Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Hakata Hanamidori (Hakata JR Station Chikusi Exit) 博多華味鳥 (博多駅筑紫口店)

Visited 15.03.2014

Right: Raw chicken ham.
Have you ever eaten Bijin Nabe (beauty hot pot) in Singapore? This Japanese style chicken hot pot has become increasingly popular since it was introduced here a few years ago. The highlight is the rich and flavorful chicken collagen soup. Chicken bones are fully dissolved in a stock cooked for more than 8 hours. Tasty and moist chicken meat and a good variety of organic vegetables are simmered together in the milky beauty collagen soup. So far, I have eaten this once in Singapore and have always wanted to visit it again. In fact, Tsukada Nojo, the name of the restaurant offering this hot pot dish, originated from Miyazaki Prefecture in Kyushu. 

Raw chicken? A similar version of Bijin Nabe can be found in in Hakata. It is called Mizutaki or chicken hot pot and is a specialty dish offered in numerous restaurants here in Hakata. Chose Hanamidori, one of the most established names with about 10 branches just within Fukuoka. Hanamidori has their own chicken poultry farms to ensure the best quality chicken can be served on the tables.  Came to this branch located nearby Hakata Miyako Hotel. Very comfortable setting, well illuminated and wooden blinds are pulled down between tables to create a personal space for diners. Hanamidori offers various set courses catered to different budget and we decided to go for the Aji course (味コース). The set course comprised of appetisers, raw chicken ham, seared chicken, chicken broth hot pot and rice. What baffled me most in the menu was raw chicken meat. The first question that pops up in everyone's mind: is it even safe to eat raw meat in the first place? Most of us should have eaten uncooked chicken meat unintentionally during BBQ and steamboat sessions, and raw meat is very chewy and unpalatable. However, the thinly sliced raw chicken ham served by Hanamidori has a firm texture and tasted much better than I thought - just like any ham I had before. Passed my taste test.

Mizutaki. Before we begin eating the chicken broth hot pot, waitress scooped a small of cup of chicken broth sprinkled with chopped spring onions for each of us to drink. The soup was luscious - "unami" of chicken broth broke out instantaneously in our mouths on the every first sip! Handmade meat balls, liver (which my parents liked very much) and vegetables elevated the flavours of the soup further. Hanamidori's signature ponzu sauce is an important condiment for the meat - the slightly sour taste whet the appetite and went well with the moist chicken meat. Just when you thought the set course was completed after all the ingredients in the soup were eaten, the waitress proceeded to create a porridge with the remaining soup and beat an raw egg into it as well. Slurped up the entire bowl of porridge as soon as it was served to us - a gesture to show that we enjoyed this entire chicken feast very much.

Looks like Mizutaki has topped the list of food I will want to eat again in Kyushu!  

Do you know? Hanamidori has opened an overseas branch in Singapore, currently located in Plaza Singapura. Have yet to pay this restaurant a visit. With the success of Bijin Nabe in Singapore I believe the reception to Hanamidori should be pretty decent as well.


Hanamidori (Hakata JR Station Chikusi Exit) 博多華味鳥 (博多駅筑紫口店)
福岡市博多区博多駅東1-13-31 駅東サンシティビル1F
Opening hrs: 1130 - 1500 hrs; 1700 - 0000 hrs


Video: Restaurant was featured in 食尚玩家. Scroll to 42:00 for their recommendation on the restaurant.

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