Kumamoto Food Guide

Kumamoto has lots of traditional treats, from sweet to savory and spicy. 

Local Dishes

Basashi, or horse meat sashimi, is a famous local dish that is hard to find in most other prefectures. Like other meats, there are various cuts, from the lean to medium and fatty. Horse meat doesn’t have a strong taste, in fact it is best described as a clean taste. The slices are eaten with grated garlic or ginger and soy sauce. It is getting increasingly popular with ladies in Japan for being low in fat and high in protein.

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Horse-meat.jpg
Karashirenkon, or lotus root stuffed with Japanese mustard and miso paste, is another unique specialty of Kumamoto. It was first made to help strengthen the constitution of a weak lord of the Hosokawa Clan. Lotus is believed to cleanse the blood and Japanese mustard is meant to increase one’s appetite. Battered and deep fried, it is spicy and goes well with shochu, a liquor that is popular in the Kyushu region. This is also sold in airtight packages that makes it convenient to take home as a souvenir.

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/inazakira/10857016545

Soul Food 

Kumamoto Ramen, like most Kyushu ramen, consists of a pork bone broth that is milky and rich, but also infused with garlic. The noodles are straight and thin, and the hardness of the noodles can be adjusted to your liking. It is common to be able to ask for a refill of noodles if you soup left in your bowl.

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kumamoto_kakuni_ramen_by_woinary_in_Yokohama,_Kanagawa.jpg

Another local soul food is the Taipien, a type of soup noodle dish that came from China. The noodles are transparent and made from bean starch, and the toppings consist of lots of vegetables, sliced pork and a deep fried egg. The soup is flavorsome and pork bone based.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Taipien_by_woinary_in_Kumamoto.jpg

Traditional Sweets

If you like sweet potatoes or red bean paste, you will love the Ikinari dango which is a steamed sweet dumpling consisting of a thin, chewy steamed flour skin wrapped around steamed sweet potato - local specialty that can come in purple or yellow - and a layer of red bean paste. The hot dumpling consists of various tastes and textures, and makes for a satisfying snack.
Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6e/Ikinaridango.jpg

Another local sweet is the Chosen Ame, which literally means “Korean Sweet”. Made of glutinous rice, starch syrup and white sugar, this soft and delicate chewy confectionary was a form of preserved food 400 years ago, while Kumamoto Castle was being built. It is called a Korean candy as it was used as food rations by troops heading to war in Korea.

Source: By Nissy-KITAQ - 投稿者自身による作品, CC 表示-継承 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20168412

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