When asked where we could enjoy hearty Japanese fare in the area, our concierge pointed us to Maruya which was just a walk away from the hotel.
Yatai (屋台) is quite a familiar sight along rivers and in parks. We peered into a few quite unabashedly to see what goes on inside. It is generally a simple set-up of a counter with customers sitting all around it. Since it was winter, most served ramen to help everyone battle the chilly cold.
Crossing the bridge to where Maruya is located. There are lots of eateries in this area.
A deceptively quiet looking entrance when it was in actual fact full of people
Such seating is common throughout most of the eateries in Fukuoka, Maruya was no exception. You remove your shoes at the entrance and hope no one steals them 😉
First up, a simple appetizer.
Fukuoka is famous for their horse makerel and this one came inpressively displayed on a wooden board. I didn’t quite enjoy it not only because the sashimi was extremely tough and sinewy but also because it started twitching halfway through the meal…. First the tail, then the fins and by the time it got to the gills I refused to take another piece -.-
But if you appreciate the texture of horse meat sashimi, you will definitely like this- they taste remarkably similar!
Miso eggplant wasn’t half bad I guess. Grilled first followed by a generous slathering of sweet and salty miso on the top, this came across as too simple vis-a-vis what I’m used to from restaurants back here in sg.
If there is one thing I like more than anything else in Japan besides all the wagashi and sashimi, it would have to be the in-house cold tofu served in izakayas! In this case, the rich soybean flavour of the freshly pressed tofu was further enhanced by the saltiness from the bonito flakes.
Well, I like anything with yam in it but I doubt this will be everyone’s cup of tea. I don’t really know how they made this but the mountain yam served in a hot plate was delicious- my type of comfort food. I reckon the yam was first steamed then mixed with egg and flour before being baked all together in a hot plate then topped off with a generous amount of teriyaki sauce+bonito flakes+ japanese mayo. The result was a piping hot sweet and savoury mash which went exceedingly well with the fat grains of calrose rice.
You can’t leave japan without eating nigiri. It’s something you can eat for breakfast/lunch/tea/dinner. Out of all of them my favourite was the eel nigiri. The teriyaki sauce was light,not too cloying and the flesh firm and flakey, just the way I like it. The well vinegared rice also deserves mention but it still falls a little short of the sushi I had for breakfast in Tsukiji market last year.
After you are done with your sashimi, don’t forget to tell them you want the remaining fish bones to be made into miso soup. I think horse makerel tastes best cooked- the cooked meat was so soft and succulent! We all lapsed into a moment of silence as we slurped up all the soup and picked the bones for fish meat.
So this concludes our first sumptous meal in Fukuoka. If you are wondering where to eat while you are there, give Maruya a shot!
To find out more about Maruya, click here