A vegetarian set meal at Kebabooz (Photo: Mandy Bartok)


A taste of Africa in Fukuoka's trendy Daimyo area

A vegetarian set meal at Kebabooz (Photo: Mandy Bartok)
Mandy Bartok   - 2 min read

If you like good food, you'll be spoiled for choice by the amount of restaurants in Fukuoka's Daimyo neighborhood. Take your time strolling through the tiny backstreets here, however, and you're bound to stumble across a true diamond in the rough. For me, that diamond is Kebabooz.

Go ahead and chuckle at the name if you wish, but I guarantee you won't be laughing at the food. Kebabooz offers a range of menu items from the owner's home country of Sudan. As the name indicates, there are certainly kebabs on the menu, as well as a kufta plate and a hearty lamb stew, for the meat lovers reading this. As much as the stew made my mouth water just seeing it on the menu, the outside temperatures convinced me to opt for the lighter vegetarian plate (¥1600). This selection - which was anything but meager - consisted of aswad, a Sudanese dish of grilled eggplant drizzled with a spiced yogurt sauce; tamiya, the Sudanese version of falafel; a fresh mixed salad; a portion of hummus that tasted like no other I have ever had; and plenty of pita bread to mop up the mix of delicious sauces. Most of the set meals come with the option of either soup or dessert. Both looked tempting but I am an unapologetic sweets lover so I took my pick of the desserts - a hot semolina cake called Basbusa - and didn't regret a thing. Set meals didn't come with drinks included (though a carafe of ice water was left on my table) but I recommend the iced chai, brewed fresh while I waited and left unsweetened (I added sugar to my own taste).

Kebabooz isn't the easiest place to find, set back from the alley on the first floor of a building on the outskirts of the Daimyo neighborhood. It also has a limited number of seats (only four tables with four chairs apiece) so you might want to call ahead on weekends or holidays. Despite those minor setbacks, however, you're in for a warm welcome from the multilingual staff and an enjoyable meal of specialties you don't normally find anywhere in Japan.

Mandy Bartok

Mandy Bartok @mandy.bartok

Japan resident for 10 years, with time spent in Okinawa, Kumamoto and Tokyo.