Exploring Kitakyushu's Authentic Cuisine: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes

Exploring Kitakyushu's Authentic Cuisine: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes

Exploring Kitakyushu's Authentic Cuisine: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes

Kitakyushu, located in the Fukuoka Prefecture of Japan, is a city known for its rich culture and mouth-watering cuisine. With a variety of local dishes that reflect the region's history and traditions, food lovers will find themselves in culinary paradise when visiting this vibrant city. From fresh seafood to savory street food, here is a guide to exploring Kitakyushu's authentic cuisine.

Local Dishes

1. Yanagawa Unagi

Yanagawa Unagi is a local specialty dish that features grilled freshwater eel. It is prepared by marinating the eel in a sweet soy-based sauce before grilling over an open flame. The result is a tender and flavorful dish that is best enjoyed with a bowl of steamed rice.

2. Mentaiko

Mentaiko is a spicy marinated cod roe that is widely popular in Kitakyushu. It is commonly served as a topping for rice or enjoyed as a snack on its own. The roe is seasoned with chili peppers, creating a unique blend of flavors that locals love.

3. Kokura Gyoza

Kokura Gyoza is a type of Japanese dumpling that originated in Kitakyushu. These dumplings are filled with a mixture of ground pork, garlic, cabbage, and other seasonings. They are then pan-fried to perfection, resulting in a crispy exterior and a juicy, flavorful filling.

4. Yaki Curry

Yaki Curry is a Kitakyushu twist on traditional Japanese curry. Instead of being served with rice, the curry is poured over a bed of stir-fried noodles. The dish is then topped with a variety of ingredients such as sliced pork, vegetables, and cheese. The combination of flavors and textures makes Yaki Curry a must-try dish in Kitakyushu.

5. Mizutaki

Mizutaki is a hot pot dish that is popular in the winter months. It consists of tender chicken, vegetables, and tofu cooked in a flavorful chicken broth. The ingredients are cooked at the table, allowing diners to enjoy the fragrant aromas and customize their own dipping sauces.


If you're looking to experience Kitakyushu's authentic cuisine, here are some highly recommended restaurants to try:

1. Izakaya Wakataka

A cozy and traditional izakaya (Japanese pub) that serves a variety of local dishes, including Yanagawa Unagi and Mentaiko. The relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff make it a great place to unwind and sample the flavors of Kitakyushu.

2. Gyoza-ya Kokura

A popular restaurant specializing in Kokura Gyoza. The gyoza here is known for its thin, crispy skin and delicious filling. It's a lively spot with a bustling atmosphere, perfect for enjoying a plate of these delectable dumplings with friends.

3. Curry House CoCo Ichibanya

A chain restaurant that serves a variety of Japanese curry dishes, including the famous Yaki Curry. With customizable options and a wide range of toppings, you can create your own unique curry bowl to satisfy your cravings.

4. Asuca Thai & Indian Cuisine

A fusion restaurant that offers a unique combination of Thai and Indian flavors. While not traditional Kitakyushu cuisine, it is worth exploring for those looking to experience different culinary influences in the city.

5. Hanashokudo Nakajima

A cozy restaurant that specializes in Mizutaki hot pot. The warm and inviting ambiance, combined with the comforting flavors of the hot pot, creates a truly memorable dining experience.


If you want to recreate the flavors of Kitakyushu's cuisine at home, here are a couple of authentic recipes to try:

1. Yanagawa Unagi Donburi (Grilled Eel Rice Bowl)


  • Grilled eel fillets
  • Sweet soy-based sauce (eel sauce)
  • Steamed rice


  1. Brush the eel fillets with the eel sauce.
  2. Grill the eel fillets over medium-high heat until they are charred and glazed with the sauce.
  3. Serve the grilled eel over a bowl of steamed rice, drizzled with extra eel sauce.

2. Kokura Gyoza


  • Gyoza wrappers
  • Ground pork
  • Garlic, minced
  • Cabbage, finely chopped
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. In a bowl, mix together the ground pork, garlic, cabbage, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt, and pepper.
  2. Place a spoonful of the pork mixture onto each gyoza wrapper.
  3. Fold the wrapper over the filling and seal the edges with water.
  4. Heat a pan with oil over medium heat.
  5. Add the gyoza to the pan and cook until the bottom is golden brown.
  6. Add water to the pan, cover, and steam for a few minutes until the filling is cooked through.
  7. Serve the Kokura Gyoza with soy sauce or dipping sauce of your choice.