- Main lore areas
- Main ingredients used
rice crackers, green onions, chicken, thread konnyaku, fu, burdock root, frozen tofu, carrots, mushrooms
- History/origin/related events
Nanbu senbei is a traditional food from southeastern Aomori Prefecture to northern Iwate Prefecture, which was the territory of the former Nanbu domain. It is made by mixing flour with salt and water and baking rounds in iron molds. Before World War II, many farmers had iron molds, and rice crackers were a valuable preserved food in areas where rice was often damaged by cold weather and could not be harvested well. These rice crackers were boiled in miso soup or in a pot, which is called "senbei soup. There are various theories as to its origin, but it is said to have started when senbei were stewed in ara-jiru, a soup made from sea urchins caught in the river before World War II. The dish was passed down locally, but it was not until the Heisei era (1989) that the name "senbei soup" took root. The name "senbei-jiru" was not firmly established until the Heisei era (1989), when a tourism organization in Hachinohe City began publicizing what was once thought to be a humble dish eaten only at home, in an effort to make it a tourist attraction. Today, the dish is well known throughout Japan and has played a leading role in local revitalization.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
In the old days, every household baked rice crackers, but farmers stopped making them during the war when iron pots were offered as munitions. After the war, a manufacturer developed rice crackers with a chewy texture that did not fall apart even when soaked in soup, and began selling them for use in soup. Nowadays, in addition to being eaten at home in miso soup and nabe dishes during the cold season, senbei is also enjoyed as a major dish in restaurants and at events for tourists.
- How to eat
The most common way to eat senbei is to put vegetables, konnyaku threads, etc. in a pot with chicken broth and soy sauce flavor, break the senbei into pieces, and simmer them. Mushrooms such as shimeji mushrooms can be added to taste. Other variations include salt-flavored cod or grilled mackerel, as is typical in port towns (canned mackerel can be easily used at home), and miso-flavored sakura nabe with horse meat, a specialty of the area.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
(Outline of the people who have passed down the tradition, preservation groups, use of SNS, modern efforts such as commercialization, etc.)
Senbei soup, which has been handed down as a home-style dish for about 200 years, has become a nationally famous local dish because of its success in spreading it widely as a tourist attraction. About 200 restaurants in Hachinohe City serve it. The Hachinohe Senbeijiru Kenkyujo (Hachinohe Senbeijiru Research Institute), which sparked the boom, is a citizens' organization formed in 2003 and is known as the creator of the "B-1 Grand Prix," a local gourmet food festival.