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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Shikoku Autumn 2014 四国秋季之旅 - Kisetsu Ryori Taniguchi 季節料理 たにぐち

Visited 19.11.2014 


Gourmet search. Apart from being the last clear river in Japan, Shimanto River is also a habitat for many marine life. These "treasures" of the river are eventually transformed to simple yet delicious gourmet dishes that the locals are proud of. In Shimanto, freshness is guaranteed, since it is harvested from the nearby river, and this is also the key element that brings out the best flavour of the food. There are many restaurants here offering local specialty dishes; dropped by Taniguchi as it was located near our hotel stay for the night (Nakamura Prince Hotel). Taniguchi is a family operated restaurant with a homely atmosphere that can felt almost immediately upon stepping in. Was handed over a Japanese menu but the waitress quickly passed us an English one after she knew that we were foreigners. Food ordering was effortless because pictures with descriptions were made available  in the menu too.

Top left: Deep fried river shrimps; Bottom left: Tempura seaweed; Bottom right: Deep fried goby fishes.
So what is the cuisine created from the freshest ingredients harvested from Shimanto River? Ordered a variety of dishes to find out:

  • Deep fried river shrimps (800 yen). These river shrimps have long arms, which reminded me of those we see in indoor prawn catching pools back at home. Shrimps are deep fried until crispy red to lock in and enhance the natural sweet flavours of the shrimps. Recommended for those who are fans of prawns like me. This was the first dish served and was great start to dinner.
  • Deep fried goby fish (800 yen). It was my first time eating goby fish. Did not find this dish particularly outstanding because I could not really make out the flavours of this ikan bilis sized fish in my mouth. Restaurant also served goby fishes cooked in other style such as soy sauce broiled, simmered with egg and vinegar marinated. In fact, the best time to savour goby fishes is in March when the goby fishing season starts. 
  • Tempura seaweed (750 yen). Known as Hitoegusa (ヒトエグサ), this type of seaweed is hand picked at the river mouth where fresh and salt waters merge. Cooked in the tempura style, I like the crunchy yet fluffy texture of the seaweed. Remember to soak the seaweed in the light dipping sauce which will help get rid some of the oiliness. Highly recommended for all to try!
  • Salt grilled ayu or sweet fish (1,500 yen). I have never eaten a failed salt grilled ayu fish so far in Japan. This is actually very good: salt rubbed and grilled till crispy golden brown; sweetness of the meat can be tasted with every bite.    
  • Grilled wild eel/unagi. Found this overly priced but decided to give it a try nevertheless. To me, what makes a good grilled eel is to ensure the right amount of time is given to disintegrate the fatty portion of the meat but not too overly done till the moisture of the meat is lost and the savory sauce that is swiped onto the meat during the process of grilling. This grilled unagi met my expectations in all aspects.  

Remember... Overall, the dining experience was pleasant. Apart from the delicious local cuisine, we received warm hospitality from the folks of Taniguchi throughout our stay. Despite the language barrier, they still maintained the same level of service and even tried to engage in a simple conversation with me just before we left. Sometimes, it is these simple acts of gesture that make you forget that you are in foreign country and a good reminder to myself to remain humble and sincere to people around me.

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Kisetsu Ryori Taniguchi 季節料理 たにぐち
高知県四万十市中村大橋通4-50
Opening hrs: 1130 - 1300 hrs, 1700 - 2200 hrs. Closed on Sundays.

How to get there?
(1) 15 mins walk from Nakamura Station
(2) 5 mins walk from Nakamura Prince Hotel

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