Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nagasaki Food

On my recent trip to Nagasaki, aside from spotting Korean items, I made it a point to eat very good food. Nagasaki has some famous dishes that I wanted to try plus there was the usual Japanese food to eat. It was a good food trip.

My first meal in Japan was this plate of chicken namban, which I had at Fukuoka Airport. Chicken namban is a specialty of Miyazaki, in southern Kyushu, and I often ate it while living in Oita. It's basically fried chicken with a mayonnaise sauce. "Namban" means "southern barbarian" and is an old word to describe the Portuguese and other Europeans who arrived from the seas south of Japan. So, it's the Japanese idea of what European chicken would be.

Seeing as I live in a small town with no ethic food variety, I'm always on the look out for good Indian food. This was a nice mix of traditional Indian with Japanese (read: sweet) curry. I ended up eating at another branch of this same restaurant later in my trip.
I like to stay at the Toyoko Inn, an affordable chain of business hotels. They have a free breakfast that's pretty good. I especially liked the egg but they only had it that first day.

Nagasaki is famous for champon, the local ramen. It has seafood and pork as well as cabbage, and is unique in that the food and soup are cooked together in the same pan. I picked this place randomly and it was just OK.

One of Nagasaki's more bizarre dishes is Turkish Rice, which involves absolutely no Turkish food at all. There's a European component, usually spaghetti, and an Asian one, which in this case was fried rice. Bridging the two food continents was a breaded pork cutlet, or tonkatsu. So, like Turkey, it's both European and Asian. Get it?

Here's another example of Turkish Rice. I didn't eat this one.

Although Korea has a raw fish food culture it's different from Japan's and I was hankering for some good sushi. This place I found on the water did not disappoint. As is my wont, I also had a tall glass of jizake, or local sake. It was delicious.

It wouldn't be a trip to Japan without a plate of tempura. This was lunch in Shimabara, a city with a castle a few hours south of Nagasaki. It was cold and sleeting outside and this food hit the spot. You can't see it but under the usual vegetable tempura is a battered and fried slice of white fish. It was shockingly good.

Seeing as my first bowl of champon wasn't so hot, I decided to ask for a recommendation at my hotel. They sent me to this place in Chinatown and it was incredible. The bowl was piled high with ingredients and the soup was heavenly. I had to go back to the hotel and lie down after eating it, I was so full.

Nagasaki is also famous for castella, a kind of pound cake based on recipes brought by the Portuguese. Castella is popular all over Japan (and Korea too). Here I'm having some castella with a melon soda at the top of a mountain overlooking Nagasaki harbor.

Nagasaki has a few famous castella bakeries but the most famous is Fukusaya, which has been in business right at this spot for almost 400 years. I bought a box here for the teachers at my school. It was really delicious.