Fukuoka #1: Mentaiko (めんたいこ)

Mentaiko is salted cod fish eggs marinated in chili sauce, and is a Fukuoka specialty. It originated in Korea, and is now popular all around Japan, especially in pasta or as filling for onigiri rice balls. I’ve had mentaiko in pasta before, and it is sometimes used as a topping for sushi rolls, but on the whole I’m not a big fan, so have never tried a big chunk at once like is popular in Fukuoka food stalls. My husband doesn’t really like it either, so I can’t count on him to eat it if I bought some for a picture, hence why I don’t have a picture for this blog. Maybe one of these years I’ll make it down to Fukuoka to take some pictures!

Strawberries Part 2: Fukuoka #4 – Amaou Strawberries (あまおう)

Last week I talked about Tochigi’s strawberries. Now let’s look at Fukuoka! Fukuoka’s famous strawberry is the Amaou, supposedly standing for “amai” (sweet), “marui” (round), “ookii” (large), and “umai” (tasty/delicious). These strawberries are pretty expensive and can often be found in nice department stores in Japan and given as gifts.

I’ve never been to this area of Japan so I don’t have this postcard, but I DID find Fukuoka strawberries at my local grocery store, so I bought some along with Tochigi’s strawberries to have a STRAWBERRY FIGHT. They aren’t Amaou, but the Tochigi ones aren’t Tochiotome, so that’s probably good. Anyway, let’s look at the results:

Price: Tochigi’s berries were 200 yen, these are a little more expensive.

Amount: More came in the pack though, so that’s probably even anyway!

Size and shape: Tochigi strawberries are more diamond shaped while Fukuoka’s are more heart shaped, but about the same size.

Taste: …. yuuummmm! (Haha, I can’t tell the difference, they were both good!)

So while I’m sure comparing Amaou and Tochiotome will have different results, at this time I can definitely say that strawberries are awesome no matter where they’re from! But I encourage everyone to come to their own conclusions, especially if you can find Amaou or Tochiotome yourself. I did find a great article with some fantastic information on both kinds of strawberries I’d definitely give a read here.

If you are in Fukuoka from November to May, look around for opportunities to pick these strawberries. This website here has some great resources and tips.

Finally, as a bonus picture, I wasn’t the only one interested in the outcome of the strawberry match:

“I like the smell of Fukuoka strawberries!” says my cat.

Well I guess we have a winner after all. Sorry Tochigi, my cat is an expert!

2015.01.20: I’ve found a great video on Strawberries in Japan, including Tochigi’s and Fukuoka’s famous brands. It’s a bit long, but worth a watch for those with the time. It is from NHK’s BEGIN Japanology video, and you can watch it here.