Found on Kyushu Island, Fukuoka Prefecture is one of Japan’s main industrial hubs, but it’s also known for some really famous foods like Ichiran ramen and Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecakes. The prefecture is also known for having a lot of yakuza gangs, even more museums, and for being the hometown of best selling pop singer Ayumi Hamasaki.
Fukuoka Prefecture is extremely accessible, with its own airport, shinkansen station, a port where cruise ships dock, and of course the option to drive there.
Everyone knows Hakata ramen so let’s start with that! Hakata style ramen is characterised by a milky white pork bone broth, thin and under cooked noodles, and very simple toppings. Ichiran, the famous 24/7 ramen chain, serves up Hakata style ramen from Fukuoka in its single person booths. You can actually check out a post we have about what it’s like to eat at Ichiran by clicking here!
If you’ve had Ichiran before or you want an experience that’s not from a chain restaurant, check out any of the many yatai. Yatai are food stalls that line the streets in Fukuoka City and they are basically just little stalls that you can sit down at and finish off a quick meal before you get going again. many yatai will serve Hakata style ramen, but it might be best if you practice a few Japanese phrases before sitting down at one as they will likely only have handwritten menus. The yatai are also great for drinking, but they are usually more expensive.
Familiar with Hakata style ramen? try Kurume ramen, pictured above. This style has a richer broth, and comes with a few extra toppings. The style is not as strict as Hakata.
Mentaiko are eggs from pollock fish that are marinated in a chilli sauce. Fukuoka Prefecture is known for having high quality mentaiko and it’s served as a condiment for almost every dish in the area. You can pick it up at stalls and stores and take it home to add to your own dishes, or find it with sushi, tamagoyaki Japanese omelette, and a range of other dishes.
An interesting western inspired dish is mentaiko pasta. You can make this at home (use salmon roe if you can’t find mentaiko in local shops) with this simple recipe:
1/2 cup mentaiko
1/4 cup olive oil
2Tbsp melted butter
nori seaweed for garnish
Mix all of this together to make your pasta sauce, then simply toss your pasta of choice in it! Itadakimasu!
This won’t be for everyone – it’s hot pot where the protein is beef or pork intestines. The soup is customisable, you can pick from flavours like soy, salt, and miso (kind of like ramen). Motsunabe is considered to be a cheap but filling dish that’s good for sharing and cooking in large portions, and to make it even more filling you will most likely be served a bowl of plain white rice on the side, too. If you eat all the soup fillings but still have rice and soup leftover, mix them together to finish it all off. If you’re brave enough to eat this, prepare for quite the food coma to ensue.
We said gyoza was one of the must eat foods in Tochigi Prefecture, but you can also gobble some up in Fukuoka Prefecture too! The fillings are pretty standard, the highlight here is that they’re cooked in an iron pan. It’s also said that when gyoza first came to Japan from China, Fukuoka Prefecture was the entry point for them.
There are so many local specialty and souvenir cakes that it’s impossible for us to recommend just one or two. There are honestly just so many to choose from that we recommend you look for anything that’s made locally and see if you can get a sample then find one that suits your tastes. There are daifukui filled rice cakes with local flavours, Hiyoko cake that’s shaped like an adorable chicken, and Hakata no Hito (Lady of Hakata) traditional cakes.
Try as many as you humanly can.