Food of Miyazaki Prefecture
You might have noticed that there was no post last week. The reason is that I spent 5 days in Kyushu’s Miyazaki prefecture. Though I’ve been to Kyushu three times with my students on their school trips, this was my first time to the southern prefectures. There was a lot to see and do so I’ll split the trip into a series of posts on each place I visited. This post I’ll use to share some of the interesting differences and similarities I found between Miyazaki and Okinawa.
One of the biggest differences between the two places that I found was the food and omiyage available. Miyazaki isn’t well-known as a tourist destination but some of its food is quite popular.
While there I was told that Miyazaki beef has been rated the best in Japan (better than kobe) for several years. The high fat content means the beef is super tender. I had a chance to try it in two ways. The steak on the left was provided by friends of my hosts since I had never tried it before. Though I usually prefer lean beef it was delicious and though cooked through it was extremely soft. You can easily see the marbling for which it is so highly valued.
I was surprised to find chicken to be a popular product in Miyazaki as well. Of course, for something so common to become famous it has to be treated in a pretty special way. In Miyazaki I found several original takes on the oh-so-popular protein.
We visited a popular izekaya in Miyazaki city known for its variety of chicken dishes. I let my host order and soon we had a plate of chicken sashimi. Here you can see both sasami (breast meat) and chicken liver. We were also served a plate of chopped chicken lightly smoked over onions.
There are two other famous chicken dishes in Miyazaki as well. Chicken Nanban is a simple fried chicken with sweet and sour sauce finished with tartar sauce. Broiled chicken with its characteristic dark coloring from charcoal burners is also popular. Both products can be found at restaurants around the prefecture and also in vacuum sealed bags that make them a convenient souvenir. Both can be made with a variety of cuts, which changes the texture and taste. The sauces also have many variations which means finding the best can be a fun and delicious challenge.
I found one more take on chicken at the airport. There, they sold smoked chicken tenders in regular and pepper flavors. Again sealed, they were an interesting and delicious snack that highlights the care given to the region’s poultry. Though the package doesn’t look that appetizing, the store had samples that was enough to win me over. How many ways is chicken served where you live?
In Okinawa the drink of choice for many is Awamori. Made of Thai rice the most popular brand is Kumejima’s Kumesen. In Miyazaki, however, I found that Shochu was the drink of choice. Made of potatoes (of which the area produces quite a few) it is drunk either on its own, or with water (hot or cold). Though the flavors are slightly different, the similarities are interesting. Unlike most awamori, which tend to have a similar taste with different purities, shochu can be sweet or dry. The range of types leads to many brands and labels.
In the photo you’ll see awamori on the left and shochu to the right. One other difference is in the proof. While awamori can be 25-60 percent alcohol or more, shochu tends to be aroudn 25%.
More on Miyazaki Food
Over the five days of my stay, I had the opportunity to sample a wide variety of foods, including some from a local bakery with the largest cream puff I’ve ever eaten (it was filled with two types of cream, fruits, and mallorn). We also had a Miyazaki take on okonomiyaki which is a variety of vegetables (namely cabbage), shrimp, and a savory pancake batter cooked over a skillet.
We also had a variety of sushi. As you might expect the common types of fish were different between Miyazaki and Okinawa, though I can’t say I remember all the names of the fish. Instead, I’ll leave you to ponder the pictures below.