Hidaka kelp infused soba "Hidaka no Kaze" selected for "100 Cuisine Kingdom Picks"
“Amaya” is a restaurant in the town of Shinhidaka in Central Hokkaido’s Hidaka region. The Hidaka kelp infused soba noodles developed by this restaurant was selected for inclusion in “Cuisine Kingdom’s Top 100, 2022”, a contest in which a jury of first-class chefs in Japan select only the best dishes. Restaurant owner Amano Hiromi was overjoyed, “I’m so happy that a product made with local kelp was recognized by a specialist journal.”
“Japan Food & Liquor Alliance” (Tokyo), publisher of gourmet information journal “Cuisine Kingdom” (“Ryori Okoku” in Japanese), issues a public call for product submissions and holds the contest as it has every year since 2010. It is separated into six categories including fresh foods, processed foods, and seasonings. 20 top restaurant industry chefs and 23 currently active buyers serve as the jury. This year, 95 products were selected.
Amano first envisioned “Hidaka no Kaze” (Hidaka Breeze) out of a desire to, “spread the word about the value of kelp by making our local specialty kelp widely accessible for consumption in an easy-to-understand way.” It was released in December 2020, two years later. The noodles are made from a half-and-half blend of Hokkaido-grown soba flour and white flour, and infused with Hidaka kelp powder. By controlling the coarseness and ratio of the powder, the soba is crafted into noodles with a hint of kelp flavor, characterized by their thinness and pleasant texture.
The jury praised “Hidaka no Kaze”, saying, “The flavors of soba and kelp match extremely well, and the noodles are delicious.” One package contains 180 grams and is 540 yen. The noodles sell at locations including Amaya and the Shinhidaka Tourist Association, and have garnered popularity on the level of selling ten thousand packages in slightly over a year since sales launched. Due to the impact of COVID-19, from May of last year they are also being sold online at the Amaya website (https://shizunai-amaya.com/).
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