Our original plan was having a barbecue at our friend’s garden and later visiting Kaigake-dani(鎌掛谷) which is a valley full of rhododendron(ホンシャクナゲ). Unfortunately the weather didn’t let us follow our plan, it started raining.
We had to put off visiting Kaigake-dani till next year and instead of having had barbecue in her garden we enjoyed local foods inside.
The old name of Shiga prefecture is “Omi” (近江). The region neighbours Kyoto and its population has increased as the commuting time to Osaka and Kyoto has decreased. Some of the area is still heavily cultivated and is the home of “Omi beef” (近江牛) which is one of the best known brands of marbled beef as well as “Omi-mai” a well-known type of rice.
I’m personally not a fan of beef, especially the marbled beef which I think too fatty, but I thought I should try what the locals recommended, usually they know best. Unexpectedly the beef was good and made me realise that it isn’t as bad as I thought. This area is also well-know for pork. We had miso marinated pork grilled on a charcoal fire, which was delicious.
Our friend had served us many local delicacies. This is one of them. This is a once a year festival dish from her area, but she was kind enough to have made it especially for us out of season. The fish is a sea bream with “somen”, thin noodles. We have somen in my area, but it’s never served with seafood.
We also had a pork “shabu-shabu” hot pot. I don’t know how we managed to finish it all.