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Visit Nagoya to find fine local food : KONPARU & SUMIYOSHI @ Nagoya Station

Nagoya, the third largest city in Japan, located a two-hour Shinkansen ride from Tokyo or one hour from Osaka, has developed its own culture along with local food varieties. Even for busy travellers who have no time to go to high streets a couple of metro stops away, Nagoya station gives plenty of opportunities to savour local food.

At Meichika underground shopping mall, just a three-minute walk from the station, is a local cafe "KONPARU". The low-ceilinged hall with Showa-era interior attracts locals, who are used to queuing for the privilege - there’s a line in front all day long.

They are looking forward to a special sandwich for their lunch, filled with their favourite fried shrimp. The shrimp is large enough to enjoy its crunchy texture and nutty flavour. But be advised that it's so bulky and can so easily fall apart that you need to gulp it down in big bites. This is not a dish to linger over.

When you arrive a bit before noon, order a cup of coffee plus a ham & egg toast for 130 yen (less than $1) as Nagoya’s famous “Morning Set”. Such a good-value breakfast is on offer only in this city.

Too busy even to get off the platform? No worries. Luckily, the best cuisine in Nagoya is served right here.

“Kishimen” flat udon noodles are always ready at noodle stands "SUMIYOSHI" on the platforms for the convenience of passengers on tight schedules.

I read in some blogs of regulars that eleven platforms out of twelve in the station have noodle stands on them. I haven’t counted the exact number myself though. You’re almost guaranteed to get the same taste at any stand because they use the same ingredients and recipe. Flat noodles are soft and full of umami after absorbing the bonito based dashi soup well.

Interestingly, some regulars believe that the one located on platform 3 and 4 serves the best because only this stall has a fryer inside. I visited the stall and had freshly fried Kakiage (assorted tempura) on Kishimen noodles. I couldn't tell if it was the best one, but it was so delicious anyway that I won’t argue any further.

Above are just some of my recommendations where you can enjoy local food at Nagoya station. There are lots of others I want to tell you about. “Hitsumabushi” shredded eel bowl, gravy sauce on pasta and so on… Maybe on my next trip.

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