Japanese Power Food
Those huge, off-white, giant carrot-like vegetables that you see on supermarket shelves across Japan are yamaimo (Japanese mountain potato). They can be peeled, sliced and eaten raw, or mixed with other foods after having been pulverized into a thick sticky blob of goo, known as tororo. But that’s not the tororo that’s served at this quaint and very wabisabi hundred year-old renovated home on a backstreet in Hakozaki. The tororo served here is jinenjo, naturally grown yamaimo harvested at seven or eight years of age. Once these elusive roots have been located, harvesting them is incredibly labor intensive, although their high vitamin and nutrient content makes the strenuous process worthwhile. The restaurant owner Tomita-san, just in his late twenties, flexes his muscles in the kitchen by pulverizing the jinenjo by hand, while Hayashi-san attends to the customers as they enjoy simple meals in a single large home-style tatami room with a view of a small inner garden. Vegetarians should order the tororo donburi (rice bowl), while carnivores can choose between free-range chicken or beef tongue for a contrasting taste to the sublime, nutty taste of jinenjo poured on top of a bowl of warm mixed-grain rice. Having lived two years in Singapore, Tomita-san speaks English and especially encourages non-Japanese to visit and experience a taste of “old Japan”.
5-12-9 Maidashi, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka
Open: 11:30～20:30 (OS 20:00)
Hakotoro Don, rice cooked with barley covered with jinenjo, wild vegetables, miso soup, and Japanese pickles 1,000 yen. Zenzia, sweet beans with a grilled rice cake, 500 yen, YEBISU beer 500 yen, Shochu 350 yen, Wilkenson’s Gingerale 150 yen