With memories of the Winter Olympics still fresh and with the Academy Awards just around the corner, Japanese food lovers are saluting some medalists of their own — prize-winning dishes from cooking competitions, public opinion polls and government surveys around the country. Here's a guide to some recent highlights.

Cultural appetite

I can only hope that someday I'll be able to appreciate food as much as people in Nagoya do. The city that gave the world Cochin chicken, miso katsu pork cutlets and uirō sweets showed off its culinary chops at a 10-day blowout in October called the Nago-1 Grand Prix. For the festival's fourth edition, organizers played up the charm of homegrown cuisine with a theme of "local production, local consumption." Top honors went to gari-meshi, a dish of Chita (Aichi Prefecture) beef cooked on a teppan grill, then seasoned with coarsely ground black pepper and yuzu-ponzu and served over garlicky rice. Coming in second place was a collaboration between famed local restaurant Gaburi Chicken and the equally esteemed Nakamo miso brand. Rounding out the top three was a beef-tongue rice bowl created specially for the event by chefs at Matsudaya, a Nagoya institution.