A signature dish of Yamanashi cuisine is hoto. And in this report, we visit a restaurant that specializes in the regional delight. Hoto consists of ultra-wide wheat-flour noodles cooked with vegetables in miso-flavored soup. Having been made by every family in Yamanashi for a long time, it represents the taste of home cooking.
The distinct flavor comes from the all-important pumpkin. Simmered until it breaks into pieces and melts into the miso-flavored soup, the key ingredient produces a smooth sweetness beyond words. This savory soup is unique to hoto and forms the base of the country dish.
The flat, thick noodles remain firm and chewy even after they are stewed. This combined with plenty of vegetables like napa cabbage, carrots, leeks, and mushrooms makes a satisfying and filling one-dish meal. Hoto is prepared in an iron pot, so the contents stay warm until the last bite—so much so that you may be sweating by the time you’re finished eating. It’s an ideal meal for the cold winter, as it warms you up to the core.
The taste of hoto varies by the region of Yamanashi and even from restaurant to restaurant, depending on the type of miso, flavor of stock, and set of ingredients. Plan a tour around the dish and enjoy several different versions.