Overview

The cuisine of Saga prefecture takes full advantage of the prefecture's fertile plains and bountiful coastlines. Seafood like mudskipper provide a refined taste that is as unexpected as it is delicious while the famous raw squid of Yobuko is a sweet challenge to the uninitiated. Wagyu beef from the prefecture is one of Japan's best while tofu boiled using hot spring waters provided a unique and tasty surprise. Here is a simple guide to some of the regional cuisine of Saga.

Mutsugoro no kabayaki

A most curious appearance doesn't detract from the refined taste that is mutsugoro no kabayaki. An amphibious mudskipper caught from the Ariake Sea, this regional food is best between May and August when it is skewered, basted with a sweet soy sauce and then grilled over charcoal. The resulting smoky, fatty flavour is surprisingly good.

Mutsugoro no kabayaki
Mutsugoro no kabayaki (Photo: Naotake Murayama / CC BY 2.0)

Saga beef

Using selectively bred Japanese black cattle, Saga beef is one of the nation's top wagyu beef brands. Deliciously marbled, the flesh of Saga beef offers a sweet richness to its flavour along with a texture that is naturally both soft, tender and juicy. The meat is perfect for grilled steaks, shabu-shabu hot pots, or even steamed as seiro-mushi.

Saga beef
Saga beef (Photo: Masahiko Satoh / CC BY 2.0)

Ureshino yudofu

Ureshino yudofu is tofu from the town of Ureshino that is boiled in dashi stock using the town's famous hot springs waters. The high alkalinity of the water reacts with the tofu to create a silken texture that is milky and extremely smooth on the palate. Popular as a morning dish, the addition of vegetables and sesame makes for a fantastic meal.

Ureshino yudofu
Ureshino yudofu (Photo: Image by Solitary Route)

Yobuko ika

The town of Yobuko is famous for its ika squid. Yobuko ika can be eaten as tempura, dried or even as a dumpling. However, the most famous serving is raw and sliced so fresh that the squid still moves and changes colour as it is being plated. Perhaps not for the squeamish, the translucent flesh, however, is extraordinarily sweet.

Yobuko ika
Yobuko ika (Photo: veroyama / CC BY 2.0)