Basahi, Houtou, and Yamanakako

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 | 0 comments

                Some of Yuki's work associates from the US are in town this week, so on Monday (it was a national holiday) we took them sightseeing around Mt. Fuji and the 5 Lakes. Our first stop was for houtou, a regional dish that originated in Yamanashi prefecture. I may have mentioned it before, but it's a kind of udon: in this case, the noodles are quite large and flat. The dish also contains a lot of vegetables, all stewed in a thick miso broth. Optional ingredients at the restaurant we ate at included: pork, duck, extra mushrooms, and bear. Yep, bear could be had for the mere price of 4000 yen. The guys all opted for pork however, while I stuck with the basic vegetable dish.
  Also on the menu was raw horse meat. It's something of a delicacy in the mountain areas here, either offered as a sakura-don (horse meat over rice), or basashi, which is basically raw horse meat served sashimi style: thinly sliced and garnished with items such as Japanese radish, seaweed, and ginger. Basashi is usually dipped in soy sauce, in the same manner as regular fish sashimi.
  The temptation to try raw horse meat proved to be stronger than our guests' doubts about the idea, so they ordered a serving of it. And...they both really liked it! It is apparently very soft and not at all chewy, although I'm taking at their word on that one. The idea of eating a horse still really bothers me, even though I eat pork and beef occasionally so am admittedly being hypocritical about the concept. Still...poor horse!

                               Lake Yamanaka (Yamanakako)