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Nagasaki Gourmet Special Nagasaki’s best eateries revealed in our gourmet special

nagazasshi Volume 8 Issue 2 September/October 2015

Editor-in-chief Jenni Edwards

Editor Rosie Fordham

Layout and Design Laurel Williams

Assistant Editor Lorna Hanson

Public Relations Conor Hughes

Copy Editor Max Epstein

Treasurer Karl Po

Contributors Dan Cohen Jenni Edwards Evan Hayden Conor Hughes

Will Morgan Joy Tan Stuart Webster Laurel Williams

Founders Andrew Morris Matthew Nelson www.nagazasshi.com

Cover Photo Kakuni Don (Pork Belly Rice Bowl) flickr.com/pancakeplan

Our hope for this magazine is to be fertile ground for planting ideas, watering them with opinions and eventually reaping knowledge and benefitting from the experiences of the people who have the pleasure to call this place home


– Nagazasshi 1.1

ver the years, the Nagazasshi has certainly planted ideas, and watered them with opinions, with articles not only about topics dear to Nagasaki’s heart – such as Okunchi and the lantern festival – but also about travelling throughout Asia, and complex issues such as racial identity in Japan. As I take the helm as Nagazasshi’s editor in chief, I look forward to seeing this eclectic archive grow. However, in this issue, the Nagasaki Gourmet Special, I wanted to address our founders’ other wishes – to reap knowledge and share others’ experiences.

As such, based on reader contributions from across Nagasaki-ken, we’ve created the “Nagazasshi Gourmet Issue” to help you discover the prefectures culinary gems. Plus, we shine a light on a staff favourite, the Italian restaurant Famiglia (p. 6). And, for dessert, our usual features. Happy eating, and happy reading!

Jennifer Edwards, Editor-in-chief





Forza Famiglia


Nagasaki Gourmet Food Map


CafĂŠ Caches


Kanji of the Month


Get acquainted with Famiglia’s Kenichi Iwanaga


Set a course for great food with our Gourmet Map

Brave the backstreets for great cakes at Kamando

6 4

Photo credits (top to bottom):

Kamando goods Joy Tan; Yakiniku flickr.com/jonolist; Famiglia pasta dish Evan Hayden; Yosakoi Dance Stuart Webster


Event of the Month Yosakoi Sasebo Matsuri October 16-18 Sasebo One of the biggest Yosakoi dance festivals around. Teams from all over the world gather in Sasebo to compete and perform across the city. The event culminates in one final dance off on the main stage at Nakiri Ground.

photo Stuart Webster

Annual Nagasaki Moon Festival Mid-September, Chinatown and Minato Park, Nagasaki A Chinese festival celebrating the full moon. Many Chinese restaurants will serve special meals. Dragon dance, live music and more! Doya Tamate Festival September 20 Matsuura A picturesque festival of lights, illuminating Matsura’s famous terraced rice fields. Nagasaki Confucius Festival September 26 Confucius Shrine, Nagasaki A traditional Chinese celebration of Confucius’ birthday at this impressive shrine. Nagasaki Settlement Festival Late September Glover Garden, Nagasaki Celebrating Nagasaki’s heritage as one of the first landing points for foreigners. Various displays from foreign cultures, food, music and dance. Nagasaki Okunchi Festival October 7 - 9, 16 - 17 Suwa Shrine, Nagasaki One of the biggest festivals in Japan. Multicultural performances, dances, and music to celebrate the autumn harvest. Takengei Bamboo Performance October 14 - 15 Wakayama Inari Shrine, Nagasaki An autumn acrobatics event wherein two performers dressed as foxes dazzle a crowd atop 10-meter bamboo poles.


Forza Famiglia! photos Evan Hayden

Famiglia 1F Matsumoto Bldg., 2−6, Kajiymachi Nagasaki-shi 〒850-0831 ( TEL 095-823-3711

Conor Hughes on Nagasaki City’s own Italian institution, Famiglia.


agasaki. Excellent city, excellent food, good people. One of the things you may have noticed about our fair city is that it’s got a lot of personality. Every cafe, restaurant, izakaya and ramen shop you stumble into is as vibrant and unique as the people you’ll meet on the street.

everyone could come together and, even if only temporarily, be a family. Ken’s travels continued, leading him to Italy. In the countryside of Sardinia, Ken studied the finer points of Italian cooking in one of the most perilous crucibles of education – the kitchens of Italian grandmothers. For years, Ken honed his culinary craft while the nascent idea of what would one day be Famiglia took shape in his mind.

