[2019 Edition/Multilingual Menus Available] 5 Famous Yatai Stalls in Fukuoka Where Lining Up Is Inevitable
Fukuoka City is said to be home to about 40% of all yatai (food stalls) in Japan. The yatai stalls mainly operate in three areas in the city: the Tenjin area at the center of the city, the Nakasu area that is located east of the city, and the Nagahama area in the northwest that faces Hakata Bay. This article will feature five food stalls that have been ranked as the Top 5 yatai stalls in Fukuoka for 2019 where customers will almost always need to line up with other customers when they visit. The five yatai stalls in the list all have an international flair and offer multilingual menus.
History and Culture of Fukuoka’s Yatai Stalls! Do They Have Multilingual Menus?
It is said that the start of yatai stalls in Fukuoka was triggered by the underground black market that was born after World War II. Given their history spanning more than 70 years, it is no wonder that some of the most famous yatai stalls in Fukuoka are long-established stalls that have been operating for over half a century now. Customers love the yatai stalls in Fukuoka as they let them feel the warmth (more commonly known as the “human kindness of Hakata”) of the locals through food.
Resembling a small hut that is covered with a plastic sheet, a yatai can usually seat around 10 customers at a time. When you eat at a yatai, you must observe proper manners by making concession on the seats and sitting beside someone you do not know. Note, too, that plenty of people go to yatai stalls, so avoid being a bother to other customers by not staying too long.
Tourists visiting Japan have increasingly been curious about this yatai culture as well, so majority of the food stalls in Nakasu and Tenjin areas have been providing multilingual menus of late. Even foreign visitors in Japan can now easily order what they want, making it easier for people who want to sample local dishes in Fukuoka to drop by.
Ahotaleeno is a Western-style yatai that is marked by its tricolor signboard. It offers international dishes that even foreign tourists are familiar with, such as tacos and garlic fried rice. If you want to eat local cuisine, then this also the place where you can enjoy popular dishes that include the classic yakitori (chicken pieces grilled on a skewer) and oden (various ingredients stewed in soy sauce-flavored broth).
This yatai’s signature dish is the croquette that is only available on Saturdays. It is available in a limited quantity of 50 servings, an Ahotaleeno specialty that comes at a reasonable price of 250 JPY. You definitely won’t get enough of the delicious sensation coming from the soft and flaky potato.
Access: 2-minute walk from Tenjin Station in the Nishitetsu Tenjin Omuta Line
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday/6:00 pm - 3:00 am
Regular holiday: Monday
※The following day in case Monday is a national holiday
2. Chez Remy
Chez Remy has gained a huge following among the locals as the only yatai in Fukuoka that demonstrates the skills of a French chef. Remy, the chef and owner of the yatai, can speak French and English, so his yatai is highly recommended to tourists who are worried they won’t be able to communicate when they go to a yatai.
The signature dish of this yatai is Remy’s Escargot (snails). Aside from that, there are many other familiar dishes on the menu such as handmade quiche and sausage. If you feel you are not that daring to try Japan’s local food, then this yatai is the best spot to usher you into the world of yatai.
Access: 1-minute walk from the South Exit of Tenjin Station in the Nishitetsu Tenjin Omuta Line
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday/6:30 pm - 12:00 am
Regular holiday: Sunday and Monday
Founded in 1950, Genkai is the second oldest yatai in Fukuoka with a history of about 70 years. This food stall that has a lingering sensation of Fukuoka’s yatai from the good old days is one of the places where you can feel the true human kindness of Hakata (kindness and spirit of the people of Fukuoka).
At this yatai, the recommended dish is the tempura made from fresh seafood caught at Genkai-nada Sea, a natural fishing area that stretches northwest of Fukuoka. There is also a multilingual menu available to make it easy for foreigners to order. Genkai is recommended to those who want to eat well, such as the Tendon in which the tempura is placed on top of a heaping bowl of white rice.
Access: 3-minute walk from the No. 1 Exit of Tenjin Station in the subway’s Kuko Line (Route 1)
Hours: Monday - Saturday/6:30 pm - 12:00 am
Regular holiday: Sunday and national holidays
Kokinchan is known as one of the most popular food stalls in Fukuoka where there is always a line of customers waiting to get a seat. Opened in 1967, this yatai has been in business for 52 years and locals love it as a well-established food stall in the region. It is also said to be the origin of Yaki Ramen that is considered as the staple dish of yatai stalls in Fukuoka.
Yaki Ramen is boiled ramen noodles mixed with tonkotsu (pork bone broth) and special sauce and then fried on an iron plate. Unlike the usual ramen, it has no soup. It uses thin, straight Hakata ramen noodles, and is characterized by a smooth texture that is just like ankake yakisoba (stir-fried noodles with thick, starchy sauce).
Access: 2-minute walk from the No. 1 Exit of Tenjin Station in the subway’s Kuko Line (Route 1)
Hours: Monday - Wednesday/6:30 pm - 1:00 am
Friday - Saturday/6:30 pm - 2:00 am
Regular holiday: Sunday and Thursday
※The location of this yatai on the map is an approximate location
5. FUGU CHAN-TEI
Fuguchan-tei opened in 2017 as the first Japanese food stall offering fugu (blowfish). This yatai has been catapulted into one of the most famous food stalls in Fukuoka within just two years since it debuted, thanks in part for being a yatai that lets customers taste the high-end ingredient fugu at affordable yatai prices.
This yatai has 11 types of fugu dishes such as deep-fried, hot pot for one person, and grilled fugu. Foreign tourists may think of fugu as something that is highly toxic and poisonous, but you can rest assured that the fugu at this yatai is delicious and safe to eat as it is carefully prepared according to proper cooking techniques.
Access: 2-minute walk from the Tenjin Station in the subway’s Kuko Line (Route 1)
Hours: 6:30 pm - 12:30 am
Regular holiday: Irregular
A yatai is a food stall where you can enjoy an alcoholic drink while sitting close to a stranger. It is a valuable traditional culture that lives on in Fukuoka. The five yatai stalls featured in this article have multilingual menus available, so they are the perfect spots for tourists to dip their toes into the world of yatai. Now, what would you say about visiting yatai stalls in Fukuoka and getting a feel of the so-called human kindness of Hakata through a yatai with a rich international character?
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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