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Japanese dishes from kyushu ramen

Kyushu Food Guide: 5 Famous Japanese Dishes From Kyushu

By Matt Aug 30, 2021

One of the great things about Japan is that every prefecture has its own food specialities and dishes that originated in certain regions. If you’re interested in food, one of the most fun things in Japan is trying out new Japanese dishes or travelling to new places and learning all about the regional variations on things.

The 5 Most Famous Japanese Dishes from Kyushu

Kyushu tends to be one of the less-visited parts of Japan and aside from being a beautiful region filled with many unique features, it’s also home to a myriad of wonderful foods that are famous throughout all of Japan. In this article, we take a look at five famous Japanese dishes from Japan’s southern island.

 1. Chicken Nanban (Miyazaki)

Japanese dishes from Kyushu chicken nanban

Photo Credit: Photo AC

Tucked away in the southeastern part of Kyushu, Miyazaki is famous for a few things including sunny weather, mangos and of course, chicken Nanban! This popular dish originated in Nobeoka, a town in the prefecture’s north, but has since become especially prominent in Miyazaki city and is also popular throughout all of Japan.

Chicken Nanban is made from chunks of boneless chicken that are deep-fried. After frying, the chicken is dipped into a tangy sauce made of soy sauce, vinegar and mirin and served together with a type of tartar sauce made with eggs. It’s a hearty dish with a great combination of flavours that will leave you wanting more.

2. Kurobuta Pork (Kagoshima)

Japanese dishes from Kyushu Kurobuta Pork

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Prior to the Meiji era, Kagoshima was known as Satsuma and was one of the wealthiest and most powerful domains in Japan for hundreds of years. Its isolated position in the far south led to the development of some different cultural aspects including a very rich food culture. While there are many foods Kagoshima is famous for such as sweet potato, satsumaage fish cakes and shirokuma shaved ice, the prefecture is probably most famous for kurobuta black pork which, for a very long time, has been considered the best pork in Japan. It’s not unusual to see restaurants in Tokyo or Osaka advertising that their product is made from kurobuta because it’s so widely famous. Kurobuta is a type of black pig related to the British Berkshire pig exclusively bred in Kagoshima and prized for its meat.

Japanese Dishes from Kyushu kurobuta

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In Kagoshima, kurobuta is served in a number of ways, most commonly as shabu shabu where thin strips of pork are cooked quickly at the table in boiling water and then dipped in sauce. Another very popular way is as tonkatsu where crumbed pork is deep fried to crispy perfection. If you’re a fan of tonkatsu in any form then Kagoshima should be on your list of must visit places in Japan.

3. Basashi – Horse Meat Sashimi (Kumamoto)

Japanese dishes from kyushu basashi

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Some people may recoil at the idea of eating horse meat, especially raw horse meat, but that’s exactly what basashi is: horse meat sashimi. Basashi is a particular speciality of Kumamoto prefecture where it can be found in many restaurants and is often served as a side dish. The horse meat is cut into very thin strips usually served alongside onions, garlic and ginger. Just like with regular sashimi, the meat is dipped into soy sauce before eating. It’s considered a healthy dish as horse meat is quite lean which means it’s full of protein and low in fat. There are usually several different cuts of meat available which provide different flavours and textures. So how does it taste? Actually, it’s pretty good if hard to describe. It has a slightly sweet flavour but at the same time is similar to beef. 

4. Toriten (Oita)

Japanese dishes from kyushu Toriten

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Oita prefecture is famous for its chicken and one of its most well-known dishes, toriten, takes full advantage of that. Toriten is a fried chicken dish where the chicken is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic and ginger and then deep-fried in tempura batter. 

Toriten was invented by a restaurant called Toyoken in Beppu, Oita’s famous onsen town and is now very popular all around the prefecture. Depending on where you eat it, toriten is sometimes served on its own or with vinegar or soy sauce. It’s crispy in that perfect way that tempura is and definitely a must eat, especially if you’re visiting the area. 

5. Tonkotsu Ramen (Fukuoka)

Japanese dishes from kyushu Tonkotsu ramen

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Tonkotsu ramen is possibly the most famous dish on this list. Originating in Fukuoka, tonkotsu ramen is one of the most popular styles of ramen in Japan and is distinguished by its soup which is made from pork bones (tonkotsu in Japanese) boiled in water for a very long time. This soup has an exceptionally rich and strong flavour that makes it popular as a late-night meal throughout Japan. Typical toppings include thick slices of roast pork, boiled eggs and green onions.  

One famous variation of Tonkotsu ramen is Hakata ramen which is also found within Fukuoka city. This ramen works from a tonkotsu base and uses thin, straight noodles. Traditionally, the noodles in Hakata ramen should be firm, however, most restaurants allow you to choose the firmness of the noodles to your liking. Even if you don’t travel to Fukuoka, Tonkotsu ramen is enormously popular in Japan and, if you haven’t tried it already, you can definitely find it wherever you are.

Your Favourite Japanese Dishes from Kyushu

So there we have some particularly famous Japanese dishes from Kyushu. How many have you tried?

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What do you know about the ingredients in ramen? Read this article to find out more!

How Much Do You Know About the Ingredients in Ramen?

Feature image photo credit: Photo AC