- Main lore areas
All over Niigata Prefecture
- Main ingredients used
scallops, dried shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, taro, carrots, konnyaku, fish paste, ginkgo nuts, salted salmon
- History/origin/related events
Nokpe" is a typical Niigata home-style dish and a local delicacy found throughout Japan. Unlike "Nogei-jiru" found throughout the country, Niigata's "Nogpe" is more of a stew than a soup. The main ingredient is taro, and vegetables and mushrooms are simmered in a light flavor and thickened with saya-endo (pea pods) as the green seasoning. In winter, when saya-endo is unavailable, "to-tomame" is sprinkled on top of the taro. Totto-mame" are salmon roe. The roe is broken into pieces, mixed with salt, stored, and boiled to use as needed.
In Niigata, where it snows deeply, people used to make a lot of it on days when they could not even go shopping, and store the whole pot in the snow, using the snow as a refrigerator. Perhaps as a remnant of this tradition, "nokpe" is sometimes eaten cold. In the old days, scallops were used for the broth, but nowadays chicken or fresh makizake salmon are sometimes added in small pieces. Some use a lot of taro to thicken the broth, some use potato starch, some use a lot of broth, and some use a little. The ingredients, the way they are cut, the way they are made, and the way they are eaten are all varied and unique to each family. Nokpei" has been passed down from mother to child as the taste of the home, and has been eaten since ancient times, and is well known as Niigata's mother's favorite food.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Although it is a standard New Year's dish, it is eaten throughout the year. Whenever there are festivals, memorial services, weddings, or other occasions, every family in Niigata Prefecture makes "nokpe". Even if the Osechi is prepared by a caterer, many families make only "Nokpe" at home.
- How to eat
It is important not to let the broth become cloudy, and not to stew it too thickly. For celebratory occasions, vegetables are cut into round slices or thick strips, and for Buddhist ceremonies, they are cut into thin strips or triangular slices. It can be eaten either cold, cold in summer, warm in winter, etc.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
The dish has been handed down from mother to son in each family's way of making it, although some variations have been made. Elementary and junior high schools in Niigata Prefecture sometimes include "nokpe" in their school lunch menus. Some restaurants offer it on the menu at izakaya (Japanese style pubs), and it can also be found in the prepared food section of supermarkets. Recently, it is also sold in ekiben (boxed lunches).