12. Ice cream wrapped in gold leaf
While you may have seen the likes of churro ice cream bowls and liquid nitrogen ice cream floating around social media, Kanazawa’s own unique twist to the original soft serve may still take you by surprise. With the city’s background as a “gold leaf capital”, it seems almost logical that an ice cream shop in Kanazawa has started to sell cones of soft serve wrapped in real gold leaf. Snacking on this fancy treat is definitely more for the experience rather than an invention of flavours for the edible gold leaf doesn’t really have a distinctive taste.
Meanwhile in New York, a donut wrapped in 24-karat gold is making its infamous rounds for costing 100 USD. This ice cream in Kanazawa only costs 891 JPY (8.38 USD) – definitely not a steep price to pay for a perfectly Instagrammable photo.
11. Kanazawa's traditional cuisine
One of Kanazawa's favourite traditional cuisine is Kabura-zushi, made from Kabura (salted turnips), Buri (salted yellowtail) and Koji (fermented rice). The winter specialty is known to go well with sake and especially loved for its crunchiness of the Kabura and the juiciness of the Buri.
While it is convenient to buy Kabura-zushi from the local shops, you can also try your hand at making the pickle yourself! Multiple shops offer simple workshops on how to create the local dish during the autumn and winter months, making it a great opportunity to learn and taste. A long-established pickle shop named Shijimaya Honpo creates the chance for you to make your own under the guidance of patient and helpful mentors. The session lasts no more than an hour, making it a perfect stopover between attractions and a refreshing Kanazawa lesson.
Another popular dish is the Tai-no-Karamushi, once served as the highest hospitality dish for the lord (Tono-Sama). The exquisite dish comprises of a sea bream that is dorsally filleted with Okara (soy pulp) and then steamed to tender goodness. Believed to be auspicious, Tai-no-Karamushi is often served at special occasions and weddings to bring good fortune. However, with numerous restaurants selling the esteemed dish at affordable prices while retaining its freshness and flavour, you no longer have to wait for a celebration for a taste.
Also known as Sashimi Rice Bowl in English, Kaisen-don can easily be found in many of Kanazawa’s restaurants and street stalls. The rice is sweet and sticky, truly the perfect accompaniment to the fresh and natural taste of seafood.
If you are looking for an elegant dining experience serving delicious Kaisen-don, Tsubajin is recommended. The 260-year-old restaurant delivers an allure and hospitality, appeasing new and old customers alike. Their Kaisen-don is also unbelievably fresh while the mix of the different types of sashimi delights you in a wonderful fusion of flavours.
This soy sauce-based stew garnished with finely sliced duck meat, fresh shiitake mushrooms, Japanese parsley and fu (Japanese wheat-gluten bread) is a popular local cuisine and recognised as Kanazawa’s speciality. Sometimes also topped with wasabi for seasoning, Jibu-ni is a concoction of flavours with the sweetness of the meat fusing with the richly savoury broth. The thickness of the stew helps to retain the umami taste of the ingredients, serving you a deeply indulgent treat.
If you are eager to try Jibu-ni, then Kotobukiya is a restaurant you wouldn’t want to miss. Set in a traditional Japanese town house built 160 years ago, it feels akin to time travelling back to the Edo period. This reputed restaurant delivers the best picks of Kanazawa’s local cuisine where the Kaga-Ryori Course (the local cuisine course meal) is on top of the recommended list. Jibu-ni, among other delicacies, are meticulously prepared and freshly served to the delight of many.