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Five Hidden Culinary Treasures in Fukuoka (and One Bonus)

The rest of the world is only slowly catching up with what many in the country already know: Fukuoka is one of the planet’s culinary capitals. With access to rich farmland and the riches of the Genkai Sea, as well as a history as a cultural and ethnic melting pot, it makes sense that Fukuoka has great food. There’s the yatai scene, of course, and everybody knows Hakata ramen, but here are five less obvious choices, as well as a bonus that’s not strictly local but worth checking out.

Index

  • Worship at the Temple to Mentaiko, Ganso Mentai Nikomi

  • Ham-and-Egg Manju at Mucchan

  • Karasumi Mochi

  • Chicken Skin, Two Ways

  • Bonus: Bake Cheese Tarts

  • Worship at the Temple to Mentaiko, Ganso Mentai Nikomi

    Mentaiko, simply pollock roe hit with ground chili powder and salt, was adopted from Korea and has found a home in Hakata. There are plenty of spots to pick up mentaiko to prepare at home, but it’s an item that most associate with home cooking, rather than restaurants. At Ganso Hakata Mentaiju, they make it the star of the show. A thick log of marinated pollock roe is laid over a bed of rice, mimicking the presentation of eel. The mentaiko tsukemen, another recent innovation, is a worthy use of the local delicacy: a thick broth fortified with spicy, pungent mentaiko is prepared to stand up to perfectly stretchy noodles, made in-house.

    Worship at the Temple to Mentaiko, Ganso Mentai Nikomi

    Worship at the Temple to Mentaiko, Ganso Mentai Nikomi

  • Ham-and-Egg Manju at Mucchan

    Ham-and-Egg Manju at Mucchan

    Ham-and-Egg Manju at Mucchan

    Come on, every city has their famous manju, and Fukuoka is no exception. Mucchan’s mudskipper-shaped tart comes in more tame variants, like the red bean-filled classic, but locals know that the best is the ham-and-egg stuffed manju. This is a nostalgic taste of a mostly bygone era. Currently, there are 10 shops in Fukuoka city.

  • Karasumi Mochi

    Karasumi Mochi

    Karasumi Mochi

    The karasumi mochi at Warayaki Mikan is a good excuse to try this fresh, hip izakaya in the Haruyoshi neighborhood. The mochi comes with a serviette of nori to wrap it in and delivers a hit of briny,spicy karasumi flavor. This is one of many highlights at this local favorite, where straw-roasted seafood and small plates are paired with natural wines.

  • Chicken Skin, Two Ways

    Chicken Skin, Two Ways

    Chicken Skin, Two Ways

    Chicken Skin, Two Ways

    Chicken Skin, Two Ways

    There’s more than one way to skin a chicken—and plenty of ways to cook that skin, too. The classic izakaya style at Kawaya is to skewer loads of buttery chicken skin and roast it over charcoal until just enough of the fat renders for crispiness to set in. This preparation is not unique to Fukuoka but, for whatever reason, the city does have a special affinity for chicken skin, prepared any numbers of ways. At Lights in hip Daimyo, where small plates are paired with glasses of wine or shots of shochu, there is perhaps the most delicate preparation: the skin is slowly rendered until every crunching bite is loud as a 12 gauge blast, nothing but a strip of pickled radish to cut the unadulterated unctuous schmaltz.

  • Bonus: Bake Cheese Tarts

    Bonus: Bake Cheese Tarts

    Bonus: Bake Cheese Tarts

    Everytime Bake opens a new branch, lines are guaranteed to extend further than anybody but the most dedicated will have patience for. This particular branch opened a few years back in the underground arcade below Tenjin Station and still commands decent queues—but nothing crazy. These are the heavyweight of Japanese cheese tarts and there’s no excuse not to grab a couple while strolling through the underground arcade.

    元祖 博多 めんたい重
    Address
    福岡県福岡市中央区西中洲6-15
    Phone
    092-725-7220
    ムツゴロウのむっちゃん万十 本店
    Address
    福岡県大野城市下大利1-11-4
    Phone
    092-593-3398
    藁焼みかん
    Address
    福岡県福岡市中央区春吉2-6-10
    Phone
    092-712-0388
    Kawaya Kego Branch
    rating 62 Reviews
    Address
    Fukuoka Pref. Fukuokashichuouku Kego 2-16-10
    Phone
    0927414567
    LIGHTS
    Address
    福岡県福岡市中央区大名1-7-10
    Phone
    092-724-4884
    Address
    福岡県福岡市中央区天神2 東4番街 225 天神地下街内
    Phone
    0927911383
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