Release | Takako Chiba
Akabira City’s local dish “Gangan Nabe”: boil all ingredients and have all at once!
All towns developed by coal mines have local dishes loved by locals, and they are passed down to current generations as local specialties. Matsuo Genghis Khan in Takikawa City, Gatatan in Ashibetsu City, Nanko hot pot in Utanai City, Bibai Yakitori in Bibai City, Curry Soba in Yubari City is some of them. I found such food in Akabira City, too! The name of the dish is “Gangan Nabe.”
Table of Contents- What is Akabira City’s local dish “Gangan Nabe”?
- It was born at the national contest of coal mine songs, then became “offal hot pot,” and finally, “Gangan Nabe”
- “Gangan Nabe” is popular at Autumn Festival and Suiyo-Doudeshou Festival
- Let’s have “Gangan Nabe” from Yakiniku-no-Takimoto
- The future of “Gangan Nabe”
- Places to have “Gangan Nabe” in Akabira City
What is Akabira City’s local dish “Gangan Nabe”?Akabira City in Hokkaido has developed as the city of coal mines in the past. Those men who worked in coal mines liked to have so-called “offal hot pot,” a hot pot dish using pork offals, after their hard work.
* Aakabira Sightseeing Association provided the picture
Offal hot pot has passed down as a homemade dish in the region, even after the coal mine had closed. Locals in Akabira kept loving the recipe.
The offal hot pot dish was given the name “Gangan Nabe” 15 to 16 years ago.
Why was offal hot pot, the local dish of Akabira, named “Gangan Nabe”? What is Gangan Nabe like, and how does it taste? Hokkaido Likers will show everything.
It was born at the national contest of coal mine songs, then became “offal hot pot,” and finally, “Gangan Nabe”15 to 16 years ago, the national contest of “coal mine songs” was held in Akabira City because they are related to coal mines.
People gathered and discussed local foods of Akabira to offer hospitality to visitors from all over Japan. The offal hot pot, which had spread widely as homemade dishes at that time, came up in the discussion.
Visitors loved Akabira City’s offal hot pots. An organization called “Meeting to think about foods in Akabira” was formed after that. And they came up with the idea to use the local dish offal hot pot to promote Akabira City to all over Japan.
So they standardized the name of the dish to “Gangan Nabe,” from offal hot pot. Restaurants in Akabira City which provide “Gangan Nabe” gathered and formed “Akabira Gangan Nabe Committee.”
“Gangan Nabe” includes the history and culture of coal mine workers and their lives in terraced houses. Gangan is a Japanese onomatopoeia to describe doing something furiously, robustly, hardly, or vigorously. Such as, burn stoves vigorously, boil ingredients vigorously, talk hardly, and work furiously.
Gangan Nabe” is popular at Autumn Festival and Suiyo-Doudeshou FestivalThe president of “Akabira Gangan Nabe Committee” is Mamoru Takimoto, the president of Takimoto Shouten/Yakiniku-no-Takimoto, who does wholesale distribution of meat and runs yakiniku restaurants.
▲Mamoru Takimoto is the president of Takimoto Shouten/Yakiniku-no-Takimoto. He was born and raised in Akabira City and is the third generation of Takimoto Shouten with 93 years of history.
“When the coal mine industry was at its peak, everyone ate offal hot pots regularly. I, of course, had them since I was a child at home. Offals were extremely cheap in the past. Offal hot pot was also easy to cook, affordable, and delicious. We only had to put a pot on a coal stove, throw offals and vegetables in the pot, and boil them.
Takimoto told me.
▲Yakiniku-no-Takimoto in Akabira City.
▲Inside of Yakiniku-no-Takimoto.
They have been participating in various events after the name of the offal hot pot was standardized to Gangan Nabe.
They participate in the “Autumn Festival” in Sapporo and set up a temporary shop every year from 10 years ago. Many people came to the Autumn Festival to have their “Gangan Nabe” this year (2019) as well.
They participated in “Japan National Hot Pot Contest” and won the 17th place among 59 teams. The next year had more teams but worked really hard to win the 19th place.
And they set up the temporary shop at the “Suiyou Doudeshou Festival in Sapporo 2019” for three days this year from October 4 to 6. The event was for a long hour, every day, from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM. They thought they had prepared enough amount, but Gangan Nabe was sold out at 2:00 PM. They prepared even more for the last day so that they won’t run out.
