Kagawa is so famous for its udon (thickly cut noodles) that it is also known as Udon prefecture. As well as udon, there are tonnes of other gourmet gems here that local people know and love. Kagawa enthusiasts keep coming back to enjoy the huge range of hidden gourmet hotspots. This is a comprehensive guide to some little-known places serving Kagawa’s gastronomic specialties that all the locals are talking about! Here, we will be introducing our particular recommendations: honetsukidori (chicken-on-the-bone), oiri sofuto (candy covered soft-serve ice cream), and olives.
1. Ikkaku’s honetsukidori (chicken-on-the-bone)
Honetsukidori is a simple dish made with chicken leg grilled on the bone. It is said to have originated in Marugame city. The long-established Ikkaku restaurant in Marugame was inspired by the roast chicken that appeared in Hollywood movies. Nowadays, honetsukidori is a menu staple in a host of local restaurants but Ikkaku is the most famous purveyor. It is the first place that springs to mind when locals think of chicken-on-the-bone. Recently, the dish’s reputation has traveled beyond the borders of the prefecture and many people are now aware of it. However, if you have made the trip all the way to Kagawa, you should definitely stop by the home of honetsukidori.
2. Yomeiri oiri sofuto (candy covered soft-serve ice cream)
Yomeiri oiri sofuto is popular with women and is said to act as a blessing for a good love match. This incredible ice cream is loved by the ladies for its cute appearance. For the base, customers choose their desired flavor of soft-serve; either Wasanbon sugar or soy sauce flavor. The ice cream is then topped with rice candies called “oiri”. Oiri are good luck candies made from rice, traditionally given locally as wedding gifts. Since ancient times, brides have carried oiri during the wedding ceremony and given them out to neighbors, friends, acquaintances, and guests at the wedding. These cute and colorful candies come in pink, red, yellow, green, white, purple, and blue. Soft-serve ice cream topped with oiri is a good luck talisman, which makes it particularly popular with women but also with a significant number of sweet toothed men.
Our final recommendation is the olive; a product that is seldom cultivated in this country. Japan’s cultivation of olives began way back in 1907. In order to provide a domestic supply of olive oil for use in the oil pickling process of products like sardines, farmers imported olive saplings from overseas and planted them in Mie, Kagoshima, and Kagawa prefectures. The majority of the plants died because they were not suited to Japanese weather. Only the trees on Shodoshima island, with its Mediterranean-like climate, survived. Today, it is the area’s main industry. Kagawa olives, cultivated in a mild climate, are extremely popular but there are still some little-known gourmet treasures here. Recently, gourmet olive products besides olive oil, including olive young yellowtail and olive beef, have attracted attention and grown in popularity through word of mouth.
As you can see, udon has been pushed as Kagawa’s most famous delicacy. However, there are many foods that locals enjoy and gourmet hotspots that are bound to attract attention. Why not visit these places and experience their charms before they get so popular that lines start stretching around the block? There are still plenty of popular local places besides the ones listed in our top three. Make sure you ask around for gourmet recommendations, so that you can make your trip as delightfully delicious as possible.
This post is also available in: Japanese