Saturday, July 27, 2013

Nanbu Yakitori Revisited 焼鳥なんぶ

Nanbu Yakitori has now been open again for over 4 months. The menu hasn't changed a great deal and the prices and quality are as fantastic as ever! 
The Nanbu Master has called it a day due to ill-health, but fear not there is a new male presence behind the grill and standards have pretty much been maintained! 
As ever, the Mama will often bring out some special dishes that are definitely not on the menu and are free of charge - ranging from Saga beef to sushi - pop in the 18th of each month for extra special free service and perhaps some cheeky drinks!!
Nanbu is open from 6pm to 12am (or usually until daylight) but closed on Wednesdays and Sundays. 

                   See you there :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hokkaido Fair 北海道祭

The Hokkaido Food Fair is back on at Tamaya Dept Store, Saga City until April 15th! Many free samples plus opportunities to buy and taste the best food and drink Hokkaido has to offer - things sell out fast though!!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Kakashi Yakitori - 焼鳥かかし

The amiable Master and authoritarian Mama will certainly cater to your every need. The fare is traditional Japanese yakitori - from pork belly sticks to chicken skin with sweet soy sauce - and entices many locals and regulars from further afield.

Master and Mama Koyanagi enjoying a drink!

Definite recommendations are the Mama's kobachi ( 小鉢), which are small bowls of homemade, tasty treats. These usually include seasonal seafood and vegetables and are always a delight. They are also a bargain, at only 180yen a bowl! There are usually about three or four on the menu to choose from, but hurry - they sell out quickly on busy nights.

Some lovely kobachi
Another highlight is Mama-san's homemade yuzu-kosho (citrus and chilli paste). This yuzu-kosho is unique in that the Mama uses kabosu citrus fruit, instead of the usual yuzu citrus. The difference is discernible from the intense citrus aroma and slight sweetness given by the use of kabosu. It is an amazing accompaniment to just about anything!
Amazing "kabosu"-kosho. Mama has just finished a new batch.

While the food is definitely an important feature of Kakashi, what really sets this yakitori apart from many others in Saga is the atmosphere. The Master has a perpetual grin on his face and his banter with his wife has many customers rolling with laughter. Mama-san herself, while appearing as cute as a little doll, often comes across as a domineering, battle-axe type but is also constantly making wisecracks and enjoys a drink and  a joke with anyone. The Master and Mama, while simply being themselves, have attracted kindred spirits to Kakashi - most regular patrons are known for their contagious humour and kindhearted qualities.

The Master in Manga
 If you are looking for delicious, homely food with a few laughs then Kakashi is for you. It's also a great place to practice your 佐賀弁 ("Saga dialect").  Don't be inimidated by the Mama's correction of your Japanese - she's only acting as most Mamas would!

Kakashi is open every day apart from Mondays. It is usually better to call and check they're open though. You can find more information here 焼鳥かかし 
The Master and Mama pre-yakitori!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Yakiniku Marujuu 焼肉まるじゅう

This is an inexpensive, yet delicious, Korean-style barbecue restaurant catering for everyone from young, fashionable people about town to old fellas on the lash.

There is a wide range of meats and cuts of meat on the menu; as well as traditional Korean fare, such as bibimba, kimchi platter, chijimi and so on.

They have course options available to satisfy the most hungry/thirsty of customers. The staff are also very helpful and friendly.

All in all, a great dining experience, especially for a group party with a gargantuan hunger for meat or a mega thirst for booze - or both!

You can find more information here -

Yakiniku Marujuu

A sinister looking customer.
Some meat.

88yen beer @ MuraHachi

October is the anniversary of Izakaya MuraHachi's opening, so to celebrate they are holding their (in)famous 88yen beer campaign again this year!

Every Wednesday in October (3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th & 31st) you can pop along for some very cheap glasses of beer! Be aware of the fact that you will probably be charged for a little appetiser (300yen), so be prepared to add that to your bill!
There are also plenty of decent izakaya-style dishes on offer - spicy Mexican pizzas, chicken nanban, sashimi, French fries, chicken wings and, the house specialty, local charcoal-grilled chicken with a yuzukosho sauce.

Opening hours are 17:00 to midnight. Reservations are recommended!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

St. Vincent Wine Festival @ Huis Ten Bosch サンヴァンサンワイン祭り@ハウステンボス 2012

Just an announcement.

This year's St. Vincent Wine Festival サンヴァンサンワインの祭 will be held from

September 29th (Sat) to October 21st (Sun).

For the regular ticket, costing 2000yen, you can sample 200 different kinds of wine from all over the world. If you upgrade to the Gold ticket, for an extra 1000yen, you can taste an additional 20 "premium" wines, which are of a far higher quality and value. There is also a kids' pass (or for drivers) available for 700yen, allowing you to sample 5 different kinds of juice!

The wine festival is part of the "Great European Festival" 大ヨーロッパ 祭 which is currently running and concludes on October the 31st (Wed). Apart from the wine festival, the European Festival also includes a  90minute, 1000yen "all-you-can-drink" draught beer campaign (生ビール1000円飲み放題)and some dishes from around Europe - for example, Swiss fondue, Spanish paella, Russian beef stroganoff etc. They do seem a bit expensive though, so bring your own cheese and snacks if you like - or try and get a few free samples!

There is also a parade held at different times of the day and a "European Horror Night"!
Please note there is an entry fee to the actual park as well - so it might bump the price up!

Anyway, have fun if you go and I might see you there.

Friday, October 14, 2011

St. Vincent Wine Festival @ Huis Ten Bosch サンヴァンサンワイン祭り@ハウステンボス

For roughly two weeks, every October, Huis Ten Bosch hosts a popular wine tasting festival.
There are wines from all over the world although, unsurprisingly, most are from France and Italy.
The Top Ten

For a mere ¥1500 you can get a regular wine pass - this gives the holder the opportunity to sample 100 different wines. There are also limited regular passes costing ¥2000, which come with a free bottle of wine to down at your leisure.
The "Gold Pass" sounds much better, and it is! It's ¥2500, but with that you get to taste the usual 100 wines PLUS 10 higher grade wines. The selling price of these wines range from about ¥3500 to ¥6500 a bottle...and you can try them as many times as you like.
If you are feeling flush, or want to treat yourself to something extra special, then you can blow ¥5000 on a "Premier Pass". You can quaff the regular 100 and the special 10 - plus you get to try a glass of a specially selected vintage wine.
Got kids? Don't worry! There is a special kids soft drink pass, costing ¥700 for the chance to try 5 different fruit juices. Some of the juices tasted nicer than a few of the wines actually.
Some of the 100
There are also plenty of stalls and shops selling all sorts of meats, cheeses and snacks plus Huis Ten Bosch is home to many restaurants of differing quality.

German style sausages...great with a cold beer!
If you get tired of wine then why not try a beer? The newly refurbished booze shop now contains 100s of beers from all over the world - possibly the best selection to be found in Kyushu! You can even drink them outside if you like, or take them home and enjoy them with a friend. On top of that there are also many fantastic, though pricey, wines and of course many varieties of Japanese grog.

Some great beers...

If you drink too much vino then why not stay at one of HTBs many lovely hotels - there are often fantastic deals on Rakuten, which sometimes include dinner and breakfast or a free pass into the theme park!

The Watermark Hotel
The festival runs this year from now until Sunday, October the 23rd. Doors open from 11am to 8pm - but if you have to pay a theme park entrance fee then you should consider perhaps going there from 5pm - 8pm as after 5pm entry to the park is dicounted to ¥1000.

For more information please check out the Huis Ten Bosch website