Whenever I go to Japan, I always feel compelled to write these kinds of round-ups. There’s so much delicious food in this country. So much it makes my head spin! This post isn’t a definitive answer to the question of what to eat in Fukuoka by any means, but I really liked the variety of the food we tried during this trip so that’s what this list will be highlighting. I hope that I can give you even the tiniest idea of the food scene here in Fukuoka. But first, I’ve got a little video to tease your appetite.
If you’re curious about each location in the video, read on for more details on what to eat in Fukuoka if you want to fly home with a happy tummy!
1. The ever-popular Ichiran Ramen
Of course we’re starting with the obvious here. For me personally, Ichiran isn’t my favorite maybe because I’m more of a miso ramen girl. It’s still good ramen though, maybe just a little saltier than I like. I find it a bit expensive for the limited toppings you get with a basic bowl- literally just one piece of chashu with your broth and noodles for 890 yen- but I guess you pay for the unique ambiance as much as you pay for the ramen here.
I love the idea of sitting in your own little private cubicle, slurping your ramen like there’s no tomorrow. You don’t have to worry about looking matakaw if you scarf down your chow like you haven’t eaten in a week. You don’t have to worry about being dainty. You just concentrate on eating, period!
The rich broth fills your senses with umami on the first sip. The thin noodles are super slurp-able, especially if extra firm. Plus it contrasts well with the melt-in-the-mouth chashu and the soft-boiled egg.
Ichiran Ramen is a quintessential stop on any Fukuoka trip, at the very least because of its iconic status, but mostly because it just hits the spot.
[READ MORE about where we had Ichiran Ramen in Fukuoka!]
2. “Generational Ramen” at Shodai Hide-Chan
Located at the 5th Floor Ramen Stadium of Canal City, this restaurant serves up a unique recipe for tonkotsu ramen using pork neck to flavor the broth. They use a secret family recipe that’s been passed down for generations, and it’s apparently very famous in these parts.
The restaurant is small but diners are in and out very quickly. You order via a vending machine too, and if you’re lucky, you can get a seat at the bar area facing the kitchen. You can see for yourself how your bowl of ramen is assembled.
For a good price of 1,150 yen, you can get a bowl of ramen with all the trimmings, including cuts of pork from the belly and the neck. Any additional stuff will cost extra of course.
Despite its fame, I found the broth of Shodai Hide-Chan’s ramen to be a bit more mild flavored than I prefer. Such a shame though, because every other component in the ramen bowl I did enjoy. My ambivalence for the ramen was quickly erased by their 500 yen gyoza though. These are amazing!
The most important thing that Shodai Hide-Chan did for me was fuel my curiosity for the other restaurants in this Ramen Stadium. You can be sure I will be on a return trip here!
[READ MORE about Shodai Hide-chan!]
3. Hakata mizutaki hotpot at Hanamidori
Ahhh hotpot. I’ve had my fair share of it in my lifetime, but not quite like the one they serve here in Hanamidori. I’m not sure if the ritualistic way they took us through the meal is common for all places that serve mizutaki in Fukuoka, but it was unique to me. (You can read about the entire meal experience in the link below.)
Mizutaki is a chicken broth-based hotpot that’s a specialty of the Hakata region. Though dining at Hanamidori does carry a bit of a price-tag, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the experience and the tasty hotpot. Chicken was tender, meatballs were juicy, everything was fresh and cooked right before your eyes. And yes, they do cook everything for you.
Nothing in this hotpot goes to waste, because you use up every last drop of the broth for a surprise ending to the meal too.
[READ MORE about this Hakata specialty!]
4. Affordable donburi at Kisuimaru Marinoa City
This was a completely random encounter during our shopping time at Marinoa City. We were looking for a place to eat, and we came across the plastic food display of Kisuimaru as we wandered.
This place isn’t exactly something I would say you SHOULD try since you can get rice bowls from many other places in Fukuoka, but it is something you might want to consider if you find yourself looking for a place to eat when you’re at Marinoa City.
For a restaurant inside a major shopping complex, I was surprised that the meal sets were fairly priced. You can pick from fresh sashimi to tempura to unagi, all topped on rice, all coming with miso soup too. Majority of the dishes are between 800 to 1500 yen. Not bad right? Plus the restaurant is nice!
