In the early afternoon of a glorious spring day, I arrived at Kasaoka, a port town located at the westernmost point of Okayama prefecture.
A local dish that has been made in the town for eons has become popular in recent years, so I’m here to check it out.
With a banner out front that reads “shako” (‘mantis shrimp’), this is the restaurant I’m going to visit… That’s right, the local gourmet dish of Kasaoka is made with mantis shrimp, a crustacean also popular as a sushi topping! Let’s head inside “Shako-don no Mise” (‘The Shrimp Bowl Restaurant’).
The shop interior has a simple, nostalgic ambience. I hurry to take a look at the menu on my table.
Shrimp, shrimp, shrimp! It’s filled with various shrimp dishes!
“Shako-don no Mise” has been serving Kasaoka’s local specialty since it opened in 1976. Though originally visited mainly by locals, ever since the shop was featured in a television program a few years ago, it has been popular with customers from outside the prefecture, as well.
These are boiled shrimp with their shells peeled off. Though in olden times they were caught in abundance in the Kasaoka offing, recently they aren’t exactly cheap. Furthermore, as they spoil easily, fresh live shrimp are prepared every morning.
Meanwhile, my “shako-don” (‘mantis shrimp bowl’) has arrived at my table!
The shrimp are tucked inside fluffy, soft fried egg. Its appearance resembles katsudon (rice topped with pork cutlets and egg), but let’s see how it tastes!
From their appearance, I imagined the shrimp’s would have a shrimp-like texture, but if I were to compare it to something, I’d say it’s closer to crab. It’s soft, and its characteristic seafood umami makes it a delicacy. Compared to meat, the flavor is lighter so it’s easy for ladies and the elderly to eat, too. What a delicacy!
This is Mr. Norihiro Saito, the restaurant owner/manager who took over the business from the previous generation. “The egg carrying shrimp caught from spring through fall are delicious, too,” he says. As the shrimp are a blessing of nature and the restaurant chooses to use only local ingredients, sometimes they run out of stock.
If you have a chance, do drop by “Shako-don no Mise”. It’s loved by locals and has already been there for 40 years!
Shako-don no Mise
Location: 5914-5 Kasaoka, Kasaoka city, Okayama prefecture
Open: [Mon-Sat] 11:00-19:00 [Sun] 11:00-14:00 *Or until the shrimp stock runs out.
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Izumi Furukawa
Izumi Furukawa Hello. My name is Izumi Furukawa and I was born in Kagawa Prefecture. Before getting married in 2012, I wrote for various magazine companies and Internet based media organizations in Tokyo. After marrying, I moved to Hiroshima and am now raising my child as well as writing stories about my fascination with this area through Setouchi Finder. Most of the articles I write are about places I visit on weekends with my family. My favorite driving course is Route 375 from Saijyo to the Miyoshi Area, and my favorite food from the Hiroshima area is Anagomeshi (from Miyajima)!!
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