By Sawa Matsumoto / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterYAMAGATA — Visitors to dams around the nation can usually find some interesting versions of the popular curry and rice meals dubbed “dam curry.” In Yamagata Prefecture as well, restaurants near dams serve the dish by arranging the ingredients to resemble the dam and other elements. These creations draw not only dam enthusiasts, but also tourists curious to see and taste the dishes.
According to a website that introduces varieties of the dish from around the nation, there were more than 145 types of dam curry as of March.
In Yamagata Prefecture, six varieties of dam curry are available: Gassan Dam in Tsuruoka city, Nagai Dam in Nagai city, Shirakawa Dam in Iide town, Mogami-Ogunigawa Dam in Mogami town, Kamigo Dam in Asahi town, and Sagae Dam in Nishikawa town. A new version of Sagae Dam curry became available earlier this month following a change in management at the restaurant near the dam.
Kamigo Dam curry is served at Tanpopo Shokudo, a restaurant at the Oishii Dewa Sanchoku Ichiba farmers’ market. The eatery, which added the dish to its menu in January, uses about 300 grams of cooked rice to represent the dam built over a sausage lying at the bottom of the dish. The curry is slowly “discharged from the dam” when the diner pulls the sausage away from the rice.
“It’s hard to ‘construct’ dam curry, but I enjoy preparing it,” said Shizuko Matsuda, 62, who works at the restaurant.
Saki Miyajima, 46, who manages the dam curry website, said many of the areas that are home to dams are facing decreasing populations.
“Visiting dams and eating curry there can help vitalize the communities,” Miyajima said.
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