Fukuoka is not only one of Japan’s most highly ranked cities to live, it also has a lot of culinary varieties to offer. Especially the so called “Tonkotsu Ramen” （豚骨ラーメン） also referred to as “Hakata Ramen” (博多ラーメン) originated from this region. The soup broth of Tonkotsu Ramen is based upon pork bones and other ingredients, which is typically boiled for several hours. The dish is traditionally served with egg noodles that are hard in the center and topped with sliced pork belly, spring onions, roasted seaweed, a sweet chilly sauce and other pickled vegetables.
Two of Japans biggest internationally active ramen restaurant chains are “Ippudo” (一風堂) and “Ichiran” (一蘭). They both specialize in Tonkotsu Ramen and are headquartered in Fukuoka. You can find about 2000 different ramen shops in Fukuoka alone! Fukuoka’s noodles tend to be narrower than elsewhere and have a unique texture, which differs from each store. A bowl of soup is usually topped with a couple of slices of pork belly called “cha-shu-” (チャーシュー) (pork), kikurage (木耳)(mushroom), spring onion and pickled red ginger. If that’s not enough, the soup can be seasoned at the table with roasted sesame seeds and garlic.
One great place to enjoy Ramen is the Ramen Stadium at Canal City. There you’ll find several different ramen restaurants each selling their very own specialty. Most of them have a ticket machine outside their store where you’ll have to purchase the items first before you enter the restaurant. If you are still struggling with your Japanese, English menus are also available. Order some gyoza (fried dumplings) or Cha-han (fried rice), if you want more variety, and don’t leave without devouring a soft-boiled egg, the best ramen companion!
Another must do attraction is Fukuoka’s street food stalls known as “Yatai” (屋台). Yatais are mobile food stalls, which serve besides delicious Ramen also several other delights, such as Yakitori (grilled chicken stews) and many more. More than 70% of all food stalls are located in Fukuoka. Unfortunately in most other regions in Japan this old tradition disappeared due to strict food regulations. Yatais also function as a great place to get in touch with locals and make fellow Japanese friends. Chatting with friends and the chef over a few beers, while enjoying some great finger food and Ramen is a great idea to spend a dinner.
Another interesting and little bit unconventional place for eating Ramen is “Mengekijo Genei” (麺劇場玄瑛). The restaurant name literally means noodle theater with the whole outline looking exactly like a small stage where a theater play could take place. The seating is arranged as an auditorium style facing the chefs preparing the Ramen. It’s also famous for its sauce and the strong flavor of the soup.
Ra-men (ラーメン) = Ramen soup and noodles
cha-shu- (チャーシュー) = Pork belly slices of meat
Irasshaimase (いらっしゃいませ) = “Welcome in” (usually yelled by the chef)
Kaedama wo kudasai (替え玉をください) = one more portion noodle please
Itadakimasu (いただきます) = Said before starting to eat like “enjoy your meal”
Gochisousama deshita (ごちそうさまでした) = Said after finishing the meal to the opponent and chef before leaving the restaurant
Oishikatta (美味しかった) = It was yummy
Ajitama (味玉) = Cooked egg laid in a soy sauce mix overnight