the other hand, is for making the Tempura. Next is the making of Tempura coat. We mixed Tempura power (purchased from the super market) with spring water together, and dip the ingredients inside. When the oil temperature came to 190c, we could start the frying process. As the coat color of Tempura turns into half yellow, half white, the frying process is completed. Enjoy the fresh Tempura with salt or if you prefer, soy sauce. The moment putting the delicious Tempura into your mouth, you’ll be amazed by its flavor and realize: once you want, everyone can be the master of Tempura!

Written by Yen Yi Han