Do you love donburi? Come to the northern Noto and experience the unique flavors of Noto-don!
Donburi 丼 is basically a large bowl of rice with something on top of it. You may have had katsudon カツどん, which is rice and broth with a fried pork cutlet and cooked egg on top; tendon 天丼, which has tempura on top; or oyakodon 親子丼, “parent-child donburi,” which has chicken and egg on top.
However, Noto-don is not just any donburi. To qualify as Noto-don, the dish must adhere strictly to the following guidelines.
All about Noto-don.
(ア) Uses Koshihikari rice grown in the inner Noto.*
(イ) Uses water from the inner Noto.
(ウ) Uses locally caught seasonal fish and seafood, locally grown seasonal vegetables, and local preserved foods prepared with traditional methods.
2. Serving dishes
(ア) Served in bowls made in the Noto.
(イ) Served with chopsticks made in the Noto.**
(ウ) The chopsticks the customer uses are given to him or her as a gift after the meal.
(ア) The meal should be prepared with strict attention to good health and longevity and should be a healthy meal. That is, the salt content should be low to moderate; animal fat or oil should only be used in very small quantities, if at all.
(イ) The dish should be full of originality, reflecting the spirit of the Noto and the spirit of the restaurant in which it was created.
(ウ) The meal must be prepared and served within the Noto.
In other words, this is a meal that is completely unique to the inner Noto.
If you live in the inner Noto, you may have seen the Noto-don guidebooks at your local town hall or information center. If not, you can get the information online here. You can search the map by location for restaurants that serve Noto-don or you can search by style or ingredients to find the restaurant that serves the kind of Noto-don you’d like to eat. Most restaurants only serve one or two Noto-don dishes, depending on the season, and the dishes are unique to that restaurant. You can also check your town’s website for a listing of restaurants that serve Noto-don. Anamizu-machi’s listing is here.
Noto-don will cost you about 1000 – 3500 yen, depending on the restaurant and the ingredients used.
I am personally a fan of an restaurant called ちゃんこ鍋一品料理力(Chanko Nabe Ichihin Ryouri RIKI; Riki Sumo-Stew Nabe and Ala Carte) in Anamizu-machi. Run by a local family, Riki is primarily a nabe restaurant. Its オリジナル海鮮天丼 (Original Seafood Tempura-don; orijinaru kaisen ten don) costs 1700 yen and is served from November to February. I ordered this, and it was delightful. The tempura includes local fish, shrimp, octopus, shiso (perilla), kabocha, asparagus, and eggplant, among other things. The donburi was served with sides of pickled cucumber slices and octopus, pickled radishes, and miso. From March to May, Riki serves its winter Noto-don dish, イサザかき揚丼, (Fried Oyster Donburi, issaza kakiage don).
Leah Zoller is a first-year CIR in Anamizu and got a new pair of chopsticks out of this.
Chanko Nabe Ichihin Ryouri RIKI
Open everyday 11:30-14:30, 17:00-21:00
Closed 12/30 – 1/1 for New Year’s.
I-58 Kawashima, Anamizu-machi, Housu-gun Ishikawa-ken
Take the Noto Railbus from Nanao to Anamizu. (Anamizu is the last stop.) When you exit the station, there will be a stoplight on your left. Cross the street at the stoplight, walking away from the train station. Go straight; eventually you will come to a small bridge; to your right will be the post office. Cross the bridge and turn left. Walk for about five minutes along the river; the restaurant will be on the left. It has a lit-up sign with 力 on the side of the building.
Take the 249, the 1, or the Noto Yuuryou to Anamizu. Get on the 1 to Central Anamizu. Turn at the stoplight by the Circle K. (Since you can come from two directions, turn AWAY from the Circle K.) Turn right before the bridge. The restaurant will be on the left. There is some parking by the building, but the roads are narrow and by a river, so be careful.
*The 奥能登 (okunoto), or Inner Noto, consists of the towns of Anamizu-machi 穴水町 and Noto-chou 能登町 and the cities of Suzu-shi 珠洲市 and Wajima-shi 輪島市.
**Not realizing this, I had bought マイはし (mai hashi, eco-friendly portable chopsticks). The owner of the restaurant gave me a pair of Noto-made chopsticks to use and keep (see the next bullet point) so I didn’t defile the Noto-don with my Kanazawa-made chopsticks.