Kumamoto has a variety of famous dishes, from raw horse meat, to mustard stuffed lotus root. One food occasionally overlooked by tourists is a type of Chinese food unique to Kumamoto. Taipien is one of those delicious fusion dishes that will leave you wanting more!
The origins of the soup are debated, but it is believed to have been brought over from by Chinese merchants who lived in Kumamoto. A traditional celebratory dish eaten in the Fujian Province, Kumamoto has put an original spin on it over centuries and it has become one of the iconic dishes of the city.
In fact, you can find it in local school lunches quite often. The kids go crazy for it, and it encourages them to step away from the usual noodles, and try some vermicelli!
The soup consists of vermicelli noodles (bean starch based), cooked with Chinese cabbage, shrimp, squid, sliced pork, quail egg or a battered boiled egg, and fish paste, all in a rich chicken broth. The soup is low in calories, nutritious, and delicious! The ingredients vary slightly from restaurant to restaurant, but these are the basics.
Although available at many restaurants, all claiming a rich history and offering ‘the best’ soup, the current undisputed king of Taipien is Korante Chinese Restaurant, found in both the Kamitori and Shimotori shopping arcades.
You can also buy instant versions of Taipien for souvenirs or easy cooking,
but give the good stuff a try if you have a chance. Your belly will thank you.