Perhaps the only thing I noticed is that the sashimi isn’t as fresh as the restaurants located in the markets, but make no mistake: They are still fresh.
5. Posh omakase dining at La Maison de la Nature Goh
Omakase, or chef’s choice, is popular in certain restaurants around Japan, but here at La Maison de la Nature Goh, we got to sample something more towards the French leanings. The chef who runs this place specializes in French cuisine but focuses on using local ingredients to add pizzaz to his dishes.
Of course, as this is a fine-dining restaurant, you should expect a higher price and small dainty servings. The focus here is more on appreciating the flavors and the freshness of the ingredients, as well as the creativity of the dishes put before you. Maybe not everyone will find a meal here practical, but if you’re the type of person who appreciates these kinds of things, I don’t think Goh will disappoint you.
I was most certainly delighted by all of the dishes, and surprisingly, I walked out of the restaurant with a fuller stomach than I expected when the meal started. I’m not a big eater, but I’m not a small eater either, so at first I thought we would have to make another food stop after this since we’re not used to such… Elegant servings. But everything was well-paced and well-planned like a gastronomic journey.
Goh offers two tiers of multi-course meals: Their 6-course menu costs 6,000 yen and consists of two appetizers, one soup, two mains, and a dessert set with three kinds of sweets. They also have a 7-course menu that costs 8,000 yen. We tried out the 6,000 yen course, which you can read more about in the link below.
[READ MORE about Goh’s cuisine!]
6. Great cuppa and chill at Manu Coffee
Manu Coffee is a specialty coffee shop that has been opening branches all over Fukuoka. We walked for over 15 minutes just to get this coffee shop from our apartment (it looked near on the map lol) but I thought it was worth it!
Despite being a small branch, I quickly fell in love with the charming second floor of the coffee shop. I loved the color of the walls. I loved that you can sit on the couch by the windows overlooking the Naka River. I love that I can imagine myself sitting here to paint or write all day long.
The coffee is great- high quality with a wide variety. You can take your time picking and the friendly staff won’t mind any bit. The vibe of the place is good too. If you are a fan of just chilling in coffee shops, I think Manu Coffee will offer a really nice experience.
Pro tip: You can grab some pastries from the bakery across the cafe and take them in to eat. The owner of the bakery will encourage you to take the tray of pastries to the coffeeshop (as long as you already paid of course) and then the staff at Manu Coffee will volunteer to take it back when you return your mugs to them as you leave.
[READ MORE about Manu Coffee!]
7. Strawberries all day, every day!
Because Fukuoka is the land of Amaou strawberries, you would be a fool if you don’t take this chance to get your fill. I literally will suggest you not hold back on stuffing yourself with these bright red, sweet and juicy jewels. We must’ve bought at least one pack each day we were in Fukuoka to share before going to bed!
Eventually we came across these other strawberries that are of the more premium variety. This set cost at least 1,500 yen. I can’t remember the exact price, but it was expensive. I personally think the Light Pink Strawberries are so-so, but the Pearl White ones are more worth the money. They are small but delightfully sweet. I’m happy with my Amaou though!
8. 7-11 never gets old
There are plenty of konbini in Japan of course, but my personal favorite is 7-Eleven. Even after everything has been said and done, it’s impossible not to drift back to good ole 7-Eleven. I like to come here for the limited edition ramen they make in collaboration with Michelin-starred ramen spots. But more than that, I love their in-house pastries and ice cream. Even the chips with the seaweed and crunchy breading. Mmmm…
I especially love their matcha-flavored products. I highly recommend you give them a try, whether for breakfast or dessert. Most of them are within the 150 to 200 yen range. I haven’t been disappointed by anything I’ve tried so far. They have so much real matcha flavor.
And of course, I also make sure to stock up on my favorite konbini regulars when I visit 7-Eleven. I really love Japanese yoghurt and yoghurt drinks.
What’s your favorite convenience store and find from Japan? I’m curious to know! 🙂
There you have it, my 2018 edition of what to eat in Fukuoka for the curious cat. It’s got things from every price range, doesn’t it? I hope it has whet your appetite for Fukuoka’s gastronomic offerings!