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Eating out / Low calorie noodles made of wakame seaweed

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Soba-style Tsuru-tsuru Wakame noodles topped with mushrooms

By Hiroyuki Matsumoto / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterFUKAURA, Aomori — The town of Fukaura on the western edge of Aomori Prefecture is rich in natural treasures, including an about 80-kilometer coastline and part of the Shirakami-Sanchi mountain range. A beech forest in the mountains produces minerals that flow into the Sea of Japan and help to grow nutritious wakame seaweed.

This delicious seaweed harvested in Fukaura is processed to make a noodle product named Tsuru-tsuru Wakame (slick wakame). Restaurant Camellia, housed in the resort facility WeSpa Tsubakiyama, serves the Tsuru-tsuru Wakame dishes.

The production process involves first heating the wakame to make paste and then shaping it into noodles using a special technique. I had soba-style Tsuru-tsuru Wakame noodles with mushrooms on top (¥850).

A bowl of wakame noodles has only about five to six kilocalories. The dish is a smart choice for not only diet-conscious women but also for someone like me who has become preoccupied with pesky belly fat.

The slick noodles slid smoothly down my throat, leaving a subtle taste of the ocean in my mouth.

WeSpa’s restaurant features Tsuru-tsuru Wakame on the menu because the operator of the spa facility, the semipublic corporation Fukaura Kaihatsu Co., also manufactures the product.

Camellia’s grand chef Kanemitsu Yamauchi explained the dish’s origin: “Actor Tomio Umezawa once came to stay in Fukaura and really liked Truru-tsuru Wakame, so he suggested having it served in this style.”

I recalled that Umezawa has been appointed by the Fukaura town government as a special envoy to promote tourism.

The restaurant also offers thick Tsuru-tsuru Wakame noodles chanpon style — topped with ankake starchy sauce with seafoods and vegetables — for ¥950.

“Both menus are popular during the cold season. Please try this local cuisine when you stop by Fukaura,” Yamauchi said.

Another local specialty, Fukaura tuna steak bowls, is also on the menu for ¥1,500.

*Camellia

Open: 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. (through the end of March); until 8:30 p.m. (April-October), 7 days a week

Address: 226-1 Nabeishi, Henashi, Fukauramachi, Aomori Prefecture

Tel: (0173) 75-2131 (Japanese only)

Picture menu available

Credit cards accepted

To find out more about Japan’s attractions, visit http://the-japan-news.com/news/d&d

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