Hanton rice is a local speciality of Kanazawa city, Ishikawa prefecture, which is one of the Westernised Japanese dish called “yoshoku.” It is a rice seasoned with ketchup and butter, topped with thin omelette and deep fried white meat fish, covered with tartar sauce and ketchup. It originally used halibut for the fried fish, but some restaurants started to put deep fried prawn on top of the rice instead of fish, and there are variations of hanton rice now.
The origin of the name hanton is believed to be a coined word taken from the country name Hungary, which is pronounced hangari in Japanese, and thon which means tuna in French.
In the end of 1960’s, the president of the company German Bakery decided to open a restaurant in the centre of Kanazawa city. The president Noboru Yamashita and the chefs of the yoshoku division has decided to create a new menu that appeals to the younger generation.
The person who first came up with the idea of new menu was the head chef inspired by the catering food he used to make. He made catering with rice seasoned with butter and paprika, topped with fried fish made with leftover tuna. The rice was changed to ketchup taste to match the taste of Japanese, and started to be served as hanton rice.
Hanton rice, which was the new “yoshoku,” started to become popular among the youth, and became a signature dish of German Bakery. After that, former chefs of German Bakery who started their own restaurants added hanton rice to their menu, and hanton rice spread among “yoshoku” restraints in Kanazawa city.