Nagasaki is well-known for champon and Castella cake. Unfortunately, I did not get to try either when I was there ‘cos I ran out of time and tummy space. What I did try was the chawanmushi at Yosso, a restaurant that has been around since 1866. My friend (a chef by profession) who had recommended Karo no Udon to me highly recommended this restaurant. He told me that the chawanmushi is so good, he ate several bowls by himself when he visited Yosso.
I managed to find my way to Yosso quite easily, thanks to Google Maps and the portable wifi. Yosso is a traditional restaurant and customers are required to take off their shoes and change into indoor slippers. I like this practice even though it can be a little bothersome at times, especially when you are wearing laced-up shoes.
I was led to the dining rooms located on the second floor. I was glad that they gave me a Western style table, ‘cos I am not used to sitting down at Japanese tables. I always feel like a clumsy oaf trying to sit down and get up gracefully, not to say the inevitable cramps that I get from sitting with my legs folded under my butt.
After perusing the English menu, I decided to order one of the chawanmushi teshokus. As my friend warned me that the chawanmushi came in a big serving, I should be mindful not to over-order my food. I had intended to order only a bowl of chawanmushi first, before deciding if I wanted more food. But looking at the tempting teshokus on the tables around me, I decided to order one for myself too. Plus a small bottle of sake. I love drinking at lunch time – it is more fun and more indulgent than drinking at dinner.
My teshoku came with a bowl of soboro, a bowl of chawanmushi, a slice of stewed pork belly and several side dishes containing pickles and stewed vegetables. Despite knowing that the chawanmushi would be a fairly huge portion, I was still surprised at how big it was. It was probably three times the size of the portion that we are used to. Three times more to eat!
The chawanmushi was incredible, unlike any that I have tried before. The texture was soooo silky smooth, it just slided down my throat. Courtesy of the bonito that was used to make the broth, the flavour of the custard was very good – light and very tasty. I savored every bit of the chawanmushi with utter delight. I could understand why my chef-friend raved about it. I would have ordered another bowl of chawanmushi if not for the bowl of soboro that I was obliged to eat.
The tri-coloured soboro (basically, ground chicken over rice) looked so attractive, it was impossible for me not to order it. Ground chicken, julienned omelette and I cannot remember the item in pink – I think it is a kind of fish flakes – over rice. The soboro was very delicious but after eating the big bowl of chawanmushi, I really struggled to finish it. I stumbled out of the restaurant, satiated from lunch and a little high from sake, happy as a bunny. I meant to visit one of the shops selling Castella cake and buy some to eat back in the hotel, but in my slightly tipsy state, forgot all about it! I managed to make my way to the Spectacles Bridge though.
Directions to Yosso
Address: 8-9 Hama-machi
1. Take the tram and alight at the Kanko-dori stop. Enter the Hamano-machi Shopping Arcade (basically a long covered shopping street lined with shops on both sides).
2. Walk along the shopping arcade till you see this shop (about 3 intersections after you enter the shopping arcade from the Kanko-dori tram stop). It is the Yosso specialty shop and not the restaurant.
3. Turn right at the specialty stop and you will see the Yosso restaurant almost immediately. It is adorned with red lanterns, and you cannot miss it.
Mmmmm, such yummy chawanmushi. I want to eat it again!