Surrounded by Genkai Sea and Ariake Sea, Saga is famed for its seasonal seafood. Other than food, Saga is known for its intricate pottery and Yoshinogari Historical Park, a spacious moat-circled village from the Yayoi period. Every year during Saga International Balloon Fiesta, the skies are decorated by kaleidoscopic hot air balloons.
A speciality of the port town Yobuko, fresh Yobuko squid is best enjoyed as ikizukuri 生き作りor ikezukuri 活け造, live squid sashimi. The almost transparent and succulent flesh is a true delicacy. Other squid dishes include squid dumplings, rice and even burgers.
Highly ranked in wagyu competitions, Saga beef is processed from superior cattle raised by skilled farmers. The stringent process results in glossy marbled Saga beef that melts in your mouth regardless if it is prepared as a steak or delicate pieces shabu shabu’s sliced meat.
This is a historic dessert made of mashed Japanese red beans and kanten (a gelatin-like substance made from seaweed). Some stories say that among the food supplies sent to the soldiers fighting in the Japanese-Sino War, this agar-like sweet was one of the foods which did not lose its flavour even after a long period of time.
This sweet treat is one of the representative food items from the region. It originated from Portugal but was brought into Japan through its trading routes. The signature taste is achieved through the use of sanonto, a type of sugar which is heated three times to produce its deep caramel-brown colour.
(This feature first appeared on WAttention Singapore magazine, Sep/Oct 2017 Vol. 40)