Situated in a regular looking house in the southern Fukuoka suburb of Nakagawa, NakamuLab is a buzz-generating hole-in-the-wall ramen shop where all seats are available by reservation only. After working in ramen shops in Tokyo and Singapore and developing his own ideas about flavor, owner and Fukuoka native Takashi Nakamura decided to open a shop in his home ground. He rented a house to serve as his “lab” for prototyping his ramen, and then turned this lab into his restaurant. “I started this shop to test myself. I felt I could make it as long as I could get people to come here,” says Nakamura. Despite being a reservation-only operation, his prices start at a reasonable ¥740. His specialty is not the local standard tonkotsu ramen, but rather tori-paitan soba, a variety of chicken ramen, and its spicier cousin tantanmen. He uses a blender to make the creamy, emulsified chicken soup for his trademark tori-paitan soba. The air bubbles on the surface give the soup a mellow mouthfeel. NakamuLab makes a great pit-stop for drives to Nakagawa or further south.
Menu: Tori-paitan soba ¥780, Japanese-style soy sauce soba ¥740, tantanmen ¥850
*Foreign language menu: None / Credit cards: Not accepted / Reservations: Required / No smoking