We’re in Kagoshima, where they grow their radishes big and their sweet potatoes purple. We made a reservation at a restaurant not far from our hotel, and presented ourselves at 6:00. It was early enough that it wasn’t too busy and the staff had a little more time to explain things to us. We wanted to try local dishes, and they had a set dinner that covered pretty much everything. A mere twelve courses – they didn’t seem to find it unusual that we would order one meal and share it, which was good ’cause it was a pile of food. We ordered shochu to drink, which is a form of firewater distilled from sweet potatoes – it was actually pretty good and went well with the food.
We almost wound up with the dreaded chicken sashimi, but caught that in time and had the tuna instead. There’s always fish and seafood in a Japanese meal, but we’re in pork country here, so we had several variations on the pork theme.
Salted fish guts (tiny little dish of something salty – if we hadn’t known the name we wouldn’t have blinked at it)
Kibinago sushi – little silver fish fillets serve raw with a yummy sauce
Lettuce with salad dressing
A tray of mysterious pickles
Tonkatsu – breaded pork cutlet with sesame sauce
Tonkotsu – braised pork stew with potatoes and veg, not to be confused with the pork cutlet
Satsuma pork ribs
2 large cooked snails and cucumbers in vinegar
Chicken miso soup
More mysterious pickles
Sakesushi – raw fish and seafood over rice tossed with a lot of sake
Dessert – sweet potato jelly made from bean jam was the menu description – one piece of purple jello, one sort of whitish, neither a big taste sensation.
We had a great time – enjoyed the food, enjoyed the place, and then finished the evening with a visit to the communal bath on the roof of the hotel (communal, but segregated)