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  • Americans are so polite.

  • All of us!

  • I do think Americans are more polite than British people sometimes.

  • Yeah.

  • And friendlier.

  • Definitely friendlier.

  • A lot of British people aren’t very friendly though are they?

  • No were horrible.

  • Absolutely horrible.

  • Japan is home to arguably the finest cuisine in the world.

  • Prepared with the freshest ingredients

  • At the hands of some of the the world’s most disciplined chefs.

  • Now all we have to do now is get out there and eat it all - which is a sacrifice, I’m willing to make.

  • I recently won a competition called Tohoku 365

  • To travel around the entire northern region of Tohoku, through 6 different prefectures

  • In search of the very best local food.

  • In the last episode we explored Miyagi prefecture, eating our way through 6 delicious must try local dishes.

  • 6 prefectures.

  • 6 dishes.

  • There seems to be a worrying pattern emerging around the number 6.

  • This week were continuing our journey around to Iwate prefecture, Japan’s second biggest prefecture

  • Where I’ll be catching up with Natsuki and trying one of my favourite Japanese dishes

  • And meeting a local expat from America, wholl be showing us around one of Iwate’s biggest street markets.

  • But like all good trips, we start off with a bucket of Genghis Khan

  • Like the Mongolian dictator?

  • What.

  • I won’t lie, I was pretty excited when I heard of a local dish in Iwate, called Genghis Khan.

  • I was even more excited to discover the dish involves barbequed lamb

  • A meat which is pretty rare to find in Japan.

  • Despite the name Genghis Khan is a Japanese dish

  • It got its name as Japanese people commonly associated Mongolia with sheep.

  • And naturally it made sense to name the dish after a historic dictator from the same country.

  • My only criticism was the dish didn’t come with a side of Chairman Mao.

  • It’s the only time that I’ve had lamb in Japan.

  • Lamb is actually my favourite meat, but I’ve done without it since living in Japan.

  • It’s nice to finally get hold of some - and cook it on a bucket.

  • The best place in Iwate to enjoy Genghis Kan, is the countryside town of Tono.

  • It turns out people in Tono like to wander off into the countryside for bbq’s

  • And the bucket is their answer to a portable bbq.

  • What I like about this is you put the lamb on top and the fat on top

  • And then the juices run down into the vegetables on the side to give them a meaty flavour.

  • And youve got this sauce here which is soy sauce mixed with ginger

  • That goes really well with the lamb.

  • Very good.

  • The future is buckets.

  • With a population of 300,000 Morioka might not be a large city by Japanese standards,

  • but it’s certainly bustling with character.

  • And as luck would luck would have it, I’ve managed to find myself a tour guide; a local

  • American expatriate called Quinlan, who I’ve met through Airbnb.

  • It’s worked out pretty well as he’s kindly offered to show us around the Morioka’s bustling street market.

  • Glorious American hospitality.

  • I’d recommend getting some of these.

  • Youre hungry right?

  • I’ll get five of these.

  • One of the most popular stands in the market is a stall selling smoked goods.

  • Mr Toyama sells a variety of food that’s he professionally smoked himself

  • Ranging from fish to vegetables and even cheese.

  • And it's not long before I’ve snapped up a plateful of smoked camembert.

  • He’s got a lot of smoked internal organs if youre feeling adventurous.

  • Smoked internal organs?

  • Yeah.

  • That sounds appealing

  • I think I’ll stick with the cheese.

  • Yeah I’m with you.

  • It’s funny I always talk about how there’s no cheese in Japan and yet weve found cheese

  • in Miyagi prefecture and now cheese in Iwate prefecture as well.

  • Clearly I’m wrong.

  • I haven’t been looking hard enough for the last 4 years.

  • I could take you to see cows tomorrow?

  • If youre still entranced

  • What an offer!

  • There’s some dairy farms around here.

  • I could take you to see some cows tomorrow.

  • That’d be a great chat up line!

  • How would you like to see some cows?

  • I can take you tomorrow.

  • With that dashing accent, definitely.

  • Americans are so polite.

  • All of us!

  • 100% of the time.

  • I do think Americans are more polite than British people sometimes.

  • Yeah.

  • And friendlier.

  • Definitely friendlier.

  • A lot of British people aren’t very friendly though are they?

  • No were horrible.

  • Absolutely horrible.

  • So what’s this Quinlan?

  • That is a Tofu Dengaku.

  • What does Dengaku mean?

  • Lightening study.

