Nana and I tend to judge a city by its food. As I've noted time and again, we really landed on our feet here in Fukuoka: turns out our home away from home is one of the major culinary capitals of Japan. Fukuoka is especially known for having a wide variety of foreign food: our regular weekly activities put us in range of very good Chinese, Korean, American, Italian, French, German, Indian, Thai, and Turkish food, not to mention foreign-inspired Japanese dishes like yakinikku.
Sometimes, though, the food here borders on the absurd.
For instance: yesterday, after a long afternoon bled into a long evening at work, a co-worker invited us to join us for Basque food.
You may be forgiven for not knowing that the Basque Country is a semi-autonomous region on the border between France and Spain inhabited by a people who have been living in the area since before 2000 BC. It's also host to one of Europe's most active domestic terrorist groups, the ETA.
There are roughly 5-10 million self-identified Basques in the world today. They live all over the world, with more of them in Argentina, in fact, than there are in France or Spain.
I couldn't find any data for the number of Basques in Japan, though it seems there's at least one in Fukuoka.
What's more, they've opened a restaurant . . . within walking distance of our house in the sleepy suburb of Muromi.
These are the moments when you find yourself looking over your shoulder, trying to spot the hidden camera. Seriously, Fukuoka? A Basque restaurant? In Muromi?
Now if only we could get some decent Mexican nearby, we'd be set!
By the way,
Basque food, if you're interested, is delicious. Meat and cheese, an awesome shrimp and avocado salad, and a simple but flavorful stew of lamb and peppers. Not cheap, mind you, but very, very good!