Originally founded in 1951 in Inaba-cho (which is now part of Tenjin), Inaba Udon now has six shops throughout the city. Of those, the Watanabe-dori shop is a popular destination not only for its noodles, but also for its retro charm. The spry 78-year-old Yukiko Moriguchi has been the manager here for nearly 40 years, and she welcomes guests along with her friendly waitstaff. True to the Hakata style, Inaba Udon is known for its soft noodles, and the soup broth is made from carefully selected ingredients including baby sardines from Nagasaki, high-end kelp from Rausu in Hokkaido, and dried mackerel. The subtlety of the broth is accentuated with richly flavored tempura, meat or other toppings. To order like a local, ask for the burdock root tempura and tangy beef toppings along with a side of kashiwa meshi (chicken and rice).
Menu: Udon with beef and burdock root tempura ¥670, udon with burdock root tempura ¥480, udon with beef ¥590, udon with raw egg ¥450, udon with maruten (fried fish cake) ¥450, udon with shrimp tempura ¥480, Hakata-style thin udon (cold) ¥580, chicken rice ball ¥110, inarizushi (sushi rice wrapped in fried tofu; 2 pcs.) ¥150, barazushi (sushi rice with veggies) ¥300, bottled beer ¥480
*Foreign language menu: English, Chinese, Korean / Cash only / Reservations: Not possible / No smoking
Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn250, Oct. 2019)