Obama Negi Okonomiyaki and Tomato Curry
The Junior Chamber International Wakasa (JC) has created two new food items. The “Wakasa no Yattabe-yaki” (若狭のやったべー焼き), an okomomiyaki which uses Yatabe negi, a local specialty in Obama City, and the “Wakasa no Bi-Curry” (若さの美カレー), a curry dish featuring the mild sourness and sweetness of locally produced tomatoes. In anticipation of the Hokuriku Shinkansen expansion into Tsuruga and Obama, many are looking forward to a revitalization of the local area through food products developed with local ingredients; “We hope that, while people enjoy the local flavours, they will also have thoughts of how the things are in the city.”
Using various methods, such as surveys given to local residents, the JC are working hard on several projects, with the expansion of the Hokuriku Shinkansen in mind. In 2018, cooking experts were invited to learn about the cuisine that shaped the local area, and see the charm of Wakasa’s ingredients in a new light. In 2019, using local ingredients to create new foods, and in efforts to put Obama’s liveliness on display, there was a challenge to create a new menu.
In June 2019, the “Shin-Junzokan” (新順造館), a lecture regarding human resource developement, was held in a hotel within the city. Approximately 60 people worked together to think of new ideas and recipes, under the theme of Wakasa’s local ingredients, which includes Wakasa figs, Wakasa beef, and freshly broiled mackerel. The list of ideas produced in the day was eventually narrowed down to two items.
Lycopene, an antioxidant found in tomatoes, has skin-beautifying effect. Combining the concept of anti-aging and youthfulness (若さ, “wakasa”), and the name of the locality (若狭, “Wakasa”), one of the two foods was named “Wakasa no Bi-Curry” (若さの美カレー, “youthful beauty’s curry”). The okonomiyaki uses Yatabe negi, which is a vegetable listed under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries protection brand; the negi has a distinct flavour and crisp texture to be enjoyed.
The JC stated, “The expansion of the Hokuriku Shinkansen is a chance for potential visitors to reconsider the city that is Obama; hopefully, it will create continuous opportunities, rather than temporary ones.”
The curry is part of the regular menu at Obama City’s “Bar & Dining ZERO” for ¥980 (tax excluded) per serving. The okonomiyaki (¥380, tax excluded) is available to be enjoyed until spring 2020 at “Obanzai Ofukuro no Aji Zero” (おばんざいおふくろの味 零), an izakaya located in front of JR Obama station.