Fukuoka's Traditional Cuisine: Local Dishes, Restaurants, and Recipes

Fukuoka's Traditional Cuisine: Local Dishes, Restaurants, and Recipes

Fukuoka's Traditional Cuisine: Local Dishes, Restaurants, and Recipes

Welcome to Fukuoka, Japan's culinary paradise! Situated on the island of Kyushu, Fukuoka is renowned for its rich food culture and vibrant dining scene. In this guide, we will explore some of the traditional dishes you must try, recommend some top restaurants, and even share a few recipes for you to recreate the flavors of Fukuoka at home.

1. Hakata Ramen

Hakata ramen is undoubtedly the most famous dish in Fukuoka. Known for its straight, thin noodles and rich, pork-based broth, this bowl of goodness will leave you craving for more. Slurping the noodles is not only allowed but encouraged, as it's believed to enhance the flavor. One popular variation is "tonkotsu ramen," where the broth is made by simmering pork bones for hours until it becomes creamy and flavorful.

Top Hakata Ramen Restaurants:

  • Ippudo: Located in the heart of Fukuoka, Ippudo is a must-visit for ramen lovers. Their signature tonkotsu ramen is simply incredible.
  • Hakata Issou: This hidden gem is known for its thick, chewy noodles and fragrant broth. Be prepared to wait in line, as it's always crowded.
  • Ichiran: For those who prefer a more solitary dining experience, Ichiran offers individual booths where you can enjoy your ramen in peace.

2. Mentaiko

Mentaiko, or marinated cod roe, is another delicacy you must try in Fukuoka. The roe is seasoned with chili peppers, creating a spicy and umami-packed flavor. Mentaiko can be enjoyed on its own as a snack or used as a topping for rice, pasta, or even wrapped in seaweed. Its vibrant red color and bold taste make it a favorite amongst locals and visitors alike.

Top Mentaiko Restaurants:

  • Nagasako Mentaiko Honpo: This shop specializes in mentaiko and offers a wide range of options, from traditional spicy mentaiko to unique flavor combinations.
  • Kanefuku: Located near Hakata Station, Kanefuku is known for its high-quality mentaiko products. Don't miss their mentaiko-filled onigiri (rice balls)!
  • Mentaiko Dojo: Here, you can witness the process of making mentaiko and even try your hand at marinating it yourself. A truly interactive experience!

3. Mizutaki

Mizutaki is a hot pot dish that originated in Fukuoka. The name translates to "boiled in water," as the main ingredients, typically chicken and fresh vegetables, are simmered in a flavorful broth. The highlight of mizutaki is the rich chicken broth, which is achieved by stewing chicken bones for hours. The dish is often enjoyed with dipping sauces like ponzu or sesame sauce.

Top Mizutaki Restaurants:

  • Hakata Mizutaki Toriden: Toriden is famous for its premium ingredients and commitment to quality. Their mizutaki is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
  • Mizutaki Yamahidai: This cozy restaurant offers a variety of mizutaki options, including vegetarian-friendly versions. Don't miss their homemade side dishes.
  • Ganso Hakata Mizutaki Yatai: For a more authentic experience, head to a yatai, a traditional street food stall. This one is known for its delicious mizutaki and friendly atmosphere.

4. Motsunabe

Motsunabe is another hot pot specialty of Fukuoka. What sets it apart is the main ingredient: beef or pork intestines. While it may sound adventurous, motsunabe is incredibly flavorful and enjoyed by locals. The intestines are simmered with vegetables in a savory broth, creating a hearty and satisfying meal. It's often enjoyed with a dipping sauce or added to a bowl of rice at the end.

Top Motsunabe Restaurants:

  • Motsunabe Ichiraku: This restaurant is a motsunabe lover's paradise. Their broth is packed with umami, and the intestines are tender and delicious.
  • Hakata Motsunabe Katsura: Katsura is known for their wide range of offal options, including motsunabe. Their menu also features creative variations of the dish.
  • Ishikura: Located in the lively Nakasu area, Ishikura offers an authentic motsunabe experience with excellent service. Don't forget to order some sake to complement your meal.

Now that you have discovered some of Fukuoka's traditional dishes, you can try recreating them at home with these simple recipes:

Hakata Ramen Recipe


  • 1 pound pork bones
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, sliced
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces Hakata-style ramen noodles
  • Chashu (sliced pork) and green onions for garnish


  1. In a large pot, add the pork bones, garlic, onion, and ginger. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface.
  2. Add soy sauce, mirin, and salt to the pot. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 4-6 hours, occasionally skimming off any fat or impurities.
  3. Cook the ramen noodles according to the package instructions. Drain well.
  4. Strain the broth to remove bones and aromatics. Adjust seasoning if needed.
  5. Divide the cooked ramen noodles among bowls. Pour the hot broth on top. Garnish with chashu and green onions. Enjoy!

Mentaiko Spaghetti Recipe


  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 ounces mentaiko
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onions


  1. Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain well.
  2. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the mentaiko and break it up with a spoon, allowing it to melt into the butter.
  3. Add soy sauce and mirin to the skillet. Stir well to combine.
  4. Add the cooked spaghetti to the skillet and toss until evenly coated with the sauce.
  5. Transfer to serving plates and garnish with chopped green onions. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Explore Fukuoka's Culinary Delights

Fukuoka is a haven for food enthusiasts. The combination of traditional flavors, innovative chefs, and vibrant dining scenes make it an exciting culinary destination. Whether you're slurping a bowl of Hakata ramen or indulging in the spicy kick of mentaiko, Fukuoka's traditional cuisine is sure to tantalize your taste buds.