Welcome to Fukuoka Now! Since 1998 our team of local experts have been introducing the best of Fukuoka to the world. Here are our This Month picks for the month of February, featuring Mendo Hanamokoshi, serving delicious chicken-based ramen; Kotani Saketen, a liquor store in which you can drink what you buy; and Stereo Coffee, one of Fukuoka’s hippest coffee joints. Enjoy, and let us know what you think!
Stereo Coffee is a delightful independent coffee shop located off Watanabe-dori. The coffee is reason enough to visit and is handmade to your specification, with a wide selection of beans to choose from and beautiful latte options. The shop is arranged around two whopping JBL4344 speakers where customers can gather to soak up the “Stereo” lifestyle. On rotation is a selection of music curated by the well respected local DJ, and co-owner, Yusuke Watanabe. Pop upstairs to the shop’s second floor exhibition space which features the work of new and upcoming artists.
In business for 65 years, Kotani Saketen is a Daimyo based kakuuchi – a liquor shop that lets you drink what you’ve bought right in the store. You can enjoy 20-plus types of shochu and sake, at up to half the price of a bar! According to owner Masahiro Kotani, lower prices means product turnover is higher, so you can enjoy your libations at their freshest. Kotani, a travel buff, studied for two years in Australia. Fascinated by pub culture there, he decided on his return to switch the family shop’s layout to a kakuuchi – making it a good place for a quick stop before a night out.
When Mendo Hanamokoshi opened in Fukuoka, it caused a big stir on the ramen scene. The shop’s owner, Norihiro Hirohata, took Fukuoka’s famous pork-based tonkotsu ramen and turned it on its head, creating a chicken-based ramen known as tori paitan. The flavour of the soup is unlike any ramen you’ll have had before, extraordinarily rich and more akin to a western gravy than the pork creations found at tonkotsu ramen shops. While the number of tori paitan restaurants in Fukuoka has increased in recent years, Hanamokoshi reigns supreme, with daily lines outside the shop. From the soup to the noodles to the chicken char siu, Norihiro Hirohata prepares everything himself, and limits the number of bowls of his ramen to just 40 a day. At lunch, try tokusei tanrei tori shio soba, soup-less soba with chicken char siu, and at dinner tori tsuke soba: noodles with a rich, chicken-based dipping sauce. Delicious – best get there before it opens.
• Estatemore Chateau Yakuin 1F, 2-4-35 Yakuin, Chuo-ku
• 11:45~14:00, 19:00~22:00 (closes when sold out)
• Closed: Sun.
• Full report, with more pictures, here.
Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn218, Feb. 2017)