Thursday, January 25, 2018

Motsunabe for One

I have been craving for motsunabe since I planned for the Kyushu trip a few months ago. This Kyushu specialty hotpot with beef or pork tripes and intestines was the perfect comfort food in the cold winter, combining the rich and fatty offals with an equally rich and steaming broth served in the traditional nabe pot. We had a great one during our last outing to Fukuoka a couple of years ago, and I intended to do the same this time with the weather more suitable for this kind of food.

Except there’s one little problem – most motsunabe places in Fukuoka required at least 2 persons at the table to enjoy the dish, which is fair enough since the hotpot usually came in pretty huge portion. But that means my choice became limited given I am travelling solo this time. Fortunately there’s one restaurant near to the Hakata Station with specific section to accommodate solo diner like myself.

The Hakata branch of Motsu-Hamaya was just within a stone’s throw distance from the train station, connected through the tunnel and next to the underground shopping street. The décor of the restaurant resembles just about any casual diner in the area, but then there’s the singles section with a few individual seats available, each fitted with a separate gas stove for the hotpot. Just like those booths at the famous Ichi-ran ramen chain for those who are familiar with it.

The Motsunabe menu came with a choice of soup base – either miso or shoyu – and all came with the standard ingredients – offals, pork slices, chives, cabbage and shimeji mushrooms. There’s also the option for additional ingredients and rice or noodles to add to the soup at the end of the meal. I opted for the shiro-miso flavor and soon the staff brought in the pot with everything inside and started the gas stove.

Considered the price, I would say it’s pretty decent for just a little bit more than what I would pay a normal bowl of ramen. The offals came with okay portion and has a good fatty flavor and bouncy texture, but I had to add an additional portion of that to satisfy my long-standing crave for the dish. The soup base was fine, rich in umami flavor and worked well as the backdrop to the fatty beef intestines. And the thick noodles added in towards the end of the meal just took in all the taste from the rich soup and bring the meal to a satisfying end. And as for drinks, I couldn’t imagine anything more suitable than a glass of cold draft beer, going down well with everything on the menu.

This is truly an unique Kyushu experience, the best kind in winter. I wouldn't trade this for any other kind of dinner when I am in town.

When? January 8 2018
Where? Motsu-Hamaya, B2F, Fukuoka Asahi Building, 2-1-1 Hakata Ekimae, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka, Japan
Menu Highlights? Motsunabe in Miso Soup

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