It was our first time to explore this city so I was excited and giddy as you can imagine. We arrived at the city around 8 pm and we were determined to start our Food Trip the moment we got our of the airport. With our luggages in tow, we rode the airport shuttle which brought us to the subway station where we navigated our way to the Hakata Station where we set-off to find some Yatai Stalls. It wasn't as easy to find as we thought, it took us about 45 minutes of walking and a whole lot of asking help from locals before we finally found the strip.
Yatai stalls are open air food stands that are the city's best known symbol. Each stall can fit just about 7-8 people where you enjoy an al fresco dining experience by the water. My first three entries can be found in the Yatai Stalls located along the Canal City area.
Here it goes;
1. HAKATA RAMEN
The main characteristic of HAKATA Ramen is the thick white soup made from pork bones (called Tonkotsu). The noodles are slightly thinner than the usual ramen and the toppings are quite simple; cha-su (pork), chopped scallions, thinly sliced mushrooms and some sesame seeds. The red pickled ginger is also optional and is served on the side.
Oden is a Japanese hotpot dish in which ingredients are slowly simmered in a soy sauce soup base. You can vary different ingredients but the usual ones are daikon radish, boiled eggs, fish cakes, etc. I tried the fishcake and tofu and loved it especially with the touch of spicy yellow mustard.
Yakitori is also a must when you try theYatai Foodstalls. These sticks taste best with a nice and cold asahi! It's always a great combination.
4. BAKE'S CHEESE TART
Why are little tart's so addicting? First it's the PASTRY: it is tempered and baked TWICE which gives it a crunchy bite with the outer shell slightly overbaked to add to the texture. Next is the CREAM CHEESE FILLING that's creamy but at the same time light and airy. It's a delightful contrast to the firm and crunchy crust. Lastly is that they are FRESHLY BAKED and they stress this because the ladies selling and packing them are all wearing shirts stating this. You go into the store and while patiently waiting in line (there's ALWAYS a line at least in the Tenjin Branch which we visited thrice!) you see non-stop action from their bakers continuously putting out batches and batches of freshly baked ones from their oven. For me, it is best eaten at room temperature but you can enjoy them chilled or heated as well. The cheese aroma that wafts out from them is heavenly. That's why we had to go back three times for it during our trip! Take note that they limit only 12 pieces maximum per person per visit! :)
Mentaiko is the marinated roe of pollock and cod. It has a very delicate, creamy, salty taste and flavor. The spicy variety of mentaiko is product of Fukuoka so I really made sure to try this and bring some home so I can whip into a pasta sauce with some butter! Ah! Just thinking about this makes my mouth water.
6. MENTAIKO on BAGUETTE
Since I fell in love with Mentaiko, this is the next best thing. I found this on an artisan bakeshop inside Parco Mall (again just by chance since I'm always in the lookout for food!). Freshly baked Baguette with a generous spread of mentaiko and butter. The
7. ICHIRAN RAMEN
Ive had a lot of of Ramen in my life and I must admit that this is possibly one of THE best ramens I have ever had. CLICK HERE to find out how I dissected it to be the BEST RAMEN I've ever tasted. You will thank me for it!
8. YOSHIDEN UNAGI
Our good friend and local from Osaka Kuniyoshi recommended this place. He said that we cannot leave Fukuoka without trying UNAGI.
9. GREEN TEA POPSICLE
If you love the REAL strong taste of green tea and not the milked down and toned down one, try this brand and you won't be disappointed! ;)
10. SUSHI/SASHIMI IN A BOX
You cannot leave Japan without stuffing yourself with sushi and sashimi... And that's exactly what we did! Toro and Hamachi are my favorites followed by Uni and Hotate. You don't have to look far to find good and fresh seafood in Fukuoka. For instance, the picture above is from the main Mitsukoshi supermarket in Tenjin where they have a huge section of fresh sashimi and sushi for a very reasonable price. You can grab a few boxes and either take it home or enjoy it there on the tables they have at the center. The hubby and I had sushi for lunch every single day we were there....no kidding! hahaha!
There you have it folks! My top 10 for this Fukuoka Trip! Feel free to tag me in your food trip and food discoveries in Fukuoka. I would love to hear from all of you!
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