Senbei-jiru is a country-style dish from Hachinohe in the Nanbu region of Aomori. Nanbu senbei are wheat-flour crackers made from flour and salt. The crackers are broken into pieces and cooked in a dashi broth made from meat, fish, mushrooms, and vegetables.
The food culture of the Nanbu region formed around using wheat and buckwheat at the end of the Edo period as the food culture in Edo shifted towards eating common staple cereals. Among this shift came the inspiration for “nanbu senbei” in the form of half-baked wheat or buckwheat crackers.
Not only were crackers eaten on their own at meal and snack time, people also began to add broken crackers to their seasonal soups, which typically had vegetables, meat of chub, pheasant, copper pheasant, crab, or hare. This is believed to be the origin of “senbei-jiru.”
Ingredients used in the broth and the soup vary greatly depending on the area and each household tradition, with some using canned mackerel for the broth.
In Japan, it is customary to add rice or udon noodles to the remaining broth at the end of a hot pot, a custom called “shime.” In the Hachinohe area, instead of rice or udon, senbei crackers are added to sukiyaki and horse meat hot pots.
The wheat-flour cracker used for senbei-jiru today have been improved over the years to retain its shape in broth, with an irresistible firm-to-the-bite texture similar to that of al dente pasta. Senbei-jiru became widely popular as a local cuisine at the “B-1 Grand Prix,” a national B-class gourmet event that originated in Hachinohe. More than two hundred restaurants in the city of Hachinohe serve senbei-jiru.

Where to Find “Senbei-Jiru”

Tokyo/Kansai Region


Local specialty product using Senbei-Jiru

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