A menu full of Moroheiyas
Within a scenery of mountains and rice fields, it is hard to find the farmers’ restaurant “Yuunaya” if you don’t know its presence. When you get inside of the traditional building once used as a storage, you will see people eating mysteriously colored noodles. This is the specialty of Yuunaya, the Moroheiya noodle.
The green color of the noodle appears as a vivid reflection of nature. You will be surprised by its texture, and the noodles smoothly go through your throat right into your stomach. The slight leafy smell and the taste of dashi makes one immediately want another bite.
The home-grown Moroheiya is completely pesticide free and appears in other menus besides the noodles. Tempura, dumplings, salt and ice cream… Ms. Ikuko Asano wants the customers to get healthy by eating a lot of nutritious Moroheiya. “We also try to make other vegetables with as fewer pesticides as possible”, she says.
It all started with a little playfulness
24 years ago, Ms. Asano started to go to a soba noodle cooking school. At the same time, one of her neighbours introduced her to Moroheiya, recommending its high nutrition. As a small play, she started to make a soba noodle with Moroheiya. “I never tried noodle making before, so I just tried and errored for almost 2 years”, she said while laughing. Since then, she kept trying to make dried Moroheiya noodles, to grow Moroheiya at home without pesticides, and with the gradual spread of its reputation, she started a restaurant named Yuunaya after the Yuwa region. Today the restaurant’s reputation spreads beyond the region, and the Moroheiya noodles are available online as well.
First wondering about the mysterious combination of Moroheiya and the countryside, I was impressed by its match with all kinds of menus. It is not hard to guess how much time and dedication is hidden under Ms. Asano’s “playfulness”. On my way back home, I was naturally asking myself “what would I order at Yuunaya when I come here next time?”
Farmers Restaurant Yuunaya
Location:010-1344 Akita, Akita Prefecture Yuwa Kono character before open 45
Opening hours: 11:00 to 15:00 (last order 14:30)
Closed: every Thursday ※ Closed during January ~ February
Moroheiya noodles and other products are available online.
Access: 30 minutes drive from Akita Expressway Kyowa IC, 15 minutes drive from Akita Airport
Interview & Photograph by Ichita Komori & Remo Sugimoto
Edited by Ichita Komori & Remo Sugimoto