Gyutan meal

Gyutan (Takahiro Takiguchi)

Japan’s rest areas are more than just gas stations and bathrooms. Many offer an extensive assortment of local foods, souvenirs and more.

If you’re traveling north on the Tohoku Expressway, the Chojahara Service Area (outbound from Tokyo), has a restaurant serving up gyutan grilled beef tongue, a Sendai specialty.

Gyutan has a unique tender-yet-crispy texture and has been a fascination for locals and tourists to Sendai alike. The balanced, delicate meat is also a perfect munchie to accompany beer or sake at an izakaya.

While my coworkers and I were on a road trip to Misawa Air Base for a TDY, we dropped by Chojahara Service Area and had a great lunch at Kantan-ya. I ordered the recommended gyutan and harami skirt steak set for 2,500 yen (about $17). Though a little pricey for a lunch set, the special, perfectly seasoned meat cuts came in generous portions and were well worth it. On the side, the set included oxtail soup, steamed barley rice and a Sendai miso-wasabi dipping sauce for the meat.

I devoured my meal and enjoyed all the textures and flavors. The juicy meat dipped in the savory sauce with a slight kick was mouthwatering. The oxtail soup was hearty and rich — perfect fuel for the road trip ahead.

Meals like these are why Japan’s rest areas reign supreme. Whether you’re traveling north and get a chance to stop at Chojahara Service Area or traveling elsewhere, you’re going to want to stop at the rest areas to check out what delicious surprises are in store!

Location: Chojahara SA (outbound from Tokyo), 25 Horiba, Miyazawa, Furukawa, Osaki City, Miyagi Prefecture

Hours: Mon. – Fri., 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., 5 – 7 p.m., Sat., Sun. and holidays, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.

WEBSITE: https://tabelog.com/miyagi/A0403/A040301/4016474/

Tel: 0229-28-3737

(Takahiro Takiguchi)

(Takahiro Takiguchi)

(Takahiro Takiguchi)

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