Burrowed into one of the labyrinthine alleyways off the central arcade in Ten years later, Famiglia’s menu and Hamanomachi, the restaurant Famiglia atmosphere demonstrate the influence has been meticulously cultivating a of Ken’s travels. Everything that comes reputation for fine out of the kitchen Italian cuisine and Famiglia, like many is meticulously warm atmosphere great culinary creations, scrutinized by Ken’s for nearly a decade. uncompromising started as sort of an Yet despite its eye, and the patron’s devout clientele gastronomic accident and general success, experience is all the Famiglia, like many great culinary better for it. creations, started as sort of an accident. Italian tradition dictates a dogmatic Fueled by his love of fast cars and Italian reverence for natural, simple ingredients culture, the young Kenichi Iwanaga and their exclusive use. Consequently, (“Ken” to his friends) originally intended nearly everything on the menu is a to be a concept car designer. However, he product of natural ingredients grown had a change of heart in university and, by Ken personally at his family farm in without a back-up plan, decided to travel Unzen. the world. The very bread on your table was once It was in Australia that Ken eventually wheat in Ken’s field – reaped, ground discovered his true calling as a chef. It to flour and then baked for your dining was the casual atmosphere of Australian pleasure. restaurants and bars that struck Ken – watering holes that knew no boundaries Ken doesn’t consider Famiglia to have between language or culture, where a “signature” dish, although he does

nagazasshi | September/October 2015


confess that his Gnocchi alla Gorgonzola is consistently the most popular. The potato-based gnocchi are light, bursting with savory flavor and a fluffy texture, effortlessly dissolving in your mouth. The cheese sauce is smooth and creamy, complementing the gnocchi with its delicate flavors and the subtle bite of the Gorgonzola. When all the gnocchi are gone, and all that’s left before you is a plate of cream sauce, that marvelous bread mentioned earlier serves as a more than adequate means to enjoy every drop. True to Ken’s vision, Famiglia is not just a place to eat. There is a distinctly warm and welcoming feel to the restaurant itself. During the day, with sunshine streaming through the windows, and the pitter-patter of Ken’s young daughters scampering throughout the restaurant, Famiglia invokes feelings no doubt similar to those of the grandmothers’ kitchens that Ken practiced in all those years ago. With a cool glass of juice in hand to combat the fierce daytime heat, Ken works in the kitchen while his wife works at the counter, so to better watch over their girls.

personally. Insulated from the hustle and bustle of Nagasaki nightlife outside, guests may sit at cozy, private tables or at the more conversational central counter. The rustic aesthetic of the interior feel is complemented by the Mediterranean sounds of Italy’s own Rai Uno Radio piping gently into the evening, serenading the guests. At the counter, customers banter with Ken and each other, swapping stories and discussing the eclectic miscellany of memorabilia and supplies scattered around the restaurant. Friends, coworkers and couples unwind over wine and cheese at their tables, discussing the events of the day. All throughout, Ken smiles behind the counter while he juggles cooking and conversation. In Nagasaki, where so many eateries have character, Famiglia shines for being so personal, welcoming and so Italian. Famiglia is a quiet island of slow food, serenity and family in the beating heart of a big city. A place where Japanese and Italian culture join in beautiful harmony.

