Kumamoto, situated in the centre of Kyushu Island, offers unique local foods which you can enjoy only in the prefecture itself. Many tourists visit Kumamoto to try regional dishes for all year round. If you happen to be in Kumamoto for the Rugby World Cup 2019, be sure to try out these four representative dishes.
Compared to the Hakata Ramen found in Fukuoka, Kumamoto Ramen uses thicker noodles. The broth blends chicken stock with a tonkotsu pork-bone broth, creating a flavour that is mild, yet robust. Perhaps its most recognisable feature is the use of uniquely aromatic kogashi garlic.
Karashi Renkon are made by stuffing lotus root (renkon) with miso, and a spicy mustard that really hits the nasal passages. They were originally eaten for their nutritional value, but many now enjoy them with shochu, rice-based alcoholic beverage. The aromatic kick can be surprise at first, but try enough and you will be addicted too.
Ikinari dango is a local confectionary which consists of a slice of sweet potato topped with anko (sweet bean paste) that is then wrapped in a dough made from a lightly-salted flour, and steamed. Perfect for fall and winter, Ikinari dango are typically served warm, and are every bit as filling as they sound. They are one of the most famous regional treats from Kumamoto, and are enjoyed by children and adults alike.
Kumamoto is particularly well known for its production of rice shochu, Japanese rice-based alcoholic beverage. It is home of twenty-eight rice shochu distillers that collectively make “Kuma Shochu”. Kuma Shochu has reached global popularity – The World Trade Organization’s Appellation of Origin are given exclusively to rice shochu that are made with local spring water and that are fermented, distilled, and bottled in Kumamoto’s Hitoyoshi area.