• Ryusuitei: 'Koi-no-arai' (washed carp) and other pristine freshwater fish

    Food & Restaurant_Story

    Ryusuitei: 'Koi-no-arai' (washed carp) and other pristine freshwater fish


Nestled in the scenic surrounds of Arita, on the southern island of Kyushu sits a culinary secret that, to be fair, may challenge but also surprise and delight the culinary adventurers, koi (aka Japanese carp). Ryusuitei is a Michelin-recognized establishment known for its incredible sashimi-esque specialty. This year marks the restaurant's 100th year anniversary, proving that the key to longevity is quality, hospitality and uniqueness.

Ryusuitei, past and present (Photos: Ryusuitei)

In Japanese culture, koi fish (carp) has long been a symbol of luck, prosperity, and good fortune, more often spotted in small house ponds and immaculate Japanese gardens than on restaurant menus. But given that unlike many of the nation's other sashimi origins, koi are freshwater fish, they're often overlooked, wrongly considered flavourless or too heavily seasoned with vinegar and the like.

Photos: Ryusuitei & TARO

In reality, however, koi are as tasty as they are beautiful, as Ryusuitei proves. Here, the fish is fresh and flavorful, as the pure water that surrounds the area gives the fish more flavour and a refreshing bouncy-crisp texture. The carp that is served here live out their days in a river that has been selected as one of the top 100 bodies of water in Japan, giving the fishs' flesh a beautiful blushing pink colour and a sweetness that can't be beaten.

Koi-no-arai (Photo: Ryusuitei)

You can't visit Ryusuitei without trying "koi-no-arai” (鯉のあらい), it's raw fish but a little different to traditional sashimi. The name 'koi no arai' translates to 'washed carp.' The dish is prepared by washing the pieces of fish in warm water at a ratio of 1:10 (one part fish, 10 parts water). As the temperature of the warm water drops, more warm water is added. After, the flesh will have tightened and become firm, after the fish is then washed with cold running water and drained. It’s served cold, making it an ideal hot weather dish, and it is incredibly popular in summer.

Photos: Ryusuitei & TARO

Another must not miss dish is "koikoku" (鯉こく) a deliciously comforting but clean blend of delicious carp and Kyushu's unique sweet barley miso, which goes great with yuzu. All the miso served here is proudly handmade, with the full flavour brought out using a technique of firewood burning.

koikoku (Photo: Ryusuitei)

Freshwater eel (Photo: Ryusuitei)

Before your meal, be sure to put aside a little time to explore the stunning delights of Arita, from the unique and long-running ceramic history to the incredible natural beauty of Ryumon Gorge. Sitting right on the doorstep of Ryusuitei, Ryumon Gorge is a lush pocket of Kyushu, practically untouched by tourism.

Address and details:
龍水亭 / Ryusuitei
所在地: 佐賀県西松浦郡有田町広瀬山甲2286-22
2286-22 Hiroseyamako, Arita-cho, Nishimatsuura-gun, Saga Prefecture
Tel: 0955-46-2155

Contact TARO for more information, complete travel plans and exclusive offers.

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