Fukuoka is the largest city in Kyushu, it’s located on the north of the island. If you’ve recently moved into one of our Fukuoka apartments, one of the best ways of getting to know a place is through its food. Thankfully, if you are moving to Fukuoka, there are plenty of delicious local dishes for you to sample. Fukuoka is known for a variety of different foods; from regional dishes to unique versions of meals and fresh produce that you’re already familiar with.
Fukuoka has such a special food culture due to its history as a port city and a gateway for the influence of other countries. Here Japanese traditions mixed with traditions from Korea and China, bringing about new dishes through the interpretation and adaptation of foreign dishes.
Hakata Ramen is often referred to as Tonkotsu Ramen, and it is the most famous food to come from Fukuoka. This tasty Fukuoka food is popular not only across Japan but across the whole world.
Tonkotsu Ramen originally came from Hakata in the early 20th century. It originated close to the docks of the old city. Workers needed something that they could eat quickly since they were very busy. The ramen was very quick to make since the noodles were cooked until just al-dente.
Hakata Ramen is made from pork bone broth. It is a thick creamy soup paired with thin straight egg noodles. The noodles are best served firm since thin noodles soften quickly in the broth. You can ask for barikatai (extra firm) or katai (firm). It’s also popular to ask for kaedama, the extra portion of noodles. By having two portions of freshly-boiled noodles you can eat a large amount of ramen without the noodles getting too soggy.
The soup is made by boiling bones from all different parts of a pig to make a gelatinous stock. The broth is simmered for about 12 hours until it develops a rich flavor and strong smell. Some popular Hakata Ramen toppings include chashu (sliced pork belly), soy sauce marinated eggs, scallions, nori, and menma (seasoned bamboo shoots). Ichiran ramen specializes in serving one particular type of Hakata Ramen.
If you’re looking for another type of ramen local to Fukuoka, try some Nagahama Ramen. It is very similar to Hakata Ramen since it is made with a tonkotsu base. Nagahama ramen, however, has a lighter and simpler taste.
Mentaiko is spicy cod roe, which means it is fish eggs seasoned with spicy chili peppers. Mentaiko is particularly popular in Hakata city. It came to Fukuoka after World War II through trade from Busan island in Korea.
One of the reasons why it is so popular is due to the unique texture of the cod roe, which can be popped in your mouth. One of the easiest ways of enjoying the strong flavors and textures of Mentaiko is by serving it with simple white rice. However spicy cod roe can be found in various other dishes, some of the most popular Mentaiko dishes include Omurice, creamy pasta, pizza, and udon. It is also a nice pub snack; the salty flavor pairs well with Shochu, sake, or beer.
Packets of Mentaiko are a popular omiyage to buy as a souvenir or gift when visiting Fukuoka.
This hotpot dish is a favorite among Fukuoka locals in the colder months. The ‘motsu’ in Motsunabe refers to cow and pig offal. By making sure to use often discarded parts of the animals, this dish is popular for reducing waste and being a more sustainable way of eating meat. They are also known for being parts of meat that are packed with nutrients such as vitamin B and collagen.
Motsunabe is made from tripe and intestines, as well as wintery green vegetables such as leek, cabbage, bean sprouts, and chives. These are all simmered in a rich broth, flavored with soy sauce, chili peppers, garlic, and often miso.
Once you’ve eaten all the vegetables and meat, you can put some champion noodles or rice into the broth to finish off the meal. Motsunabe is often paired with some of Kyushu’s regional shochu liquor.
Mizutaki, originating from the Kyushu and Kansai regions, is another hotpot dish like Motsunabe. It is usually made with chicken on the bone and a variety of seasonal vegetables, as well as green onions, tofu, and mushrooms. These are all simmered together in a dashi-based broth. As it cooks, the collagen released from the bones gives the broth a rich flavor and makes it silky.
The soup in Mizutaki has a simple and gentle flavor. The dish is sometimes served with a ponzu sauce in a small bowl which you can dip the cooked ingredients into for a burst of flavor. Make sure to add in some rice or noodles at the end to finish off the broth!
Although there are around 300 different varieties of strawberries in the world, Amaou strawberries are some of the world’s best strawberries. These strawberries are grown mostly in Itojima in Fukuoka since it has the perfect climate for slowly growing these succulent strawberries. They are unique and are named after an acronym describing the best features of the Amaou strawberry. It stands for amai (sweet), marui (round), okii (big), and umai (delicious). These strawberries are best known for their bright color, sweet flavor, and how big they are. Strawberries have become a popular winter food in Japan; January 5th is National Strawberry Day.
Strawberry cultivation in Japan began during the Meiji Era. The development of Amaou strawberries first began in 2002. Over time, the Amaou strawberry has become a popular gift and it is often incorporated into other popular dishes and snacks. Amaou strawberries are ideal for Japanese Christmas cake, along with being the perfect variety for ichigo daifuku.
When it comes to food, Fukuoka is one of Japan’s most exciting destinations. Whether you’re visiting at any time of the year, or if you live there, you’ll be able to enjoy various local specialties. The food culture, alongside the pleasant weather, beautiful scenery, and great public transport, makes Fukuoka one of the most livable cities in the world, with some of the best quality of life. If you’re looking at moving to Fukuoka, please check out our range of available rental apartments.