Ten years ago, kuro tonkotsu (black pork bone) ramen burst onto the scene in Fukuoka. The color comes from ma-yu (black roasted garlic oil), a seasoning that originated in Kumamoto. This March, a new black ramen specialist joined in the fray—Wakatake. The owner, Masahito Yamada, spent years perfecting his own ma-yu. “I blend oil and six parts of garlic, each gently fried to a different degree of crispness. It takes about three days to make,” explains Yamada. In 2012, Yamada opened the now-famous Hakata Isso with his brother, but having been a black ramen fan since his days as an understudy, he always wanted to open a black ramen shop. His primary focus is freshness. He cooks the pork bone soup in a pressure cooker, only making what he needs for the day. The soup is rich, but doesn’t retain the trademark pork bone odor, and a hint of flour remains on the noodles. Both go great with Yamada’s original ma-yu, making for a deliciously unique bowl of ramen.
Address: 3-2 Gionmachi, Hakata-ku
Open: 11:00~24:00 (L.O.)
Menu: Ramen ¥600, ramen with seasoned soft-boiled egg ¥700, chashumen (broiled pork ramen) ¥750, chashumen with seasoned soft-boiled egg ¥850, wontonmen (wonton ramen) ¥800, special ramen ¥1,000, Lunch A (ramen + rice) ¥650 *Free rice refills, rice ¥150, rice ball ¥150, noodle refill ¥100, gyoza (x5) ¥250, (x10) ¥400 *gyoza only available after 15:00, draft beer ¥500, bottled beer ¥500, shochu ¥350
Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn212, Aug. 2016)