Castella is a type of sponge cake introduced to Japan by Portuguese missionaries in the mid-16th century. It is believed to have been developed in Spain and Portugal. The first castella recipe that came to Japan called for mixing equal parts of three ingredients - flour, sugar and eggs - and cooking the mixture in a covered steam cooking pot (either rectangular or round) with fire both above and below. Beginning in the early Edo period, the recipe gradually evolved with the addition of starch syrup as sweetener and other ingredients. The recipe continued to be improved until the development of today's uniquely moist Japanese castella. "Nagasaki castella" remains immensely popular as a souvenir of Nagasaki, and city residents take great pride in it. Moreover, each producer continues to prepare modern castella with many innovations while respecting the traditional flavor.
Nagasaki chanpon was created when Chin Heijun, a Chinese restaurant owner in Shikairo, suggested a cheap and nutritious dish for visiting Chinese students who lived frugally at the time. The first version was just a simple combination of pork and bamboo shoots, but eventually it came to include locally abundant ingredients and seafood such as squid, oysters, and shrimp harvested from Nagasaki's coastal waters. Also characteristic is the unique flavor achieved by adding Chinese lye to the noodles, which is normally included in the skins of Chinese dumplings. Originating from Champon, the noodles in Saraudon are topped with a thick sauce instead of a soup. The origin of the word "chanpon" is the Fujian word shapon, which means "to eat a meal." Some believe it combines the sound of the Chinese bell, chan, and the pon sound of Japanese drums. One can say that Nagasaki's chanpon is a specialty born in Nagasaki yet matured under the influence of its creators, ingredients, and environment.
Shippoku cuisine is an original creation of the Chinese living in the Chinese quarter. While it was intended to entertain Japanese and Western visitors, it spread to common households and evolved into a feast that is presented in traditional Japanese restaurants even today. The primary characteristic of Shippoku cuisine is jikabashi, the seating of the diners around a lacquered round table on which the food is served in one dish, with all diners serving themselves. This creates an atmosphere of omoyai (sharing) and contributes to a harmonious atmosphere. In addition, even before the toast, the custom is for the host to signal the start of the meal with mainly one phrase, "Please help yourself to the Ohire broth." Shippoku cuisine, which was introduced to Nagasaki, has evolved over the years with the blended influences of Japanese and Western cuisine. Today, it is a truly local cuisine of Nagasaki that combines the best of China, Japan, and the West.
Kakuni Manju is a steamed bun filled with “Kakuni” or Japanese stewed pork, which is a dish from Shippoku Cuisine. It is one of the most popular souvenirs in Nagasaki.
Nagasaki Beef won first prize at the 2012 Japanese Beef Olympics. Its naturally aromatic taste makes it perfect for steak or BBQ.
Nagasaki is naturally blessed with first class seafood like lobster and sea bream. The infamous fugu, or globefish, is also a local specialty and is eaten by those diners courageous enough to try it.