When the sun goes down and the doors open up, customers are greeted by Ken

Monday through Saturday, from six in the evening until two in the morning, all are welcome to the good food and fellowship of Famiglia. n


September/October 2015 | nagazasshi

photo flickr.com/insertmaga prose Jenni Edwards maps Laurel Williams

Nagasaki Gourmet Map

Our prefecture’s finest eateries revealed


apan is globally renowned for its great food. Not only does its capital boast the greatest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, but its traditional cuisine, “washoku,” is listed by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage. However, you don’t have to go to Tokyo, or even eat washoku, to enjoy amazing Japanese food. You need only step out of your door, onto the streets of Nagasaki. Whether it’s the influence of the prefecture’s international past, or the unique nature of its friendly, inquisitive people, the Nagasaki culinary scene really is rather special. Our goal in creating the Nagazasshi Gourmet Map is not to be an exhaustive record of all of the prefecture’s great eateries. Were that the case, we would have a lifetime’s job on our hands! Nor is it necessarily to champion only fine dining or expensive “occasion” restaurants – at many of our recommended eateries, nagazasshi | September/October 2015

you can dine for under 1,000 yen. We’ve even included a few cafes with food worth shouting about. Instead, we wanted to take you off the beaten track, to highlight hidden gems so special that we hope they’ll tempt you travel to a different part of Nagasaki to appreciate them. A note on our selection process – we owe a great debt of thanks to all of the members of the Nagasaki community who took the time to contribute suggestions. Of the huge number of recommendations received, we only had room for 20 in this issue. However, you can find the full version of the map online at: 8 www.facebook.com/nagazasshi Finally, it’s worth noting that opening hours may vary, and many of our suggested eateries have limited seating, so do please call ahead of your visit to double check, and make a reservation if needed. n



S 1

Goto 1



4-18 Chuomachi Goto-shi 〒853-0002

An upscale café serving delicious sandwiches, French toast and a selection of coffees, teas and smoothies.

Hirado 3rd Base Cafe


526-2 Tabiracho Okubomen Hirado-shi 〒859-4821


S 2


Chill on a hammock while you wait for your meal made from local ingredients. Free Ukulele lessons on Wednesday nights.

S 3



The Sea View Ranch 35 Kawachicho Hirado-shi 〒859-5132

Old West-style restaurant serving Hiradoraised beef dishes and decadent desserts. They even offer horse riding lessons.

1-5 Mantokucho Sasebo-shi 〒857-0034

Don’t let the name put you off! This café, run by one woman, is a great place to enjoy lunch.

S 5



Kebab Stand Plus


S 4




4-8 Shimokyomachi Sasebo-shi 〒857-0875

Craving a kebab? The mixed meat with spicy sauce should do the trick.

Huge portion sizes, abundant jalapenos, fresh guac and chips and huge margheritas galore. Meaty feasts and vegan options mean there’s something for everyone.


September/October 2015 | nagazasshi

4-12 Tokiwacho Sasebo-shi 〒857-0053

S 7

Steak Salon

1-3 Shiohamacho Sasebo-shi 〒857-0876

A small restaurant offering some of the best steaks in Kyushu. 2,500 yen buys you a full course meal with a huge cut of Nagasaki beef.


S 8


Kaya Burger


Far from town, but oh so popular. Ringing ahead with your order is recommended. Worth it for the prefecture’s tastiest burger.

SS 1412

S 15

S 9


1 Chome-38-6 Hayama Nagasaki-shi 〒852-8053

Michinoo-based cafe serving lamb, snails and proper pate. This hidden gem is famed for its “one coin” lunch set – 500 yen for the daily dish. nagazasshi | September/October 2015



A staff favourite – this curry house offers hearty sets offering an authentic Indian taste. The peanut butter naan and butter chicken are not to be missed. Dimples

11 2-15 Gotomachi Nagasaki-shi 〒850-0036

This Spanish/Japanese fusion restaurant offers beautifully seasoned and spiced zesty food in a fun and vibrant setting. Phenomenal course meals.


11 13


10 6-18 Nakazonomachi Nagasaki-shi 〒852-8155


SS SS 10


Nagasaki S




113-2 Yamatocho Sasebo-shi 〒857-1165


12 1F Matsumoto Bldg., 2−6, Kajiymachi Nagasaki-shi 〒850-0831

Some of the best Italian food we’ve eaten – both in and out of Japan. See page 6 for our full review.



This Hamanomachi café offers a hearty lunch set with daily side dishes. The best is, of course, huge onigiri with your choice of filling. Hiiragi


14 Hana Bldg 1F 6-8 Dozamachi Nagasaki-shi 〒850-0841

signature tomato ramen, topped with crispy eggplant, can be enjoyed any time of day.


