Fukuoka is famous for its good food, and if you are visiting Japan for its food then Fukuoka must be in your itinerary. Every kind of food product including beef, chicken and pork, fresh vegetables and fruits, seafood are grown in Kyushu island and are available throughout the year. Here are some of the famous Hakata cuisine you must eat when you visit Fukuoka. Skip out on these is like going to New York and not seeing the Statue of Liberty.
TONKOTSU RAMEN 豚骨ラーメン(Noodle in Pork Broth)
There are many kinds of Raamen in Japan such as miso raamen and shoyu raamen (soysauce) but if you order Raamen in Fukuoka, it is TONKOTSU RAAMEN. Famous Tonkotsu raamen restaurants are: Ichiran(一蘭) (Read our article about it!), Ippudo(一風堂). Famous as they are, they are used to tourist from overseas and there are many branches all over Fukuoka. Ganso Nagahama (元祖長浜) which is located in the Nagahama area is very popular among locals (and you know the locals know better).
YAKITORI 焼鳥(Chiken Barbecue)
Fukuoka is famous for good chicken. This cuisine is called Yakitori (chicken barbecue) but many pork and vegetable grills are also available. They are served on sticks (as seen in photos) and are served fresh from the grill. Yakitori is best experienced with your favorite drink (which needless to say must be alcoholic!). There are many Yakitori restaurants in Fukuoka but our favorite restaurant is a quaint hole in the wall-ish one called Yakitori Fuji (富士) which is literally 2 feet away from Tojinmachi (唐人町) Subway station Exit no.1 (Watch out for our feature on it soon!). The best place for Yakitori however would be in Kurume City, still in Fukuoka Prefecture. If you have a chance to stop by Kurume City, make sure to try their legendary Yakitori.
UDON うどん(Wheat noodle)
This is Asawa’s favorite food in the world. You can find Udon anywhere in Japan but Hakata (Fukuoka) Udon is one of the best. The features of Hakata Udon are thick Udon noodles and soup with special dashi and grilled flying fish. Famous restaurants are West（ウエスト） and Noko-Uudon（能古うどん）. West has many branches in Fukuoka. Nokoudon opened their fast food style restaurant in the Canal City. Asawa’s favorite is Minematsuhonke （峰松本家） which is located in the basement of Fuku-biru in Tenjin.
MOTSUNABE もつ鍋(Hot Pot with Cow’s intestine)
Motsunabe originated in Fukuoka, and one can only expect to find the best motsunabe only in Fukuoka. Nabe means “hot pot”, and Motsu means “Offal” (usually beef intestines). Put them together and you know what this dish is all about. The hot pot is filled with soup, prepared beef or pork offal and boiled for a while right at your table. Cabbage, garlic and other vegetables are added. Champon noodles can also be added. Some of you might find the idea of eating beef innards as strange, but give it try and you will see why it is such a hit. It doesn’t look and taste as scary as it sounds. Fukuoka has the most efficient way of maintaining the freshness of the offal hence the ability to make the best motsunabe in Japan.
Motsunabe goes well with Shotsuu(焼酎) and beer. Probably the most interesting place to try it in Fukuoka is in the Akasaka branch of Motsunabe Yamanaka. Entering the restaurant deceives you into thinking you are checking in to a luxurious hotel. Its vast interiors and amazing bathrooms almost distract you from the star of the show, the great motsunabe. It begins to look expensive but you will be amazed with the affordable meals! Visit their website to get a glimpse of the interiors. You will have to visit them personally to get a glimpse and a taste of their famous motsunabe. Reservations are strongly recommended. Phone: 092-552-6915. (Watch out for our feature of the restaurant soon!)
Gyoza is a mixture of minced pork, cabbage, garlic wrapped in thin dough skins. Japanese Gyoza differs from its Chinese counterpart by having a richer garlic flavor and thinner wrap. It is also lightly flavored with salt and soy sauce.Gyoza was originally from China, and all things Chinese that entered Japan entered through Kyushu Island. Thus, Fukuoka can be said to be the birth place of gyoza in Japan. Gyoza can be purchased already prepared in any Japanese supermarket if you do not have the patience to make it yourself. Gyoza is cooked either fried yaki-gyōza (焼き餃子), sui-gyōza (水餃子) or deep fried. Watch out for out How to Cook Gyoza post soon!
A very popular gyoza resturant in Fukuoka is Temujin (テムジン) in the Daimyo area. You can check out the walls for autographs of many famous people who have travelled miles just to get to Temujin. Address: 2F Donpa Munakata Bldg. Daimyo, Fukuoka City.
*Fukuoka is a food lover’s wonderland so this list of recommended food to eat in Fukuoka is not yet complete. Watch our for Part 2 very soon!