Cities including Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka stand out as celebrated food regions in Japan, but much of the country's culinary bounty exists far outside these metropolises. Tohoku, in the northeastern part of Japan’s Honshu Island, is one such far-flung destination. Made up of six prefectures — Akita, Aomori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi and Yamagata — Tohoku is one of Japan’s prominent agricultural regions, famed for producing high-quality rice, fruit and beef.
Tohoku’s unique additions to Japanese culinary tradition take the form of dishes such as imoni, a soup of taro root and thinly sliced meats; sasakamaboko, steamed fish cakes with sweet wine wrapped in bamboo leaves; kiritanpo, gluten cakes on a stick, made during the first rice harvest; and the über-traditional wanko soba, a preparation of super-fresh soba noodles served one bite at a time consecutively in tens of little bowls.
Though it's typically a culinary region less explored by Westerners, Tohoku will come to Angelenos at Mitsuwa Marketplace’s Rising Tohoku Food Fair, a four-day celebration starting Aug. 20. The fair will feature an array of foods from each of Tohoku’s prefectures, including Sendai Kuroge Wagyu beef and traditional kiritanpo rice skewers.
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Make your way through the food section of the fair, then digest it all while taking in origami classes, traditional samurai, the Nebuta orchestra, Tohoku dances and crafts from portions of the region.
Rising Tohoku Food Fair runs from Thursday, Aug. 20., through Sunday, Aug. 23, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Mitsuwa Marketplace, 21515 S. Western Ave., Torrance; (310) 782-0335.