One of the biggest expectations of traveling must be the local gourmet. Although you can eat most of the Japanese local gourmet in big cities like Tokyo or Osaka, it’s totally different to eat the genuine ones in the local cities.
Today, let me introduce some restaurants which serve local specialty foods in BEPPU and YUFUIN, OITA Prefecture.
BUNGO Beef (豊後牛)
As you know, “WAGYU (和牛)” which means Japanese beef is well known all over the world. And among them, there are a lot of famous beef brands like KOBE Beef (神戸牛) and MATSUSAKA Beef (松阪牛) etc.
Here, OITA Prefecture also has their own branded beef, which is BUNGO Beef (豊後牛). The name “BUNGO” comes from the old name which OITA Prefecture used to be called.
Refer to this article for the old names of current prefectures in KYUSHU: My nomad-style TOUJI trip to KYUSHU – Day 7
“YUFU MABUSHI SHIN (由布まぶし 心)” is a very popular restaurant which serves really nice BUNGO Beef. But surprisingly, the way they serve beef is not BBQ or SUKIYAKI style that are seen in most cases, but “HITSUMABUSHI (ひつまぶし)” style which we rarely see for beef dish.
As some of you might have known, “HITSUMABUSHI” is one of the most popular dishes of UNAGI (うなぎ/ eel), and it’s originally a local specialty food in NAGOYA. It’s really popular across Japan because you can enjoy various tastes of UNAGI with various ways of eating it. Here are the steps to eat HITSUMABUSHI.
- Try chopped UNAGI on rice, just like when you eat UNADON (鰻丼) or UNAJU (鰻重).
- Put chopped leek and WASABI on it, and try different taste and flavor.
- Pour hot DASHI soup on it, and eat it just like when you eat OCHAZUKE (お茶漬け)
Now, let’s follow the same steps with this BUNGO Beef MABUSHI.
BUNGO Beef is served on the rice in the pot.
This is the 1st step. Put the BUNGO Beef together with rice on the bowl. It’s a really nice beef bowl.
As the 2nd step, add some chopped leek and WASABI. Then you can enjoy different taste and flavor.
Then finally the 3rd step. Pour hot DASHI soup on the pot, and eat it just like when you eat OCHAZUKE. Deep meat juice is mixed with simple DASHI soup, and it’s really amazing.
Pickles and nice-looking side dishes are also served, and you can enjoy tasting it with BUNGO Beef MABUSHI.
Actually, not only BUNGO MABUSHI, they serve normal HITSUMABUSHI with eel as well. No reason not to try it.
Here it is! UNAGI (eel) is served on the rice in the bowl.
Exactly in the same way, first put the rice and eel on the bowl.
Then after that, pour hot DASHI soup on it. This is really amazing.
This restaurant “YUFUMABUSHI SHIN” is located right next to KINRINKO Lake of YUFUIN. Its wooden interior and exterior is really peaceful and sophisticated. Hope you would try it when you visit YUFUIN.
REIMEN (冷麺 / Cold Noodles)
One of the most representing local specialty foods in BEPPU is REIMEN (冷麺 / Cold Noodles). Some of you might feel that REIMEN originally came from Korea, and yes that’s true. The culture of REIMEN has moved into BEPPU and it has become one of the local specialty dishes in BEPPU as well.
Among 60 to 70 restaurants serving REIMEN in BEPPU, let me introduce one which I really love.
It’s located the central district of BEPPU City where you can easily access by car or on foot.
This restaurant is said to be the first restaurant which served REIMEN in BEPPU, and it’s definitely the first choice if you want to try REIMEN in BEPPU. Since it’s really famous and popular here, there is usually a long queue especially at the lunch time.
This time, we ordered 2 types of REIMEN. One is normal REIMEN in soup, and the other is spicy REIMEN without soup.
The soup is really clear, and its DASHI is sensitive but very rich. Thick noodle really fits its soup. The one without soup is spicy and once I started I couldn’t stop eating it.
This time I introduced only BUNGO Beef and REIMEN, but there are many other local specialty foods in BEPPU and YUFUIN, and I would like to introduce them separately later.