Omusubi Hazuki

13 2F 9-2 Hamanomachi Nagasaki-shi 〒850-0853

Café Ripple

15 2785 Wakimisakimachi Nagasaki-shi 〒851-0506

Found on the southernmost tip of Nagasaki prefecture, this cafe specialises in local ingredients.

A Shianbashi post-nomikai pitstop – its






16 905-33 Kitahonmachi Obamacho Unzen-shi 〒854-0514

Part of the “slow food” movement, the menu seasonally changes. The pizzas, with flavours like black pepper and honey, are fantastic.


S 17


Mar Sala


17 2395-1 Kuchinotsuchoko Minamishimabara-shi 〒859-2502


Shimabara 島原半島

SS 19 20

A Burgers Café

19 4338-6 Honkojimachi Shimabara-shi 〒855-0073

Minutes by car from some of the hanto’s best beaches, Mar Sala offers beautiful views and delicious, authentic Italian food at fair prices.

Phenomenal burgers in an American Diner setting. The avocado cheeseburger is the best.



Yama no Tera Yukyo

18 3988-22 Fukaechobo Minamishimabara-shi 〒859-1505

Gaze upon the Ariake Sea while you eat char-grilled chicken and home-grown vegetable tempura. Gorgeous view.

Café Salle a Manger

20 172 Horimachi Shimabara-shi 〒855-0805

Jazz cafe offering world cuisine including Italian, Mexican, and Thai. The Santa Fe burger is a great start.

The Nagazasshi staff would like to thank our contributors: Dan Cohen, Sean Daeley, Francesca Discenza, Christine Hou, Emily Maitland, Kim Miglino, Jess Richards, Nico Sandoval, Sayaka Takahashi, Kate Williams, Matthew Wypycha, and Masako Wypycha.


September/October 2015 | nagazasshi

café K



* 906-7 Obunakoshimachi, Isahaya City, Nagasaki Prefecture 〒854-0062

( TEL 0957-26-4613| U 8:00 – 18:30 (Except Mondays)

Joy Tan shares the many appeals of café and bakery, Kamando.


amando, in NishiIsahaya, is first and foremost a bakery. This year marks a decade since it opened and its popularity among the locals has only continued to grow.

fails to deliver in freshness and flavor. Most popular is Kamando’s curry bread, a lightly breaded and yet crispy bun filled with thick chunks of beef steak and potatoes. Its maple honey roll is also favored by the locals popular is and sells by the loaf.

Most Kamando’s curry bread, a lightly breaded and yet crispy bun filled with thick chunks of beef steak and potatoes

And, this quaint shop’s popularity is not unfounded. The bread they offer never nagazasshi | September/October 2015

Good bread aside, Kamando’s outdoor ‘dining’ area, with wooden benches on a patio outside the store, also makes it the perfect spot for brunch or afternoon tea. Here you can bring your yummy spoils and enjoy them with a cup of coffee amongst friends and family.


Kamando’s outdoor ‘dining’ area, with wooden benches on a patio outside the store, also makes it the perfect spot for brunch or afternoon tea

Dining with kids? Kamando has a special area fully-equipped with toys and books to keep the young ones entertained. Unfortunately, there are no baristas to serve you your coffee. You grab a cup and press a button, and your beverage is issued from a machine. Despite this, the coffee is good, and even better, your first coffee is on the house, with the next cup costing you a mere ¥50. Located in a residential area with more twists, turns, and bends than you can imagine, Kamando is most easily accessible by car (with easily available parking spots right outside). That said, not having a car shouldn’t stop you from visiting Kamando – the 15 minute or so walk from NishiIsahaya Station should help you build up an appetite! In conclusion, with bread that leaves you wanting more, the option to dine


on an outdoor patio with friends, and free coffee, Kamando is a bakery café that I give a big thumbs up to! n photos Joy Tan

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Nagazasshi 8.2  

Stuck in a restaurant rut? Check out our Nagasaki Gourmet Map to and discover our top twenty eateries across the prefecture. You can find th...

Nagazasshi 8.2  

Stuck in a restaurant rut? Check out our Nagasaki Gourmet Map to and discover our top twenty eateries across the prefecture. You can find th...