Saturday, September 25, 2010

It's Gobbling Time! Fantastic 4 Brings Kyushu Munchies Tomorrow!

Ikinari Dango
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 JapanTown’s Soul Food Festival presents Fantastic 4! Hailing from Kumamoto Prefecture, Fantastic 4 is bringing to the festival some popular local dishes that are all part of a trend in Japan called B-class gourmet. B-class gourmet is a term for foods that are ordinary and common, yet popular for being delicious and flavorful.

Fantastic 4 will be offering taipi-en, ikinari dango, and Tornado Meat Riceballs. Taipi-en originated in China and is one of the most ubiquitous dishes in Kumamoto. It is a low-calorie vermicelli soup topped with local ingredients such as pork, fish cake, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, shrimp, squid, and eggs. Taipi-en is a popular school lunch in Kyushu as well as throughout Japan. Another specialty of Kumamoto is ikinari dango, a steamed dumpling stuffed with sweet potato and a layer of anko, or red bean paste. Ikinari means "all of a sudden" in Japanese, a reference to how easily the locals can cook up this tasty treat; people can serve visitors who suddenly drop these ikinari dango because they can be made in minutes. Finally there are the Tornado Meat Riceballs (also known as nikumachi onigiri), coming from Miyazaki Prefecture in the eastern part of Kyushu. These are grilled onigiri wrapped in pork slices with special sauce. A prime example B-class gourmet, Tornado Meat Riceballs are very popular with young people because it's cheap, bursing with pork flavor, and filling.

These are all one-of-a-kind eats you won't find anywhere in New York, so make sure you give it a try at the Soul Food Festival tomorrow!

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Tornado Meat Riceball (nikumachi onigiri)
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