- Main lore areas
All over Miyagi Prefecture
- Main ingredients used
donko, daikon, tofu, green onion
- History/origin/related events
"Donko" is another name for the brown hakeling, a fish that is in season from fall to winter. It is mainly landed in Ishinomaki and Kesennuma ports in Miyagi Prefecture, and its catch has been decreasing year by year. The fish has a large mouth and a swollen belly that becomes narrower towards the tail. According to local beliefs, it is a lucky fish that helps people save money, as it is hard to get a lot in through the big mouth and out through the small buttocks. In the Kesennuma area, it is a custom to hang "donko" on the altar on "Ebisukou day" to pray for a big catch and prosperous business, and to eat them in soup. The flesh of "donko" becomes firmer in winter, and the liver becomes more fatty, making it even more delicious. The meat and bones are tender, and its white flesh and skin have no peculiarities, giving it an elegant flavor similar to cod. The liver tends to be preferred over the meat, and in the Sanriku region, it has long been eaten as "nameko", grilled whole, deep-fried, or in a nabe (hot pot), in a soup, and the liver gives a rich flavor to any dish. "Donko jiru" is a winter delicacy that uses plenty of donko, which goes well with miso. It is a local dish that warms the body from the inside out and is often eaten mainly in coastal areas. It is often prepared with vegetables such as daikon radish, carrots, and tofu.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
"Donko jiru" is sold at supermarkets in Miyagi Prefecture during the fall and winter seasons. "Donko jiru" is often eaten as a home-cooked dish and is also sometimes served as a soup for entertaining guests from outside the prefecture in winter.
- How to eat
If you have purchased a whole "donko", you need to remove its scales, cut open its belly, and take out the entrails before cooking. However, if you have already filleted the fish, you can cook it in the same way as miso soup. To serve, put the fish in a bowl with vegetables such as daikon radish, carrots, and burdock root. You may add "shichimi (seven spices)" and "yuzu kosho (Japanese pepper)" as condiments.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
(Outline of the traditions, the preservation society, social media use, modern approaches at commercialization)
A taste of home, passed down from mother to child.