Let’s have “Gangan Nabe” from Yakiniku-no-TakimotoAkabira Gangan Nabe Committee defines “Gangan Nabe” like below:
- Use pork offals
- Miso flavor
- Use Hokkaido sourced vegetables (Akabira sourced vegetables, if possible) as much as possible
The basic “Gangan Nabe” just needs to follow the above rules. Many restaurants add arrangements such as curry flavor and spicy soup.
Okay, let’s have “Gangan Nabe” and see what kind of dish and how it tastes like!
A bowl appeared in front of me.
Wait, is it not a hot pot?
Consider it has a history of cooking it with a huge pot on a coal stove, it’s more likely Tonjiru (pork soup) rather than a hot pot dish.
▲Yakiniku-no-Takimoto’s “Gangan Nabe” is 520 yen for a bowl.
▲It had plenty of vegetables and pieces of offals.
Yakiniku Takimoto’s “Gangan Nabe” contains pieces of daikon radish, carrots, burdock, onion, and tofu. Their pork offals are mild and had a jelly-like texture.
More than anything, I was surprised by the softness of offals.
They boil for three to four hours. I understand.
Vegetables and offals provide great flavors to the soup. Miso flavor soup was mild and sweet with a deep flavor.
Having offals and vegetables in the mouth and putting some soup in it makes me want to have it more.
This dish is seriously delicious!
I also had a different version, “Jan-kara,” the spicy flavor.
▲“Gangan Nabe”’s another version, “Jan-kara,” is 620 yen for a bowl.
As Yakiniku-no-Takimoto is a meat shop, they used to throw out beef tendon. They use those beef tendon for the different version of Gangan Nabe, “Jan-kara.”
Jan-kara’s “Jan” comes from spicy miso such as Gochujang and Doubanjiang. The soup is a bit spicy, but the spiciness is very mild that children could have it because they add eggs.
This spiciness makes me addicted and won’t stop me from having. It would match greatly with rice.
You can ask for a spicier version if you like spicy soup.
The future of “Gangan Nabe”Many people came to know about “Gangan Nabe” in Akabira City as they participate in various events.
They have the “Gangan Festival” in Akabira City every March. Restaurants offering Gangan Nabe gather in one place at the festival.
The number of visitors has increased every year to taste every flavor from the “Akabira Gangan Nabe Committee.”
“This is only my opinion,” Takimoto said with a notice. “We will celebrate the 8th anniversary of the Gangan Festival in 2020, so I would like to do something big.”
He came to think like that when he participated in “The Three Great Offal Hot Pot Festival in Japan” held in Iwate Prefecture as a reconstruction event from the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
The event gathered the three great offal hot pots: Tagawa Offal Hot Pot in Kyushu, Iwaizumi Offal Hot Pot in Iwate Prefecture, and Akabira Gangan Nabe in Hokkaido.
Each city developed because of coal mines, and like Gangan Nabe, all of them are local dishes that coal mine workers loved.
“I was very impressed by the young people’s passion for their hometown. I have always wanted to do something like that in Akabira, too.” Takimoto says.
“The story of Tantetsuko has selected as Japan Heritage by the Agency of Cultural Affairs in May 2019. I am thinking about what we can do by cooperating with our neighbor coal mine town in Nakasorachi. We have many special dishes born in coal mine towns such as Gangan Nabe in Akabira, Gatatan in Ashibetsu, Nanko hot pot in Utanai, Ghinghes Khan in Takikawa City, yakitori in Bibai, etc.”
Takimoto told me the next stage, starting from Gangan Nabe.
Places to have “Gangan Nabe” in Akabira City- Yachiyo Sushi
2-1 Honcho, Akabira, Hokkaido
1-chome-2 Omachi, Akabira, Hokkaido
1-chome-2 Omachi, Akabira, Hokkaido
1-chome-7 Mojirichuochominami, Akabira, Hokkaido
- Seafood Izakaya Danran
1-2 Honcho, Akabira, Hokkaido
- Snack Metores
2-4 Honcho, Akabira, Hokkaido
- Akabira Station Shokudo
1-chome-2 Nishikimachi, Akabira, Hokkaido
* Above shops are members of Akabira Gangan Nabe Committee as of October 2019.
* Some restaurants/bars require a reservation.
* Check with each restaurant/bar for details.
Related Links- Yakiniku-no-Takimoto
- Akabira Sightseeing Association
Hokkaido Likers writer Takako Chiba
Photo: Tomoya Suwa
Akabira Sightseeing Association provided some pictures