Karaage Festival!

Fukuoka has just concluded its karaage festival! RocketNews24 reported that over two dozen karaage restaurants took part in the event to serve up their take on karaage, and there was even karaage ice cream! That’s fried chicken flavoured ice cream! My limited grasp of the Japanese language tells me that the karaage festival is a traveling one, but I am not able to figure out where and when the next event will be held.

I should explain the fascination with karaage. One Sunday afternoon we were channel surfing on the couch, and this Japanese food show popped up on screen. It featured 2 happy go lucky ojiisan driving a lorry around Japan to fix their cravings for whatever food they happened to think of. A portion of the episode was dedicated to finding the best chicken karaage, so they ended up in Nakatsu city of Oita prefecture. After that episode, A could not stop thinking about karrage! Talk about the power of media.

Trip Advisor rates Nakatsu Karaage Moriyama Manda Main Store as the #1 must try restaurant in Nakatsu. The pictures posted by reviewers look tempting enough, and as I’m writing this I’m mentally salivating.

Interestingly, in Hokkaido, fried chicken is called zangi instead. In my Google search, I came across a YouTube channel containing videos of food eaten in and around Hokkaido. I never understood the allure of “eating” videos, but this 2 minutes video on eating zangi is really quite fascinating!

To my pleasant surprise, the channel put up a video of eating in Santouka too!

This is absolutely hilarious, food bloggers should follow suit instead of only posting instagram worthy photos.

Asahikawa, Hokkaido

I actually contemplated posting this, I don’t know what kind of madness will descend once A realises that he can sample the original Santouka ramen in Asahikawa.

I’m not going to verify the claims of Asahikawa being the birthplace of ramen, it is not worth the effort. Regardless of the veracity, the Asahikawa Ramen Village comes highly recommended as it houses EIGHT of the most well known ramen ten, with Santouka being one of them.

The last time my family took a trip there, we had no idea what Asahikawa was famous for, it was just a place my mom suggested going to. So the kind taxi driver suggested bringing us to a ramen ten, and we ended up right outside the original Santouka ramen ten! Talk about fate. And boy, it was really really really good. The best thing about having ramen in Japan is the free flow rice and pickles, which A is sure to love.

Besides ramen, Asahikawa Zoo is pretty well known too, but I doubt A has much interest in that. I suppose a day trip to Asahikawa is sufficient, especially since the Hokkaido Rail Pass allows unlimited rides on the JR trains.

I was searching for photos of ramen to put up here, but I found something even better:

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THERE EXISTS SANTOUKA INSTANT RAMEN?!

If this is not the reason to go to Japan, I don’t know what is!

Honeymoon Rage

I LOATHE the term honeymoon. I don’t know why it’s necessary for couples to take a trip after their w, and when we tell others we have no plans they give us the “are you serious” look. A and I take short trips whenever our work schedules allow (which is not a lot), but even during lull periods we are quite contented just roaming around Singapore.

Anyway it’s been more than a year since we took a trip together and A has chalked up quite a number of miles so we started looking at flights to Japan. That it is soon after our w is merely a coincidence and I will cringe if anyone calls it a honeymoon (although if it means we get free upgrades or complimentary passes then label it away!).

So the objectives are simple: we want to eat ramen and chicken karaage. I know, our dreams are small (and very Singaporean). The problem is the birthplace of ramen is in Asahikawa, Hokkaido and the holy grail of karaage is in Oita, Kyushu. To illustrate the distance:


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THEY ARE AT THE OPPOSITE ENDS OF EACH OTHER!

Obviously we won’t be able to cover both places in a single trip. There are pros and cons for both places, I shall list them:

Air Tickets
To fly into Hokkaido, one has to land in Chitose Airport located in Sapporo. SQ does not have direct flights to Chitose, so a domestic transfer is required at Narita (Tokyo). The total amount spent will be 76.5k miles + 550 SGD, or 100k miles.

The major airport in Kyushu is Fukuoka, and SQ has a direct flight there. Total amount spent will be 76.5k miles.

(Note: We currently have only 69k miles. Sponge has kindly offered to top up the balance required as our w gift, but that is too much to ask from a friend. Is it?)

Weather
In general, Hokkaido’s climate is a cooling one with the lowest temperature at -4°C in January and 22°C in August. It is the perfect weather to travel in, something A will greatly appreciate.

In comparison, Kyushu is significantly hotter with the lowest temperature at 7°C in January and 27°C in August.

Things to do
There are things to do in both places that’s for sure, but having been to Hokkaido before, I feel more at ease leading the way there. However, an internet search suggests that Kyushu is pretty fun too! So I suppose this point is moot.

So I think I’ll leave the decision to A, since we are using his miles and he is the picky one when it comes to food and weather. After he decides where we will go, we will decide when we will go. That is another headache altogether.