- Main lore areas
Nagahama City, Takashima City and other areas in the prefecture
- Main ingredients used
Isaza fish, soybeans, soy sauce, etc.
- History/origin/related events
Isaza-mame" is a tsukudani (food boiled in soy sauce) dish made by combining isaza, a type of goby endemic to Lake Biwa, and soybeans. Isaza-mame" is a local dish that has spread throughout the prefecture, especially in the Kohoku region. Isaza, which is harvested from September to April in autumn, winter and spring, and soybeans, which are so rich in protein and nutritious that they are called the meat of the field, go together very well, and are still made in every household. In the Kohoku region, isaza is an indispensable dish for weddings, funerals, and other ceremonial occasions that take place when isaza is harvested.
Isaza is one of the representative seafoods of Lake Biwa and has been selected as one of the "Eight Delicacies of Lake Biwa. It lives at a depth of around 70 meters in Lake Biwa. It is small, about 7 centimeters long, but is characterized by its large head and mouth. It has a light, delicious flavor that goes well with dishes such as "junjun," a sukiyaki-like hot pot, and is often eaten in the same way as isaza beans. The catch of isaza is cyclical and fluctuates, but it is sold at roadside stations near fishing ports and at stores specializing in lake fish.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Isaza is caught between September and April, so it can be eaten from fall to spring. It is eaten at all weddings and funerals held during the season when isaza is caught, and is also eaten as an everyday food.
- How to eat
Soak soybeans in water overnight and boil until tender. In a pot, add isaza and seasonings and bring to a boil. When the isaza is cooked, add the boiled soybeans and continue to simmer. When the cooking liquid is reduced, add mirin (sweet cooking rice wine) and pour the cooking liquid over all of the soybeans. Remove from heat and return to the pot. Mirin is added later to make it shiny.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
The dish is still made at home and passed down from parents to children, and is also served as a school lunch menu item, making it popular among the younger generation. It is also served at restaurants and roadside stations, making it easily accessible.