Nagasaki is a city that has had international relations since ancient times and is blessed with an abundance of food from both land and sea, resulting in a unique food culture. Here are some representative dishes from the area to try.
1. Nagasaki Champon
This is a noodle dish invented in Nagasaki made with Chinese influences. It was a dish created by the chef of a Chinese restaurant in the Meiji era (1868 - 1911) so that Chinese exchange students could fill up their stomachs for cheap. The noodles are a little different from ramen, and they're topped with vegetables, pork, and seafood for a highly voluminous dish. It's become such a representative dish of Nagasaki that you can find it in not just in specialty restaurants or Chinese restaurants, but in all kinds of restaurants around the city. It's a dish you must have when you visit Nagasaki. The ingredients and soup vary depending on the restaurant, so please try it at a few places.
2. Sara Udon
Nagasaki's sara udon can actually be split into two types: one that uses the same fat noodles as in champon that are grilled with toppings then served in soup, or thin noodles fried in oil and then covered in a thick starchy sauce. However, the type with the fat noodles is the original. Actually, the same shop that created Nagasaki champon created sara udon by making yakisoba with the same ingredients as champon. You'll have a hard time choosing between the thin noodles that have become common today or Nagasaki's special fat noodles. Many shops offer both, so please make sure which one you're ordering. It might be good to go in a group and order both so you can compare them.
3. Sasebo Burger
Sasebo is home to an American military base, and as a result is the home of this hamburger that was created based on American military recipes. Originally, it was offered at burger restaurants in the area, but now you can find it nationwide. Within the city of Sasebo, they have a certification system marked by a hamburger character that proves that the restaurant uses local ingredients and offers original, handmade, fresh burgers. All of the burgers are voluminous, but the ingredients and sauce changes depending on the restaurant. There are also take-out restaurants, so you can enjoy your unique burger in a spot of your choosing, like a park.
4. Shippoku Ryori
Shippoku ryori is a type of cuisine unique to Nagasaki since it has had international relations even when the rest of Japan was closed to foreigners - everyone sits around a round Chinese-style table upon which unique dishes made from mixing Japanese, Chinese, and Western food is served. It starts with ohire, a clear broth soup made with sea bream, and includes sashimi, tempura, stewed pork, seafood, and other types of food. It was originally developed as a banquet meal so large groups could enjoy a meal together, but depending on the restaurant, they might have a shortened menu with fewer dishes so you can enjoy it casually. This can be considered the perfect cuisine to enjoy a leisurely Nagasaki meal.
*Image is of the Shippoku ryori at Nagasaki Shippoku Hamakatsu, a restaurant within the city
Iki Island sits to the northeast of Kyushu. The many cows that are born on this island yearly are raised outside of the island and grow up to become brand cattle around the country. The cows that are born and raised on the island are called "Ikigyu," and thanks to being surrounded by the ocean, they are raised with a mineral-rich diet. The meat is soft and is perfectly marbled. While you can eat it within Iki, you can also find steak, Salisbury steak, shabushabu, and yakiniku using Ikigyu within the city of Nagasaki as well, so please check it out.
*Photo is for illustration purposes
Please fully enjoy Nagasaki's cuisine to your heart's content and have a fun trip through the area.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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