What are Kaga Vegetables?
Kaga Vegetables and Kaga Kutani vegetables are produced in the lush nature surrounding Mt. Hakusan, overlooking the Japan Sea. Kanazawa which is literally translated to Marsh of Gold in Japanese, has prospered for generations as a producer of gold since the sixteenth century, becoming a center of arts and food culture since the time of ruling Kaga Clan.
In recent years, farmers in Kanazawa City and Kaga City in Ishikawa Prefecture have once again began producing local native vegetables. Native vegetables grown in Kanzawa City Which have been produced since 1945, are known as Kaga Vegetables, and the native vegetables grown locally in Kaga City are branded as Kaga Kutani Vegetables.
Three original varieties of Kaga Vegetables with a unique flavor
There are 15 different vegetables recognised by Kanazawa City Agricultural Association of Name-Brand as Kaga brand vegetables. These include Kaga Sweet Potato, Kaga Renkon (Lotus Root), Kagafuto Cucumber, Hetamurasaki Eggplant, Gensuke Radish and Utsugi Akagawa Amaguri Squash, each having its own unique shape and color.
As the delicate sweetness of Kaga vegetables are accentuated when cooked, the Kaga Sweet Potato is especially suitable for tempura and even in making sweets.
Hetamurasaki Eggplant is a small, brightly colored, oval shaped eggplant. It is often used in noodle dishes in the region such as So-men (thin wheat noodles) due to its thin outer skin and soft texture when boiled with the noodles.
The striking bright orange color of the Utsugi Akagawa Amaguri Squash and firm texture make it particularly suited in making a deliciously thick soup.
Kaga City’s recently popular Kaga Parfait
Known for its Onsens (or Natural Hot Springs), Kaga City’s special Parfait desert is recently very popular with visitors. It is a tall, five layer parfait made with colorful, locally produced Kaga Kutani Vegetables. The parfait has become a very popular menu item among both locals and tourists to Kaga City with more than ten thousand parfaits sold since sales began in March 2016
There are 16 guidelines that need to be complied with to be officially certified as a Kaga Parfait, one of those being the price of 980 yen (or about $9US). Each layer of the parfait uses coloured jellies and sponge cakes made with locally produced vegetables. There are six shops offering official Kaga Parfaits, each with their own version, such as the Ajihei Squash Parfait or the Cream Parfait offered at Katayamazu Hot Spring resort.
The dishes used to serve the parfait are the noted, locally produced Kutani Yaki (or Kutani Potery), using traditional methods.
Traditional Japanese Sweets shop, Nakagawa,well known for its Traditional Sweet called Mitsugashi.
There are various kinds of preserved Kaga vegetables that are used in the making of Traditional Japanese sweets. As this technique, called Mitsugashi (or Honey Pickle), does not use any additives or preservatives the true freshness and flavour of the vegetable is retained, allowing traditional sweet makers to use even Utsugi Akagawa Amaguri Squash and Gentsuke Daikon Radish in there products.
Nakagawa Higashiyama main shop
The Nakagawa Traditional Japanese Sweet Shop can be found at Higashiyama 1 Chome-1-15, Kanazawa City, Ishikawa.
It is a 3 minute walk from Hashibacho bus stop on the Hokuriku Tetsudo Jyoka Loop Bus Line
Each region’s cuisine is influenced by the traditional vegetables grown locally, some of which are quite different to vegetables commonly available. Visitors that make the effort to visit places such as Kanazawa and Kaga will surely find the various diverse regional cuisines using local traditional vegetables quite different from the standard Washoku dishes (Tradtional Japanese food) found in the other major cities.