“What’s the popular dish there?”
This is me whenever I’m about to go on a trip. I’m confident that a lot can relate. A different kind of excitement runs in my veins when food is the subject. Moreover, I believe that trying new food is the greatest part of traveling. With the help of my resourceful lifetime travel buddy, coming up with a list was not difficult. And our dedication helped us achieve our goal. We were lucky enough that the restaurants offering these dishes were within walking distance from our hotel.
- Hakata Ramen (博多ラーメン)
The business district in Fukuoka is called Hakata where this ramen originated and it’s said that it differs from other ramen varieties in several ways. So far, we had the tastiest Hakata ramen at the Ramen Stadium located in the famous mall, Canal City. Ramen Stadium is a selection of 8 ramen joints on level 5 of the mall. Look for the joint that has 博多ラーメン written on their sign. One characteristic of this ramen is that the soup broth is made from pork bones and is typically cloudy. The noodles in it are known for being thinner than regular noodles. When you order you’ll be asked what level of firmness you prefer.I sometimes can’t finish one bowl of ramen, but this one was so delicious that I enjoyed every bit of it and almost drank the soup up. The broth was thick but not salty and overly oily. The flavors of the pork and soy sauce really came through.
- Motsunabe (もつ鍋)
It’s a kind of hot pot which is made from beef or pork tripe or other offal. The base soup is usually soy sauce with garlic and chili pepper, or miso. My impression was for it to taste a bit off because of the tripe or offal but as soon as I tried this one at Ooyama, I proved myself wrong. My husband and I were silently eating it with relish. You can find one of their branches just a minute walk from Subway Airport Line Tenjin Station. There’s also one in Hakata Station.
- Beef Udon (肉うどん, niku udon)
This comfort dish is made of warm udon noodles in a savory hot soup topped with thinly sliced, seasoned, and stir-fried beef. Niku Niku Udon Kawabata offers the best one I’ve tried so far! Their signature is the ginger on top of it which complements the soup. It warms both the body and soul. Too bad the shop hasn’t graced Tokyo yet.
- Tetsunabe Gyoza
Not all nabe dishes (hot pot) come with soup. This one is living proof. The dish is basically dumplings (gyoza) served in hot iron pans (tetsunabe). My husband loves it so much and I understand why. We gorged on these petite and crispy bites– it was highly pleasant to the taste!
- Karashi Mentaiko (spicy cod ovum)
It’s cod ovum slowly marinated in chili pepper sauce and very popular throughout Japan. Fukuoka is known for its high quality and incredibly fresh mentaiko. I tried it but I have to be honest, I’m not a fan at least for now. It was too salty for me. I liked the spiciness, though. It gave me a strange mouthfeel, but maybe because it was my first try. The experience reminded me of the time I first tried wasabi. I cringed at it at that time, but after many attempts, now I can’t have sushi without it. Maybe and I hope this will also be the case with mentaiko. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, give it a try!
Experience Fukuoka better with these local dishes!