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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Week 13, part 4 - Fukuoka part 2

Back in Fukuoka city. This patch of Nanohana by the airport always had photographers crouched in the field taking photots.

Fukuoka is famous for Hakata ramen, using pork bone for its signature rich soup stock. I wanted to have at least one bowl of Hakata ramen while in Fukuoka, but alas it was not meant to be, for we found a branch of Sushi Yamanaka that's supposed to be the best in Fukuoka city right at Hakata train station.

J ordered a sashimi bowl for 5000yen and everything was so fresh and delicious.

I went for the 5000yen omakase nigiri set, and the toro was amazing. What's more, look at the tuna rolls! They're made of toro as well. OMG how am I ever to eat regular tuna rolls again?

When the sushi is this good, there is only one thing to do, order more! So I had another order of the lightly torched toro, J had a toro and we each had a uni roll. Dessert at the end was a very fragrant yuzu sorbet.

Chatting to the sushi chef at the counter I mentioned that sushi in Fukuoka area seems to have a slightly fresher taste than in Tokyo, and he told me that traditionally Edo-styled cooking (Edo is the old name for the capital) tends to manipulate the food more, be it adding seasoning or aging the ingredients. On the contrary, at Yamanaka they serve sushi "Hakata-mae" style, which is to select the freshest fish, cut it up and serve it as is. I am definitely a fan! 

After days of Japanese meals we thought we should try the western cuisine in Fukuoka, and J asked the hotel to book us a table at Hiramatsu, a restaurant that's been serving fine French cuisine for over 15 years. We again went for the full tasting menu.

There were two amuse bouche: fish croquet & Gougère and a deconstructed lobster ravioli with celery root "skin"

Tiger prawn and barley with spring veg

This is Hiramatsu's signature dish: duck foie gras wrapped in savoy cabbage leaves with black truffles. You can't tell from this photo but the foie gras was such a huge piece I had to give J half of mine.
This is a very interesting dish. Nanohana tempura and clam was served with a very interestingly done pan fried seabream. The flaky pieces on top are deep fried crispy fish scales still attached to the fish. If I can figure out how to do this I'm never having the fish monger remove scales from my fish!
Beef fillet, not as good as the one we had at El Patio Ranch, which shall serve as the new golden standard from now on.

Dessert was lemon souffle served with marmalade and yogurt ice cream. I seldom order souffle in restaurants but this one was very nicely done.

I'm so glad our trip to Fukuoka ended on such a great note. It was our first time in Kyushu area and in my Tokyo-centric mind I had always assumed the best of everything was in Tokyo. How wrong I was! We will definitely be going back to explore more of Kyushu in the future.

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