Later in November, I'll be in Japan for a couple weeks and like I said in my Nagoya post, I'm thrilled to be able to plan my own travels around food, and Fukuoka (Hakata) is one of my first stops. Like Nagoya, Fukuoka is another city with many specialties. Most well known might be Hakata style ramen. But besides that, Fukuoka is known as the place for mentaiko (spice cod roe), motsunabe (offal hot pot), gyoza made/served in cast iron (tetsunabe gyoza) as well as the large number of night food stalls (yatai) that dot the city serving many of Fukuoka's specialties. And I shouldn't forget the seafood that is local to the Japan Sea.
Whenever I look at photos of the seafood specialties of Fukuoka, I seem to come across the ika sashimi plate that's sliced up and plated whole (like you see here: http://www.ikadoraku.com/rest/index.html ). I must have this. I know ika is fresh and abundant from the Japan Sea, so it's no wonder it's a local specialty.
Teraoka: http://www.teraokagroup.co.jp/ This place seems like a good place to start.
Motsunabe has reached a fad-like status in recent years, even in Tokyo. But it originates in Fukuoka and has been around for quite some time. It seems like a good inexpensive and hearty meal that's available in many places, including many yatais.
Echigoya (motsunabe) http://www.echigoya-h.jp/secret.htm This website has a good photo of what it looks like, and seems like a good place to begin.
I'm not quite sure what sets this gyoza apart from what's available everywhere else in Japan, but it's a Fukuoka specialty, and I'm all for checking it out. Maybe it's that they serve it in the cast iron container it was cooked in, and you get a huge portion.
Hakata Gyoza Yuushin http://www.yuu-shin.jp/menu.html This place is near Hakata station, and seems to be a good place to explore.
This website has an informal ranking of the top gyoza joints in Fukuoka: http://fukuoka.palulu.jp/archives/200...
It's a no-brainer that I'll have to seek out some of the originators of tonkotsu ramen. Two of the most famous are these.
I love the concept of yatais. They're more than just street vendors as we might be familiar with in the US. They can be much more elaborate setups, and are usually more like moveable kitchens with counter seating. I can't think of a better setting for late-night eating.
About yatais in Fukuoka: http://www.fukuoka-now.com/features/a... (in English
)Here are a couple websites that has information on most of the yatais around the city:
I read about this place in one of the Japanese food magazines and am looking forward to going there with a real imo-shochu aficionado.
Shochu Bar Imo http://www.fukuoka-now.com/nightlife/... (in English
Seems that you can find mentaiko in most teishoku places and many yatais serve it with gohan (rice), so I'm sure I won't have a problem coming across it. But I want to find the exceptional stuff. There's a central market (like Tsukiji) in the area known as Yanagibashi, that's probably worth snooping around for this.
This page has a ranking of the top 30 or so producers of mentaiko: http://fukuoka.palulu.jp/archives/200...
I had to include this page just for the photos: http://www.mentaiko-kodawari.com/
Basashi (horse sashimi
)The original plan was to tour around Kyushu, but with time limitations, I had to compromise with just hanging around Fukuoka for my taste of Kyushu. Horse meat is the specialty from Kumamoto which is just down the road from Fukuoka. Luckily, I heard about an izakaya that specializes in Kumamoto specialties, including the aforementioned basashi (horse sashimi) and other items using horse meat.
Nanden Umaka http://fukuoka.preview.e-machi.ne.jp/... http://r.gnavi.co.jp/f175200/