Monday, September 05, 2011

Hakata Kurogane - Late night chicken wings at Hakata Station, Fukuoka, Kyushu

Chicken wings!
We arrived in Fukuoka in the evening and it took us a while to find our hotel (despite it being right next to Hakata Station), so by the time we did and put our bags down we were pretty tired. Without any plans, we wandered around the area as it seemed quite lively still. If all else failed we could have still gone to the myriad Lawsons, Family Marts and 7-Elevens - Japanese convenience stores are amazing; an onigiri from any one of those would have been better than one at the largest Japanese restaurant in any medium-sized Australian town. Seriously.

Turns out that there were plenty of places still open, so we didn't have to resort to combini (that's what the Japanese call their convenience stores) onigiri or oden. After weaving past some sketchy pachinko parlours, "Chinese" fast food chains and closed ramen shops (they didn't look good anyway), and not being run over by a teenage bicycle gang, we found Hakata Kurogane, the entrance of which was swathed in banners showing crisp, golden yakitori. Sure, these few streets immediately surrounding the station were a little dodgy, but hey, if anyone knows about late night eating, it's gangsters.

Not to say that this place was full of gangsters though, nor were the streets full of them - they just weren't as squeaky clean as most of the other Japanese streets people (perhaps tourists) are used to walking down. This place was still spacious, clean, if not a bit run down, and the servers were courteous nonetheless. And damn, were their chicken wings good.

A beautifully golden, crisp skin rubbed with just enough salt and that wasn't the least bit greasy, hiding a juicy, meaty (but not too meaty) interior. I squirm at the word "succulent" but if someone called these succulent I wouldn't disagree. (And maybe by resisting my screaming, kicking or shivers, I can be rewarded 3 more wings?)
Behold! It's technology!
The other skewers were kind of mediocre though, or maybe it's not the style I like. Most of them were covered in a sweet, glossy sauce, including the chicken skin, which I thought would be served crunchy and sauce-free (who likes rubbery chicken skin dripping in sweet sauce? Apparently some people do). The above photo was taken to remind us that technology isn't infallible. We came across an item on the menu that we knew how to read ("tsukene") but had no idea what it meant. So we put it through an auto translator like 21st Century Gen Ys toting iPhones. It spat out "I get" as the translation. Pretty wrong, because it turned out to be a skinless chicken sausage (or mince in sausage form), but we got it, because well, didn't the machine tell us to?
back: tsukune (minced chicken "sausage") and front: chicken skins

itsy-bitsy one-bite gyoza
The gyoza weren't bad - greasy, juicy, served on a piping hot tray - great drinking food. Feels so great to get such decent food after hours. So no onigiri (yet, anyway) but we still managed to buy all sorts of edible tidbits at Lawson on the way back to the hotel...

Hakata Kurogane (博多黒鉄)
G/F Hakata Station Chuo-gai 1-1
博多駅中央街1-1 西高架下

View e_ting in Fukuoka in a larger map

1 comment:

  1. Mariko10:41 pm

    ---Japanese convenience stores are amazing; an onigiri from any one of those would have been better than one at the largest Japanese restaurant in any medium-sized Australian town. Seriously.---
    100% agree! it's the first thing for me to do everytime I get back in my home country. DASHING TO A CONVENIENCE STORE. Seriously.