Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Local Specialties

As I mentioned, we went to the bay's local cuisine shacks for a quick snack. The shacks were all connected, but each individual grill and table section had a seperate door. It was VERY interesting. The booths sold packages of dried seaweeds and squids, but as for cooked food there were two choices, grilled squid, or char grilled conch shells. I really expanded my boundries on the word "exotic" that day. The squid, which is a Karatsu specialty (It is EVERYWHERE due to its mass abundance), was delicious. The freshly caught squids were hanging out on a string. For the four of us, we ordered two. The squid was taken down and grilled right before us! It was very chewy, but very enjoyable, with a sweet glaze (which I think was teriyaki). After that, we orderded some conch shells, or sazae. Those were weird. They were steaming and boiling right there on the char grill. They were served to us extremely hot, and had to be handled with a towel. To open the shell you had to use a metal tool and break off a separate shell. It is done carefully since the... slug... or what ever you call it, is connected to this and you must twist its curly body out of the twisted conch shell. Wow. I was very skeptical about this one. I have been very good about trying everything here in Japan, and this was going to be no exception. The slug... thing was chewy just like the squid. It wasn't that bad except it was VERY salty, or a better word might be briny. My host father, sister, and her friend even drank the "juice" out of the shell afterwords! That was just too much salt for me. The snack turned out to be very exotic and interesting, but at the same time very cultural and fun! The picture is of a woman rotating the grilling conch shells, squid in hand. Yes, those are fresh squid hanging in the background. The other pics are of the where we sat, and the sazae.

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