Kumamoto's Local Cuisine: Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes

Kumamoto's Local Cuisine: Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes

Kumamoto's Local Cuisine: Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes


Kumamoto, located in the Kumamoto Prefecture on the island of Kyushu in Japan, offers a diverse and delightful culinary experience. With its rich history and natural resources, Kumamoto is known for its unique local cuisine that showcases the region's flavors and culinary traditions.

Kumamoto Ramen

A must-try dish in Kumamoto is Kumamoto Ramen. This local variation of ramen features a rich and savory tonkotsu (pork bone) broth, thin and straight noodles, tender slices of chashu (braised pork), and toppings like green onions, wood ear mushrooms, and seaweed. The broth is typically flavored with garlic and has a distinct, hearty taste that sets it apart from other ramen styles.

Ikinari Dango

Another specialty of Kumamoto is Ikinari Dango, a sweet dumpling made from sweet potato and covered in a sticky soybean flour glaze. The sweet and earthy flavor of the sweet potato combined with the slight bitterness of the soybean flour creates a delightful taste. Ikinari Dango is often served as a dessert or snack and is a popular treat among locals and visitors alike.


For adventurous food enthusiasts, Basashi is a unique dish to try. Basashi, also known as horse sashimi, is thinly sliced raw horse meat. It is typically served with soy sauce, grated ginger, and garlic. Despite its unconventional nature, Basashi has a tender texture and a mild, slightly gamey flavor. It is considered a delicacy in Kumamoto and can be found in specialized restaurants.


When visiting Kumamoto, make sure to check out these local restaurants that offer authentic Kumamoto cuisine:

  • Restaurant A: Located in the heart of Kumamoto City, this restaurant specializes in Kumamoto Ramen and has been serving locals for over 50 years. Their tonkotsu broth is simmered for hours to achieve maximum flavor.
  • Restaurant B: Situated near Kumamoto Castle, this cozy restaurant is known for its Ikinari Dango. Their homemade sweet potato dumplings are the perfect combination of sweetness and texture.
  • Restaurant C: If you're feeling adventurous, head to this Basashi specialty restaurant. They offer a variety of horse meat dishes, including Basashi sashimi, grilled Basashi, and Basashi hot pot.


If you're unable to visit Kumamoto, here are two traditional recipes that you can try at home:

Kumamoto Ramen Recipe


  • Tonkotsu (pork bone) broth
  • Thin ramen noodles
  • Braised pork slices (chashu)
  • Green onions
  • Wood ear mushrooms
  • Seaweed
  • Garlic


  1. Prepare the tonkotsu broth by simmering pork bones with water and aromatics for several hours.
  2. Cook the ramen noodles according to the package instructions.
  3. In a separate pan, heat the tonkotsu broth and add minced garlic for flavor.
  4. Assemble the ramen bowl with noodles, broth, chashu, green onions, wood ear mushrooms, and seaweed.
  5. Enjoy the rich flavors of Kumamoto Ramen!

Ikinari Dango Recipe


  • Sweet potatoes
  • Soybean flour
  • Water
  • Sugar


  1. Steam or boil the sweet potatoes until they are soft and easily mashed.
  2. Mash the sweet potatoes and shape them into small dumplings.
  3. In a pan, heat water and dissolve sugar to create a syrup-like glaze.
  4. Roll the sweet potato dumplings in soybean flour, then dip them into the sweet syrup glaze.
  5. Allow the glaze to cool and harden before serving.
  6. Savor the sweet and sticky goodness of Ikinari Dango!

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