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Furaibo Pub – A Quaint Little Bargain Beyond Belief

By: Dinner Gong

Date Posted: 2000-06-10

Furaibo is a quaint little izakaya, or Japanese pub restaurant, located near Awase. The name, translated in English, means “vagabond.” I’m not sure what the relevance is other than a reference to aimless wanderers in medieval Japan who loved to while away a great deal of their time in pubs and taverns. At any rate, Furaibo in my book means “great food, cheap prices.”

When you walk into the place, the first thing that catches your eyes is the three-foot long sea turtle swimming inside a huge (at least by residential standards) aquarium. That, and the array of sake, awamori, and other assorted liquor on the wall. There’s little doubt as to what the proprietor intends for you to wash down your meal with.

Although Furaibo’s menu is as extensive as that of any other izakaya’s, the sushi, or nigiri set is what keeps me and undoubtedly countless others coming back to the joint for lunch. What you get for a mere 500 yen is a ten-piece nigiri sushi fresh from the chef’s cutting block. The assortment includes tuna, salmon, shrimp, and other fresh seafood. Since the meal is a set dish, you also get a bowl of miso soup. At the end of the meal the waitress serves your choice of iced tea or coffee. Can you believe it? Most restaurants charge 300 yen for iced coffee alone! The nigiri set is thankfully available till 8 PM, although the meal ending iced tea or coffee is no longer gratis after lunch.

If you want something a bit more filling than sushi, you might want to try the tempura set for 600 yen. Like the nigiri set, this one is also a bargain beyond belief. The portions are large and filling enough to be appropriate for dinner. The seafood and vegetable tempura is light and not the least bit greasy. Included with the tempura set are rice, miso soup, sashimi (fresh raw fish) and iced tea or coffee.

During dinner hours Furaibo offers a number of specialties meant to be enjoyed with drinking. Furaibo’s karage chicken, or Japanese fried chicken, is in my opinion the best I’ve ever tried (and in fact the flier on the wall claims that once you try it you’ll be hooked!). I also like their tebichi (pork legs) in miso-peanut sauce, although I must admit this one is probably not for everybody. Most dishes are in the 500 – 700 yen range, allowing you to sample the menu selections without busting your wallet.

This being a pub restaurant, Furaibo’s bargains aren’t limited to food. Smooth draft beer that comes in a large mug is only 190 yen right up till 8 PM. Other libations are promoted rather unusually but they represent a great deal nonetheless. For example, if your food tab exceeds 3000 yen, Furaibo throws in a 2000-yen bottle of awamori! For 1980 yen, you can get a sashimi set accompanied by a bottle of awamori valued at 1500 yen, which makes me wonder, does the sashimi come with the awamori or does the awamori come with the sashimi?

There’s no English menu at Furaibo, but if you’re familiar with Japanese food, particularly the types served in izakayas, you should have no trouble asking the waitress for what you want. Better yet, invite along a Japanese friend or two for lunch or dinner. Either way you’ll come away with your hunger satisfied and your pocketbook nearly intact.

Directions: From Kadena’s Gate Two head out towards Goya Corners. Continue to drive until you see Koza Baptist church on your left. Count five traffic lights past the church and at the fifth light you’ll see a Family Mart convenience store on your left; Furaibo is directly across the street. Do not go past the fifth traffic light but take a right turn into the alleyway at the light and immediately turn left into the dirt parking lot behind the restaurant. Furaibo accepts only yen.

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