The Best of Fukuoka’s Ramen (1st Edition)

(Read the full ramen guide here)

Hakata Ramen is widely known as the best tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen in Japan, and it is easily Fukuoka’s most famous food (with mentaiko likely coming in as a close second). Handmade noodles, rich-and-oily broth, savory slabs of chashu pork and ingredients arranged with simple refinement define this delicious dish. Here on Finding Fukuoka, I will introduce you to some of the best ramen joints in town, three shops at a time — that way you try them as I post them, and you won’t be overwhelmed by an overabundance of choices. Of course I only recommend top-quality shops that I have eaten at myself.

A note to readers: I will sometimes use the terms assari and kotteri to describe the taste of the ramen’s broth. Assari means light and simple, easy to eat, while kotteri means heavy, rich, oily or filling. Ramen is often described in reference to how assari or kotteri it is, with much of Fukuoka’s ramen landing on the kotteri end of the spectrum.

Shin Shin (シンシン)

Without a doubt, this is one of of the best ramen shops you will ever visit. Shin Shin is Hakata ramen that anyone can eat — a soup that is just heavy enough to be popular among kotteri-loving Fukuokans and light enough to make it highly accessible to out-of-towners who are used to lighter (more assari) soups. The noodles are superb, and the ingredients placed on top perfectly complement the ramen’s taste. The shop’s goma (sesame) ramen provides something a little different: its thick, black broth has an almost overpowering sesame fragrance and an equally taste, so even heavy eaters will find it challenging to finish an entire bowl. Shin Shin is located near Oyafukodori and open late, so you can pop in after a night out in Tenjin.
Access: 3 min. walk from from Tenjin Station (Kuko Subway Line) and a 5 min. walk from Nishitetsu Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station (Nishitetsu Omuta Line)
Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m., closed on Sundays
Click here to see location on Google Maps

Hakata Ramen Zen (博多ラーメン 膳)

With its Fukuoka City branch conveniently located in central Tenjin, this shop is famous for one thing: it’s absurdly low prices. At Hakata Ramen Zen, you can enjoy a bowl of tonkotsu ramen for a mere 280 yen! I had doubts about the quality of the ramen when I first heard about this shop, and while it’s not up to the standards of the top shops in town, Zen’s flavorful, genuine Hakata-ramen taste won’t disappoint even locals. The shop is particularly good for students and expats on a budget. Have a visit for yourself — you’ll be surprised at just how good 280 ramen can taste in Fukuoka!
Access: 2-3 min. walk from Nishitetsu Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station (Nishitetsu Omuta Line) and Tenjin Station (Kuko Subway Line)
Hours: 11:00 a.m. to midnight
Click here to see location on Google Maps

Ganso Pikaichi (元祖 ぴかいち)

Despite the lack of restaurants in the vicinity of the Hakata Station complex and its underground shopping arcades, Pikaichi truly shines as not only one of the neighborhood’s best places to eat, but as one of the best ramen shops in Fukuoka City. Their wonton ramen features a rich taste, soft and savory Chinese wonton dumplings and delicious slices of chashu pork for a unique fusion of Chinese and Japanese flavors. Their sara-udon, champon and super-spicy tantanmen Chinese-style noodle dishes are also popular among people living and working nearby (bring a towel if you order the tantanmen). Like most local ramen shops, the noodles are handmade — a major difference if you are used to eating the mass-produced noodles used by large ramen chains.

Access: 5 min. walk from Hakata Station (JR lines, Kuko Subway Line)
Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (last order at 7:45 p.m.), closed on Sundays
Click here to see location on Google Maps

That’s it for now! I will occasionally publish new editions of “Fukuoka’s Best Ramen” so you can experience more of Fukuoka’s most popular dish!

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4 Responses to The Best of Fukuoka’s Ramen (1st Edition)

  1. angrygaijin says:

    Hakata ramen is AWESOME! Bari-kata all the way! Thx for explaining assari and kotteri…there are a few Japanese words for different tastes that I haven’t really been able to map out in my mind yet. This clears things up a bit.

    Oyafukudoori – – I tried to go here clubbing once but I got lost…. 😦 It seems like it’s not as hip a place as it used to be? Nevertheless, I found a rad little watering hole: Eriko’s Private Bar, I think it was.

    • Assari and kotteri are often used when talking about ramen, so I thought it was best to introduce them 🙂
      Oyafuko has definitely declined in popularity, but it is still the central place for clubs (as far as I know). I think Off Broadway is a good bar (covered it in another post). Now Daimyo is the “place to be” in Tenjin, and with development seemingly moving south I wouldn’t be surprised if Imaizumi or Yakuin become the next Daimyo in a decade’s time.

  2. Pingback: The Famous Hakata Ramen | japanramenaps

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