Monday, December 20, 2010

Nanbu Yakitori ー 焼鳥なんぶ

This legendary establishment is renowned for both its hospitality and amazing eats. On entering quickly find a stool next to the counter and order a beer, from then on you are bound to fit right in. The Mama will keep your glass full while The Master conjures up some grilled delights on the open barbecue. If you are looking for a challenge then why not strike up an over-the-counter conversation with the Master - his Saga dialect is alomst unintelligible to the untrained ear.

Nanbu serves traditional yakitori fare, such as pork belly (バラ), chicken wings (手羽先), chicken meatloaf (つくね) and shrimp (えび). Other notable dishes are Mariko's Special Potatoes (マリコのポテト) and bacon-wrapped quail eggs (うずら巻).

Many people are averse to pig's trotters, but the locally-sourced tonsoku (豚足) at Nanbu are fabulous. Their preparation is a closely-guarded family secret, however they are rumoured to be marinaded in citrus vinegar (ポン酢) and gently steamed before being finished off on the charcoal grill. Whatever the method, the end result is a heavenly trotter - crispy on the outside and juicy-soft on the inside. Sucking on the bone marrow is highly recommended.

At Nanbu the menu is only the beginning of the affair. For regular customers, first-timers, or just about anyone with a smile, the Mama will inevitably serve a dish from the secret menu (裏メニュー). These are often seasonal and regularly include such delicacies as deep-fried freshwater soft shell crab, A-grade Saga beef steak (佐賀牛), sea urchin (うに), scallop sashimi (ホタテ刺) and salted salmon roe (イクラ). Not only are these scrumptious dishes of the finest quality, they are also "on the house" (サービス), courtesy of Mama Chiyuki!

Prices are reasonable, ranging from 80yen for grilled chicken breast (鳥身) to 350yen for a chive omelette (ニラ玉子焼き). Asahi draught beer (生ビール) is 450yen per ice-cold mug, while local cold sake is 1000yen a bottle.

Nanbu Yakitori is a classic izakaya. Simple, delicious, reasonably-priced and very friendly. A good time is always guaranteed.

Nanbu Yakitori 焼鳥なんぶ
Yae Town (near Nanbu bypass), Saga City, Kyushu, Japan.