連休が取れたので、久々に能登半島へ行ってきました。出る時は京都は雨でしたが、北陸自動車道を進むうちに快晴に!梅雨の晴れ間の小旅行と相成りました。I got 2 days off, so I decided to go North to the Noto Peninsula. It was raining when my friend and I left Kyoto, but as we headed up the Hokuriku expressway, the rainy-season weather began to clear up.

朝市では、素敵な所を見つけました。メインの朝市通りから海側に少し入った小さな路地裏にあります。もちろん朝市通りにも沢山の食べ物屋さんがあるのですが….どうも…へそ曲がりな私には観光客目当ての気がして。どこかに地元の人達や行商のおっちゃんおばちゃんが食べてるような店無いかなぁ…と探してると!Wajima, a small town at the top of the Noto Peninsula is famous for its asaichi morning market. There are so many restaurants in the main street, of course, but they seem all very touristic to me. I thought to myself ‘Is there any place the local people go?’ I was just wandering around, and then…

この派手な看板….メイン通りからも見えるようにとこのインパクト。はい、つかみOK!! 有無を云わさぬこのシンプル、かつダイレクトな看板につられて歩いていくと… I found this flashy, big sign. It says “MEAL”. Cannot be more simple, direct and effective!

これまた素敵な名前!そしてこの暖簾!何でも、とある有名な画家がふらっと訪ねて来てこの素敵な絵をプレゼントしたそう。その原画を暖簾にするべく、京都のとある所で拡大してもらい、布地に印刷したら15万超えたって言ったはりました。ここでランチ決定!Here’s the entrance of the shop. The name is MAMAYA. What a great name! (MAMA is an old children’s word for ‘food’ or  ‘meal’, and also carries the meaning of ‘mother’; YA means ‘shop’ or ‘store’.) Also, take a look at this great noren curtain! According to the shop owners, some famous painter dropped by this place for lunch and gave them a print. They took the print to Kyoto to be made into a large noren curtain, as you can see, and it cost more than 150,000 yen! Anyway, clearly our lunch spot was decided!

店に入るとカウンター10席ほどで、満席状態。何とおばあちゃん2人で切り盛りしてはります。全ての材料を能登産とする、超地域密着型のメニューはこれもキッパリ、朝市/刺身/焼き魚定食の3品のみ。私は焼き魚定食を注文。ワクワク!I entered the small place to find its 10 seats were almost full. I was surprised to find the place is run buy 2 old grandmas. They only use locally-sourced ingredients. The menu has just 3 set variations: the Morning Market; the Sashimi; and the Grilled Fish teishoku lunches.

定食ですが一遍に出されず、コースのように(?)次々おばあちゃんがトレイの上に乗せていきます。最初に出て来たのが、ところてんの生姜二杯酢和え。あっさりしてます。The dishes are brought to your tray, one at a time, by the old ladies. First came tokoroten (a kind of vermicelli made of kanten agar-agar) in a ginger and vinegar sauce.

特大タッパーに作り置きマリネしてあったメギスの南蛮漬け。ほどよい酸味で美味。Next came grilled and marinéed Megisu Nanban-zuke whiting served in a Japanese sweet and peppery vegetable sauce, which the granma brought out of a huge tupperware container in their fridge. The vinegar wasn’t overstrong, and it was tasty.

能登名物の茶碗豆腐。とってもまろやか!意外でしたが辛子がぴったり合っていました。This is Noto’s famous take on tofu Chawan-tofu. It’s very creamy, with a rounded flavour profile. Unexpectedly, the mustard with which it was served, suited it perfectly.

蕗と筍の炊き合わせ。Fuki Japanese butterbur stewed with bamboo-shoots in the style known as takiawase.

良ーく脂の乗った鯖の塩焼き。頃合いに、本当においしく焼けてます。これに炊きたての能登ヒカリ米の御飯と、トビウオの出汁のお味噌汁がつきます。Here’s great grilled and salted mackerel, luscious with fat. It came with the finest Notohikari rice and miso soup made with stock from tobiuo flying fish. Taken from the ocean and served at exactly the right time, it was grilled to perfection.

朝6時半開店のままやは、13時過ぎには閉店します。御年80ン歳のおばあちゃんはこの頃にはどっと疲れが来るらしい。わかりますわ、その気持ち… Mamaya opens for business at 6.30am, and closes at 1pm, when the 80-something year old grannies get tired. As a fellow restaurant worker, I know that feeling myself, only too well…

こうして暖簾を仕舞った後でも、入りたいお客さんが引きも切らず….いやはや、高齢のおばあちゃん(でもすっごく元気そう!)2人が見事に仕切る大繁盛店、恐るべし。Even after they put their shop curtain inside (this denotes the restaurant is closed), customers kept coming in asking to be served. This old ladies’ little shop is super popular indeed… Amazing!