In Kyushu, the renowned bastion of tonkotsu ramen, there exists a plethora of local varieties of this beloved noodle dish. Among the most notable are Hakata Ramen, Nagahama Ramen, Kurume Ramen, and Kumamoto Ramen. Of late, Saga Ramen and Kitakyushu Ramen have also risen in the ranks of popularity. Beyond geographically named varieties, tonkotsu ramen also diversifies into categories based on the soup’s preparation and texture, such as the bubble-covered “foam tonkotsu,” the semi-translucent “clear tonkotsu,” and the smooth, traditional “shaba tonkotsu.” Each variant offers a different allure, captivating connoisseurs and casual diners alike.
This brings us to Menya GaGa a ramen shop that epitomizes the “Ogori-style Ramen.” Nestled in the central Fukuoka Prefecture, the small city of Ogori lends its name to this specialized ramen, drawing the fervent gaze of die-hard aficionados.
The “Menya GaGa Ogori Main Store” made its debut in 2013, a brainchild of Daijun Koga who hails from Ogori. He honed his craft under the tutelage of the Nakahara couple from a widely acclaimed ramen establishment. The shop swiftly earned a stellar reputation, with its bold, red spicy condiment becoming the hallmark of Ogori-style Ramen.
In August 2022, Menya GaGa expanded its reach by opening a branch in Imaizumi, at the bustling core of Fukuoka City, making its signature tonkotsu ramen even more accessible to the masses.
Their meticulously crafted soup, simmered for over 20 hours using premium pork head bones sourced from Kagoshima Prefecture, achieves a creamy, full-bodied flavor without any unpleasant gaminess. The house’s pride, a homemade spicy sauce concocted from an array of spices, provides a delightful kick, enhancing the ramen experience and ensuring a dynamic taste journey down to the last spoonful. Their most celebrated offering is the “Ajitsuke Tamago Ramen,” featuring an irresistibly soft, runny egg yolk.
While chopped mustard greens are a staple accompaniment in Fukuoka’s ramen eateries Menya GaGa stands out with its unique side dish of mustard green-wrapped rice balls. The greens’ crispness and ideal salinity are the perfect foil to the mellow tonkotsu broth.
The shop’s chic design is another draw, particularly among female patrons. Its signature motif, the blazing sun, alongside the Japanese-modern décor accented with bamboo, and the Arita ware bowls emblazoned with the “GaGa” insignia, all speak to Koga’s deep personal investment in both his craft and his homage to his mentors, the Nakaharas.
Featuring the rare amenity of private rooms that can be reserved—a boon for families or as an upscale venue for hosting—underscores Menya GaGa as a versatile and welcoming destination for ramen enthusiasts of all walks.
When the craving for ramen strikes amidst the urban exploration of the Tenjin, Daimyo, and Imaizumi areas, Menya GaGais a stellar choice for both a casual and an elevated dining experience.
Menu (tax in)
Ramen ¥780, Ajitama Ramen (Ramen with seasoned egg) ¥930, Chashu Men (Ramen with extra slices of roast pork) ¥970, Takana Maki Onigiri (Rice ball wrapped with mustard greens) ¥130, Extra Noodles ¥160, Half Portion of Extra Noodles ¥90
*Private room usage fee ¥1,000 (45 minutes)