7 Foods and Snacks You Should Try When Visiting Fukuoka
Japan has a strong reputation around the world for being one of the go-to places for food lovers. With classic delicious dishes like sushi and ramen, it’s no wonder why cuisine from the Land of the Rising Sun has continued to gain popularity the world over.
In a land as beautiful and mysterious as Japan however, there's still is a long list of dishes yet to attain world-wide fame, from locations all across Japan where generations upon generations have remained dedicated to keeping traditional recipes alive. A perfect example of a place with amazing local dishes is Fukuoka, lying on the northern shore of Kyushu island, yet to gain the international recognition that Tokyo and Osaka have.
With a rich tradition of street food vendors dedicated to creating mouthwatering, yet affordable foods and snacks, Fukuoka is a location that should not be missed. So, let’s take a look at seven of the most delicious foods and snacks to eat in Fukuoka.
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7 Foods and Snacks You Should Try When Visiting Fukuoka
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Originally a Chinese dish, gyoza are dumplings and come in many different forms; fried, steamed, boiled and deep fried. Japan took the concept and modified it, now becoming one of the nation’s most beloved dishes. Typical yaki-gyoza are fried dumplings with a crispy outer shell and a filling of ground pork, green onion, garlic and chives. Depending on the restaurant and their style, a variety of sauces like chili oil, soy sauce, and many more are also available to dip these delicious dumplings into. Fukuoka is especially famous for its hitokuchi (one bite) gyoza, which are small, bite-sized juicy morsels of joy.
Nestled by the Genkai Sea, one of Japan’s most prominent fishing grounds, Fukuoka enjoys a steady stream of high-quality fresh fish so it’s no wonder that the city also has some of the most delicious sea-related snacks and dishes. Goma saba, raw mackerel dressed with sesame and soy sauce, is one of Fukuoka’s most quintessential dishes, and is usually served as an appetizer. Its rich taste goes well with rice and sake and can be found in izakayas (Japanese pubs) all throughout Japan.
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Ramen, a meat or fish-based broth with wheat noodles and slices of pork, has taken the world by storm in recent years, often featured in popular Japanese media and by chain restaurants opening abroad.
Hakata ramen is the Fukuoka version of this hearty dish, one of the most beloved styles of ramen in the country. This delicious bowl of noodles features a cloudy, smooth and rich tasting broth made from boiled pork bones and topped with boiled or roasted slices of pork and green onions.
The noodles are typically thinner than usual ramen noodles and it’s customary to be able to choose the firmness of the noodle to suit your preference. The smell can be quite intense and a general rule of thumb for the locals is that the stronger the smell inside the restaurant is, the richer and more delicious the broth will be.
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Don’t let its odd visage deter you, mentaiko (marinated cod roe) is a delicacy that's not to be missed. Mentaiko is marinated in a variety of seasonings and can range from a muted pink to a bright red color. It's usually paired with rice due to its rich taste and is one of the most popular fillings in onigiri (rice balls). This delicious sack of roe comes in varying flavors and karashi-mentaiko is one of the most popular. It's marinated with red chili pepper for an added kick and makes for a great snack in between meals.
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This hearty stew is cooked in a hot pot with a rich tasting broth and a healthy serving of cabbage, garlic chives and often champon noodles. The word motsu means innards, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the dish also has a generous serving of beef or pork innards. While to some it might not sound like the most appealing of dishes, motsunabe is an unbelievably delicious and flavorsome meal, perfect for cold winters or to round off a night of drinking. More recently, this dish has grown in popularity among women as it's said to have beautifying effects due to the high amount of collagen present in the meat. it's a definite must-try if you’re in Fukuoka.
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Mizutaki is a delicious hot pot of chicken and vegetables that are boiled in a chicken bone broth and then dipped in ponzu sauce (a citrus-y style soy sauce). The method of cooking can be complicated and elaborate but the amazing flavors present in each bite is definitely worth the effort or wait. Mizutaki has many different variations in its ingredients, preparation and the order in which each part is consumed depending on the restaurant you visit, with each restaurant priding themselves on their unique take on the dish. Once you've eaten everything in the stew, it's usually customary to put rice into the leftover broth to create a creamy rice porridge to round off your meal.
We feel like it's necessary to round off this list showcasing one of Fukuoka’s most delicious and beloved snacks. Torimon is a sweet bean bun with an inner filling of velvety smooth, sweet white bean paste mixed with butter and cream. This delicious sweet treat has soared in popularity since they were first sold in 1993. They've gained even more prominence throughout the world as one of Japan’s tastiest treats by winning the 'Monde Selection Gold Award' again this year. Torimon has now won this prestigious award for a stunning 19 years in a row so you know you can’t go wrong.
While these are some of the must-eats you have to try, this list only offers a glimpse of the delicious delicacies that Fukuoka has to offer. One of the best ways to experience Fukuoka is to explore all of the gastronomic delights that the city has to offer. No matter whether you’re pulling up a chair at one of the local food stalls, finding a quaint little restaurant in a back alley behind busy streets or dining in an upscale eatery. You’re sure to find something that will make you want to go back for a second helping!