May 10, 2009

Fukuoka Gourmand

No, Beijing Gourmand hasn't relocated. But I did have some amazing food on a recent trip to Fukuoka, a city on Japan's southernmost island of Kyushu. I had plenty of the more commonly known foods such as sushi, sashimi, shabushabu and tempura, but I wanted to post on some food that might be less familiar to readers.

Jianbing fans will go wild for okonomiyaki (お好み焼き), a Japanese savory pancake typically made with mountain-yam flour, egg, cabbage, pork, and chopped onions. There are countless variations on okonomiyaki depending on your tastes (okonomi roughly means "whatever you like"); the above is a Hiroshima style okonomiyaki that includes soba noodles.

Wagashi (和菓子) is the generic Japanese term for confections, which are often served during the traditional tea ceremony. This sweet, called kuri-monaka (栗もなか), had a rice-wafer shell made to look like a chestnut, with a bean-paste jam and whole chestnut filling. The skewer (kushi) is made from a type of wood that supposedly has antibacterial properties.

I couldn't help but smile when I bit into this strawberry mochi (ichigo daifuku - イチゴ大福). I usually find mochi to be sickly sweet, but this had only thin layers of bean-paste and mochi dough wrapped around a plump farm-fresh strawberry. My companion and I achieved a sense of guilty satisfaction by nabbing the last two of the season.

When I posted on eating duck tongue I noted that it wasn't for shock value. I'm afraid I can't quite make the same claim about eating these live whitefish. They weren't actually that gross once you got used to the squirming inside your mouth; they were mostly tasteless, despite being half-drowned in sauce, but did have a shrimp-like texture. The young whitefish are caught in local rivers each spring and available only for a limited time.


Tom said...

Thanks for this interesting, fun entry, and the whole blog in general. Looking forward to reading more.

About the supposed antibacterial properties of the skewer in one of those confections: woods in general, especially hard woods, have been somewhat-scientifically shown to have some pretty impressive antibacterial properties. Here's a report on a relevant study from a few years back:

beijingoffice said...

That looks great, i'm a big fan of chinese food. i think there are some great restaurants in Beijing.

China Law said...

I wish you were still posting!


Anonymous said...

The gates are open. Blog on :)

Ta Hung Lee said...

Very Interesting blog. Thanks for the info.May I have some good suggestion location for eating Peking Ducks? Thanks