Do you know what is the current biggest argument in the Tohoku area (Northern part of Japan)? I dare say that should be about “Imoni”.
Imoni is a sort of hot pot which is popular among Tohoku area, especially in Yamagata prefecture and Miyagi prefecture. From September till October is the best season for Imoni. In this season, you can find a crowd enjoying Imoni party at a riverbank. Like BBQ is one of the popular summer attractions, people in Tohoku do Imoni open air in autumn with a big group of friends, family, or colleagues. As you might know, September or October in the Tohoku area is already cold. You need to prepare winter clothes if you want to enjoy it conformably.
Imagine, eating hot pot under the cold sky on a riverbank, with real fire, surrounded by your beloveds.
…Now you understand what is so charming of Imoni, right?
The Biggest Imoni Event in Yamagata City
What is the biggest? The number of people? Yes, of course, the size of the event is biggest as an Imoni party, but also the amount of Imoni is the largest. In that event, they prepare Imoni with a huge pot (The biggest one is 6.5 meters across!) so that they can serve 30,000 people!
Then, they will definitely grab your attention. How come?
Preparing that amount of Imoni cannot be done with normal equipment, so they use power shovels with special attachments to mix Imoni, those attachments are only created for this event. Now you may realise how much Imoni is loved in this area.
Can I say that Imoni is a local food of Yamagata?
Ok, wait. Here is the very point that I mentioned before, the biggest argument in the Tohoku area. Since Imoni is popular among all over Tohoku area, especially in Yamagata and Miyagi, there is always argument where Imoni belongs, when we talk about it. People in both Yamagata and Miyagi believe Imoni is originally from their own land.
Besides, ingredients and seasoning vary depend on the areas and it is also one big issue of this argument. Main ingredients, such as satoimo (taro), konnyaku and welsh onion are the same, but the important ones are different. In Miyagi, people put pork in it and season it with Miso as well as Imoni in the seaside of Yamagata. However, the inland of Yamagata, people use beef and soy sauce. Both are tasty with no doubt, but people assert that their own one is more delicious and original. The most famous Imoni is cooked in either of the two ways, but there is still one more. In a part of Akita and Iwate prefecture, it is cooked with chicken and soy sauce.
It is difficult to decide which one is more authentic or original, but obviously, every one of them is tasty and enjoyable for autumn. If you can visit Tohoku in that season, you must try them. Try and find your best one, and be a part of that pleasant argument.