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Hakata Ramen - How To and Where To Eat In Fukuoka

Hakata Ramen - How To and Where To Eat In Fukuoka

Fukuoka 2019.01.04 Bookmark

Hakata ramen is a local variety of Japanese ramen that originates from Fukuoka in southern Japan. Learn how to order and eat it, recommended restaurants, and the unique characteristics of Hakata ramen, with its tonkotsu pork bone broth and thin noodles.

Translated by Lester Somera

Written by Hiromasa Uematsu

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Hakata Ramen: Must-Try Japanese Tonkotsu Noodles

Hakata Ramen - Know Your Noodles

Ramen has become the representative food of Japan. Recently, ramen chain restaurants have been stepping out onto the global stage.

Original local ramen varieties exist in areas all over Japan, and these regional specialties are beloved by residents and visitors alike.

Have you heard of the local variety Hakata ramen? The well-known restaurant Ichiran actually offers Hakata ramen, which is a regional specialty that now enjoys popularity overseas.

Most Hakata ramen shops have 博多ラーメン written on their signs, so they are not difficult to spot.

This article will introduce Hakata ramen's qualities and what sets it apart from other varieties, in addition to explaining some peculiarities of the ordering system.

First, Let's Take A Look At Hakata Ramen

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A typical bowl of Hakata ramen is garnished with the barest minimum of toppings: just green onions and char siu (boiled or roasted pork). While the price may vary by restaurant, generally you can have one for between 500 to 700 yen.

"Hakata" is the name of a business district in Fukuoka Prefecture. While it was named after its place of origin, now Hakata ramen shops are all over Japan.

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Many ramen shops also offer additional toppings such as extra char siu or a boiled egg for an additional 100 or 200 yen.

The Characteristics of Hakata Ramen

Hakata ramen differs from other ramen varieties in several ways.

1. A Cloudy Soup Broth, Made From Pork Bones

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Whether it is made by boiling down chicken bones or seafood, flavored with soy sauce, or some other method, the way ramen soup is prepared varies from shop to shop.

In the case of Hakata ramen, pork bones are carefully boiled until the soup reaches a cloudy white color. The characteristic result is a smooth taste that is almost like milk, while also allowing for the flavors of the pork and soy sauce to really come through.

2. The Noodles Are Thin And You Can Choose Their Firmness

The noodles in Hakata ramen are known for being thinner than regular noodles. This was devised for the benefit of busy market vendors, so they could quickly cook noodles to completion.

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Since the noodles are thin, it is easy to get them cooked to your preferred level of firmness, and you can choose when you order. The levels and their names vary from shop to shop, but many places divide them up as seen above: barikata (extra firm), kata (firm), futsū (medium), yawa (soft) and bariyawa (extra soft).

Whether you prefer chewy noodles or something a bit softer, you can choose the level that is right for you.

Choose the firmness when you order from the menu. Next time you get regular ramen, try asking for barikata.

3. The Unique "Kaedama" System

Since the noodles are thin and they absorb liquid quickly, they can become too soft.

Most Hakata ramen shops do not have the option to supersize noodle portions since they could become mushy during the extra time needed to eat them. Instead, they have a "kaedama" system, where you can receive extra noodles after your initial order.

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When you want more noodles, tell the staff "kaedama wo onegaishimasu" ("Please give me a second serving."). As shown here, the kaedama (second serving) will be given to you in a separate container.

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Put them in the soup! If you're willing to pay, you can order as many kaedama as you want.

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Most shops will have a bottle of ramen tare ("ramen seasoning") on the table. Adding a second serving of noodles will make the soup a little watery, so adjust the taste with a few squeezes from this bottle.

4. Original Toppings

Ramen restaurants usually have free toppings on the table. Hakata ramen shops also have their own unique toppings available.

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This is karashi takana. It consists of pickled leaf mustard greens, with red peppers added for some kick, diced up and fried in oil. The oil's depth and the heat of the peppers give the soup a more stimulating taste.

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This is beni shoga, pickled ginger root, and it packs a characteristic acidity and mouth-numbing spiciness. Beni shōga adds some zing to the mild-tasting soup of Hakata ramen.

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Try to find your favorite topping!

Some shops have garlic and bean sprouts available as free toppings, as well.

4 Recommended Restaurants with Delicious Hakata Ramen

Below are four restaurants in Fukuoka, Tokyo, and other locations in Japan where you can enjoy a bowl of authentic, carefully-prepared Hakata ramen. Make sure to experience this must-try dish for yourself.

1. Hakata Ikkousha

Hakata Ramen - Tonkotsu Soup And Noodles From Fukuoka

Picture from Top 8 Must-Try Ramen In Fukuoka, Kyushu - Recommended By An Expert
Hakata Ikkousha is a well-reputed ramen restaurant chain with multiple restaurants in Japan, like Fukuoka, Tokyo, and Hokkaido, and international locations as well. Try the tonkotsu ramen, which is packed with flavor and delicious ingredients.

If you want to try a classic bowl that will give you the authentic Hakata tonkotsu ramen experience, look no further than Hakata Ikkousha.

2. Nagahama Number One

Hakata Ramen - Tonkotsu Soup And Noodles From Fukuoka

Picture from Top 8 Must-Try Ramen In Fukuoka, Kyushu - Recommended By An Expert
Nagahama Number One is a ramen shop with a long history in Hakata, Fukuoka. This shop has branches in the greater Fukuoka Prefecture area and also Tokyo.

What sets this restaurant apart is its unique tonkotsu broth, which is creamy with a thick consistency. However, the soup does not get too heavy and it is easy to eat. The restaurant is also known for having reasonable prices--the most you will spend here is about 1,000 yen, even with extra toppings.

3. KENZO cafe

Hakata Ramen - Tonkotsu Soup And Noodles From Fukuoka

Picture from Top 8 Must-Try Ramen In Fukuoka, Kyushu - Recommended By An Expert
KENZO cafe is a food stall-turned-restaurant that still retains its friendly, casual atmosphere, located in the middle of Fukuoka City. You will feel welcome and at ease with the classic Japanese interior.

The restaurant offers delicious bowls of standard tonkotsu ramen at very affordable prices. It also is known for its grilled ramen and unique menu items.

4. Tanaka Shoten

Hakata Ramen - Tonkotsu Soup And Noodles From Fukuoka

Picture from 30 Great Tokyo Ramen Shops Selected By A Ramen Expert

Tanaka Shoten is a ramen shop in Adachi Ward in Tokyo. There is just one choice on the menu--tonkotsu ramen known for its very rich taste in comparison to what you can have at other restaurants. It is a unique take on Hakata ramen that is very popular.

The noodles are also very satisfying and thin, as they are ordered from Fukuoka.

Give Japanese Hakata Ramen A Shot!

This time we have explained some basics about Hakata ramen. The quirks like choosing your own firmness level and the kaedama system might be a bit difficult for people visiting Japan.

Just remember this article, and give Hakata ramen a shot!

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