  • No, it means smeared with Miso and then fried or grilled.

  • I like the sound of lightening study.

  • So Tofu with miso smeared on it, cooked over charcoal.

  • Like a Tofu lollipop.

  • It’s very salty.

  • Tofu is flavourless, so it’s nice to have a bit of flavour on it.

  • It’s coming off.

  • Quite healthy?

  • Yeah Tofu’s healthy.

  • This is a Vegans dream - a tofu lollipop, and it’s slowly going down the stick.

  • Not the easiest thing to eat.

  • Being a Vegan isn’t easy.

  • Being a Vegan isn’t easy!

  • Having officially lived a difficult life as a vegan - for 90 seconds

  • I’m going in search of Morioka’s most famous food.

  • Morioka might not be huge, but it still has quite the culinary identity

  • The city is well known for it’s three famous noodle dishes; each of them surprisingly different.

  • You might already know the first noodle dish, Wankosoba.

  • Wankosoba is less of a dish, more of a hardcore challenge

  • Whereby you're given an unlimited amount of buckwheat soba noodles served in tiny bowls

  • And have to basically shot them continuously until you either give up or are physically sick.

  • It's said that a real man should be able to eat 100 bowls

  • Which I was able to do when I challenged my friend Ryotaro on a trip last year.

  • For more details on Wankosoba, and to see who won the challenge, be sure to check out our video.

  • The second type of noodle was named after your favourite Star Wars character.

  • That's right, Jajamen, and no I'm not making that name up.

  • Jajamen is a dish comprised of thick noodles, similar to udon, covered with a meaty miso sauce and cucumber.

  • My first impression upon trying it was "It's the closest thing I've had in Japan to spaghetti bolognese".

  • But as well as being named after your favourite Star Wars character, it's also a 2 in 1 dish.

  • Once you finished 2/3 of the bowl, hand it over to shop staff who will add the hot water

  • used to cook the noodles, and convert the dish into a soup called Chi Tantan.

  • It's honestly one of the most unique and delicious dishes I've had in Japan so far.

  • The last of the 3 famous noodles is Reimen, a cold noodle dish originally from Korea.

  • The noodles are rubbery in texture and somewhat translucent, with the cold soup served typically

  • with beef, kimchi, cucumber, and a piece of fresh fruit.

  • In my case, watermelon.

  • Yay, watermelon.

  • The soup is a little bit spicy, hence the fresh fruit to soothe your mouth.

  • But for me, the best of the 3 great noodle dishes of Morioka has to be Jajamen

  • Not just because it brought back nostalgic memories of my favourite Star Wars character

  • But because it's like nothing I've had in Japan before with the thick meaty miso sauce

  • Being the perfect combination with the thick noodles.

  • There's no better way to end your day with a bowl of Jajamen, and a bucket of Genghis Khan.

  • Food with names.

  • I've been looking forward to this all week: visiting restaurant Wakana, one of Morioka's top Teppanyaki restaurants.

  • There are 2 ways of preparing beef in Japan.

  • First is through a hotpot called Sukiyaki.

  • The second is Teppanyaki, which literally translates as iron plate grill.

  • And in my opinion, Teppanyaki is the best way to enjoy wagyu beef.

  • Oh, it's really cool we got our own little dining area.

  • Our own little walled off dining area.

  • Like a garden or something, with a big brick wall.

  • The highlight of Teppanyaki is the sense of theatre.

  • We'd have our own personal chef cooking us a succulent cut of Maesawa beef

  • Iwate's most famous beef, and amongst the top 5 cuts of beef in all Japan.

  • Maesawa beef, you know?

  • Maesawa beef, it's art, and the world.

  • I say theatre, it can also feel a bit like torture.

  • Watching the juicy cut of steak being prepared in front of you for 20 minutes.

  • Finally, the steak is sliced into bite sized chunks

  • And served with a spicy chili miso sauce.

  • Eating the steak is a sensation difficult to put into words

  • But fortunately weve got Natsuki on hand to deliver his premium verdict.

  • Before I try it, I want to see how Natsuki reacts.

  • 1 to 10?

  • Maybe 10.

  • 10?

  • 10!

  • In one word - one English word - how would you describe it?

  • Justice delicious!

  • That’s two words

  • Justice delicious!

  • That doesn’t make sense! Justice delicious

  • Oh number one!

  • Tohoku number 1.

  • Justice delicious.

  • You heard it here first, Maesawa beef.

  • Not justice!

  • Trust me!

  • Trust you.