Thursday, November 1, 2018

Le Midi in Takayama, Gifu

飛騨高山中華そば専門店 M aka Le Midi

Getting here was quite the adventure. I was out on the road with Igor, chef/owner of Karma Ramen in Austria. The end of March presents a problem for motorcycle touring; the snow hasn't always been cleared from Japan's lesser traveled mountain passes.

As you can see, this was the end of the line. Or was it?

We heard something in the distance. Hiking over the thick snow (an attempt at motorcycle riding was met with utter failure) we found our savior. As you can see, the snow season was over, all we had to do was wait.

He even skipped clearing the entire road to make a motorcycle-size route just for us. Love it.

Next stop, Takayama.

The plan was to check out a famous soba shop just outside of town, but they were closed for the day. Luckily, Takayama is a major tourist hub, and there are dining options galore.

Why not? Local Hida beef is quite well known in Japan, so a mazesoba topped with premium A5 beef made sense. It was pricey, something like 3000 or 4000 yen. In the end, it was a bit of a gimmick.

We also tried a bowl made with local wild boar. It wasn't that great.

Pickled peppers were a good topping, adding some needed flavor and cutting the funkiness of the bowl.

Takayama is has seen the greatest growth in tourism in the entire country, up something like 600% in recent years. Unfortunately, this means that shops end up catering to single-visit travelers. Might as well throw some local beef on that bowl.

This shop is located on the main tourist drag, where every restaurant flaunts their beef options. My suggestion is to snack on street food along the street as you make your way to the temples. Skip any sort of sit down spot. That could be good advice for anywhere in Japan where tourists outnumber locals.

Website here.