#FindingFukuoka: Getting my ramen fix


It’s the best part of traveling.

It’s how you really get to know a new place, a new culture. You sample its culinary offerings, find out where the locals eat, and devour everything in sight.

This is my game plan for Fukuoka, the city in Kyushu, Japan where I’m heading in two weeks. I’ll be there for about four days, touring around with other bloggers and foodies, likely searching out the best eats the city has to offer.

And already I’m craving ramen.

According to travel blogs, Fukuoka is known for its ramen. (And you know how much I love ramen!) One in particular is tonkotsu ramen, a local version with a creamy, pork bone-based soup that’s actually popular all over Japan.

Every region is known for its own brand of this noodle dish. Hokkaido has miso-flavored ramen; Kitakata is renowned for its flat, curly noodles a la saimin. But Fukuoka boasts the tonkotsu Hakata ramen that’s sold in shops all over the city.

And I can’t wait.

I don’t care if it’s 90 degrees when we arrive via Hawaiian Airlines, on its inaugural flight to the prefecture. I’m slurping it.

Anything else I should sample while I’m there? I’m making the list now!

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14 Responses to “#FindingFukuoka: Getting my ramen fix”

  1. wes March 27, 2012 at 5:21 am #

    OMG. that bowl of ramen looks sooo good, especially with the fatty pork.

  2. M March 27, 2012 at 6:52 am #

    Hello Cat!
    Japan is my favorite destination, I went 4 years in a row and haven’t gone in the last 2 years. Hopefully this years I will go. I like to go to the hole in the wall places. Everything taste so guud in Japan.
    Happy Birthday!

  3. Annoddah Dave March 27, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    CAT: Say was the ramen a “cheap eats”?

  4. M March 27, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    The best ramen I had was near the Tsukiju Fish Market, a hole in the wall place. Just six barstools at the counter. I ate the shrimp tempura ramen.

  5. eddyo March 27, 2012 at 7:17 am #

    A-ro-ha! Cat-san,

    Don’t forget to follow native customs at ramen shops–slurping vigorously! Around Shimonoseki straits, try the Fugu (Hawaiian Japanese Fuku”), puffer fish. It is quite an experience eating sashimi that makes your mouth tingle…

  6. M March 27, 2012 at 7:34 am #

    I ate the Fugu in Hiroshima and had the best Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima too.

  7. matt March 27, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    the tonkotsu in fukuoka is unlike tonkotsu anywhere else I’ve tried it. it just seems thicker and fattier and richer. almost to the point of being too much of a guud thing.

  8. zzzzzz March 27, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    FYI, Fukuoka is also known as Hakata, thus Hakata Ramen for which it’s known.

    If you’ll be exploring other parts of Kyushu, or parts of Honshu near Fukuoka (which is right across a channel from Honshu), consider that Kumamoto is known for soba, Beppu for its onsen, Nagasaki for its baked goods (e.g., Castella cakes, popular as omiyage), Yamaguchi for the fugu, and Oshima (in Yamaguchi) for its oranges.

    As M mentions, Hiroshima (a bit of a stretch from Kyushu) is known for its okonomiyaki, which is different from Osaka-style okonomiyaki.

    BTW, there’s a park in Kumamoto called Hanabata park.

  9. Ty March 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    It’s so thick and fatty, almost buttery. It tastes like they boil the bones for at least a week, omnomnomnom!

  10. Makiki March 28, 2012 at 3:50 am #

    Unfortunately when a friend and I visited Fukuoka and ventured to a famous ramen shop we were somewhat replused by the smell coming from the shop and decided to skip the experience in spite of the line of (local) people waiting to get in. I now regret that decision even though that smell haunts me to this day.

    My most memorable meal there was Sukiyaki made with sugar (Kansai style) vs a shoyu-based sauce (Kanto style). I wish I could tell you the name of the place or where it was but it was a “famous” place recommended by the hotel.

    • matt March 28, 2012 at 6:48 am #

      the sukiyaki at my cousin’s ryokan in kurume was, literally, life changing. instead of the brothy nabe style of sukiyaki that you get here, it was more of one ingredient at a time with an onolicious sauce, then, at the end, all the fond was soaked up with some homemade udon (instead of the usual shirataki noodles).
      seriously changed my whole outlook on food.

  11. Raymond March 28, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    Yes! Tonkotsu ramen is my absolute favorite!

  12. Ako March 28, 2012 at 9:46 pm #

    Aloha! Nice blog – really enjoying reading, and your plans for Fukuoka trip.
    I guess the famous one was Ichiran (name of shop).
    Also Fukuoka ramen style is famous for its “kaedama” (meaning changing the ball, which means to request for another ball of noodle) and you add another noodle in the same soup left.
    Have fun!!!

  13. lihinggirl March 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    If you love ramen, follow @goramen on twitter or visit goramen.com. Keizo is a Japanese American from LA who used to be a computer programmer, but moved to Japan to pursue his dream. http://www.goramen.com/2009/10/living-ramen-dream.html Seems like he eats ramen almost every day! I’ll bet he’d be willing to meet up with you if you contacted him. He’s also been to Hawaii. Awesome photographer too. Yum, Hakata ramen! *drool* Have fun slurping!

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