Tucked away in Fukuoka’s Daimyo district, the “Moshi Moshi Suppli” shop transports you straight to the heart of Rome. Founded by the charismatic Lorenzo Cicione, this specialty shop, which opened in January 2023, offers a unique taste of Italy in Japan.
Lorenzo’s venture began in January 2023, fueled by his admiration for Japanese culture that started during his youth. He was drawn in by Japanese anime series like Dragon Ball and City Hunter. A decade ago, Lorenzo first arrived in Japan to learn the language in Fukuoka. Not only did he discover a city he loved, but he also met his future wife!
Experiences as a foreigner broadened Lorenzo’s perspective on diversity and inclusion, fostering a personal mission to create a space where people of different nationalities, genders, and abilities could interact. He envisioned a restaurant that promoted this vision, and during the pandemic, he returned to Italy to learn pizza making at a renowned Roman pizzeria.
However, it was the humble supplì al telefono, a popular side dish at pizzerias, that captured Lorenzo’s culinary imagination. These delicious rice croquettes, filled with stringy mozzarella cheese, are a favorite street food in Rome, yet they’re relatively unknown outside of Italy. Intrigued by this “hidden gem” of Italian cuisine, Lorenzo learned how to prepare them by hand from masters in Rome, seeing the potential to introduce this delightful dish to Japan.
“Moshi Moshi Suppli” cleverly combines the traditional Italian dish with a phrase commonly used in Japanese telephone calls, reflecting Lorenzo’s wit and sense of humor. The restaurant currently serves a single variety of supplì, cacio&pepe: a creamy risotto seasoned with black pepper, filled with three Italian cheeses, mozzarella, pecorino, and parmigiano, and enveloped in a thin, crispy shell made from Lorenzo’s handmade panko (breadcrumbs).
Patrons can take their meals to the pedestrian-friendly alleyway, transforming it into a unique dining spot in Fukuoka. It creates a lively atmosphere where patrons can socialize while savoring their food and drinks.
As well as the star dish, Moshi Moshi Suppli also offers a selection of Italian wines and Peroni Nastro Azzurro, an Italian bottled beer, to complement the supplì. Each supplì costs ¥600, and two new flavors, “Mentai & Lemon” and “Bolognese,” are set to be introduced soon.
Despite its tiny size — a charming 2.6 tsubo space, or roughly 8 square meters — Moshi Moshi Suppli is bursting with character and warmth. Regular themed nights celebrating different communities such as LGBTQ+ and Italian culture enthusiasts add to its appeal. This spirit of inclusivity and Lorenzo’s infectious joy and energy create a unique atmosphere that leaves a lasting impression on all who visit.
Lorenzo’s combination of entrepreneurial spirit, culinary creativity, and commitment to social inclusivity makes him a standout figure in Fukuoka’s international community. Moshi Moshi Suppli is not only an exciting addition to the local food scene but also a testament to the power of diversity and the bridges it can build between cultures.
In addition to its walk-in services, Moshi Moshi Suppli has adapted to the digital age, offering take-out services and partnering with Uber Eats, making it easy for anyone to enjoy a taste of Rome from anywhere in the city. Operating from Tuesday to Sunday, noon to 7:30 pm, the shop attracts customers throughout the day. Whether you’re a day drinker, a tourist looking for a light snack, or a fan of Italian culture, you’ll find something to love here.
Lorenzo is fluent in Japanese, English, and Italian, positioning Moshi Moshi Suppli as a hub for Fukuoka’s international community. His charisma and enthusiasm for his craft create an engaging and enjoyable atmosphere that permeates the entire shop. It’s clear that Lorenzo is not just an entrepreneur or chef, but an entertainer, host, and above all, a passionate ambassador for Italian cuisine.
So, if you’re seeking a taste of Italian culture, flair, and hospitality, we strongly recommend a visit to Moshi Moshi Suppli. By doing so, you’re not just supporting a local business; you’re also embracing the spirit of cultural exchange and diversity that Lorenzo embodies. Come and become part of this heartening story of passion and perseverance, one delicious supplì at a time!