Following the previous entry of Yobuko in Saga , this time I’m going to introduce the famous Yobuko squid cuisine. Yes, we cannot talk about Yobuko without squid. I visited the “Kawataro (河太郎)” Yobuko branch, which has the famous cuisine “Ikizukuri (Live squid-活き造り)”.
What’s “Ikizukuri-活き造り” ?
In Japan, there is a cuisine called “Sugatazukuri-姿造り” or “Ikizukuri-活き造り”. It is a cuisine of Sahimi, but a different method is used. To make Sashimi, it’s normally used fish that is undergone “Ikijime-活き締め”, which is a method of paralyzing (killing) fish to keep its quality. Briefly, there are two ways of “Ikijime”. One is using the tools, and the other one is by the ice. In most cases, the large quantities of fish that are caught with a net is done by ice. Fishermen usually do this “Ikijime” as soon as they get fish from the sea.
For “Sugatazukuri” and “Ikizukuri”, chef makes sashimi while fish is still alive. Those fish are not done “Ikijime” and kept alive in a fish tank. The Sashimi is too fresh and it causes contraction of muscles. And this is the reason why Sashimi of “Ikizukuri” twitch when you put it in soy sauce (Sodium). By the way, “Ikizukuri” is often confused with eating “Dancing fish” or “Dancing squid”, but they are different cuisine. Basically, “Ikizukuri” is not served while fish is alive.
The local popular restaurant “Kawataro”.
Arrived at the restaurant “Kawataro”. Kawataro is well known for the cuisine “Ikizukuri” of squid. Arrived there before 12:00 pm but the restaurant was already crowded with many customers. After waited about 1 hour, I got inside and ordered a set meal of “Ikizukuri”.
The fish tank for squid was just beside of tables.
The set meal of Ikizukuri. This set meal was 2700 yen. We can order the “Ikizukuri” only, without the rice, soup and other appetizers if you don’t need them.
Yes, the squid was still moving…well, I came here to try this cuisine but honestly, it looks kind of disgusting…ok, try not to watch their legs or eyes. Just focus on the Sashimi part.
…..It’s good! It’s not twitching in my mouth. The squid tastes very sweet.
Another dish. This is called “Ika-shu-mai” (Steamed squid dumpling-イカ焼売). It’s also popular food in Yobuko.
We can leave the squid legs. After finishing Sashimi, a waitress brought the rest part of squid to the kitchen and they cooked the fried squid. It was yummy. Other than Ikizukuri of squid, there are some more menu which used fresh seafood such as Sashimi of fish, fries and Donburi (Donburi is a Japanese cuisine that put some ingredients top on the rice).
Kawataro (Yobuko branch) information
Opening hours: Weekday: 11:40-20:00(Monday:19:00), Weekends: 10:40-20:00. Order stop: An hour before the closing time(it might be change).
Closed: 5/19, 8/15-17, 12/31-1/4.
Address: 1744-17 Yobukocho Yobuko, Karatsu city, Saga Prefecture. (The restaurant is close to Yobuko Asaichi which is about 1.2 km away)
By car: Nagasaki Highway Taku IC(多久IC) 45 km for 1 hour → via National highway No.203, 204, 382 about 47 km 1 hour.
By train & bus: JR Karatsu station north exit (JR唐津駅・北口)→walk north 5 min to Karatsu Oteguchi bus center(唐津大手口バスセンター) → take Showa bus bound for Yobuko(昭和バス-呼子方面行) about 35 min → get off at Yobuko-daiba-minato-puraza(呼子台場みなとプラザ) bus stop. (Or take a Showa bus at Nishi Karatsu station(西唐津駅).)
By Taxi: From Karatsu staion to Kawataro ¥5,680(about 32 min), from Nishi Karatsu station to Kawataro ¥4,870(about 30 min). *Taxi fare is the approximate amount of fare by Navi site.
Web site: Kawataro Hakata in Fukuoka and Kawataro in Saga.
※ Please note: Depending on the weather, there might be no stock for squid. And payment is accepted only cash. Credit card is not available.