Yobuko Town

Yuki

Jul 11, 2017

In the northern part of Saga Prefecture resides a small port town called Yobuko Town. It’s usually quiet, but during weekends huge numbers of tourists come here and liven up the place. They’ve come for Yobuko’s superbly fresh squid!

Their local specialty is “Fresh Squid” – live squid served straight from the tank, and it’s available in many restaurants around town. After you’ve placed your order, the squid will be cut into pieces, and it remains transparent when the plate arrives at your table. Take a bite and feel the pleasant sweetness melting in your mouth. If you order a set meal with miso soup and rice, the squid body will be served as raw sashimi while the squid’s tentacles (“Geso” in Japanese) will be fried into tempura. This wonderful specialty is why some people travel all the way here.

Another Yobuko Town’s special attraction is the “Morning Market” that opens every day except for New Year’s Day. Open from 7:30am till noon, the 200-metre street becomes a pedestrian heaven. There’re around 40 stalls during weekdays, and 60 during weekends. Discover dried goods like cuttlefish or mackerel, and taste high-end delicacies like sea urchin and abalone. As the storeowners are usually middle-aged local women, conversations between seller and buyer are a joy to hear. Along the seashore, you may also see the machines used to hang and rotate the cuttlefish for drying. It’s quite a funny sight, because they look like Christmas trees with cuttlefish hanging like ornaments!

佐賀県北部の小さな港町、呼子。普段は静かでのんびりとしたこの町も、特に週末ともなれば大勢の観光客で賑わいます。その人気の理由は…とびっきり新鮮なイカ!

名物は生け簀に泳ぐイカをすばやく活造りにした「イカの活造り」で、町内の飲食店数軒で提供しています。注文を受けてから捌いてくれるのでテーブルに届く時はまだ身が透き通っていて、噛めば口の中にじんわりと甘さが広がります。大抵は、お味噌汁やご飯、小鉢がついた定食で注文し、身の部分をお刺身で味わうのですが、イカの足の部分(日本語で「ゲソ」)は後で天ぷらや唐揚げにしてくれるのも嬉しいポイント。わざわざでも足を運んで食べに来たくなるのも納得です。

そしてもうひとつの呼子の名物が、1月1日を除いて毎日開催されている「朝市」です。朝の7時30分から昼の12時まで、200メートルほどの通りが歩行者天国となり、平日で約40店、休日で約60店ほどの露店が並びます。イカやアジなどの干物が多いですが、ウニやアワビをその場で味わえる店も。販売しているのは地元のおばちゃんたちが中心で、元気なやりとりを見ているだけでも楽しめます。海沿いではイカを吊るして回転させながら乾かす機械を発見。まるでクリスマスツリーみたいで面白いですよ!

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