【Fukuoka】Five Yakitori Restaurants You Don’t Want to Miss
Although Fukuoka is famous for its motsunabe and mizutaki, yakitori is also a Fukuoka specialty. It houses many popular yakitori restaurants with varied menus that include not just classic flavors, but also skewers that use pork belly – something that you can only find in Fukuoka, uniquely flavored skewers, and even ones that have rolled ingredients! Below are five particularly recommended restaurants that serve great yakitori.
Yakitori no Hachibei, which started in Fukuoka and now has branches in Tokyo and overseas, is known as the original upscale yakitori restaurant, serving creative skewers in a stylish environment. The Tenjin Branch (Chuo Ward, Fukuoka City) is the most popular restaurant in the Tenjin/Imaizumi area, which is full of yakitori restaurants.
This restaurant is run by the long-established butcher, Niku no Yashima, and serves food made with super fresh ingredients from Kyushu. It serves more than 20 different types of skewers, including the standard Pork Belly (172 JPY) that is so popular that more than 80 are ordered per day, the Chicken Liver (162 JPY), and Handmade Meatballs (237 JPY).
It also serves more unusual skewers, including vegetable skewers like Negimiso (248 JPY), Wagyu Sukiyaki Skewer (626 JPY) – served with a sauce that’s similar to sukiyaki sauce, and Green Pea Kushiage (518 JPY) that’s made of crunchy, deep-fried pea paste. It is highly rated for maximizing the natural flavors of the ingredients in its skewers. They can be enjoyed with different toppings, such as a secret sweet sauce that has been handed down from Maehara Main Shop in Itoshima, which has been operating for over 30 years, miso sauce, and salt.
[Yakitori no Hachibei Tenjin Branch] 2-5-28 Imaizumi, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka / 092-716-2778 / 6:00 pm - 1:00 am (L.O. 12:30 am) / Open all year
Yakitori no Hachibei Tenjin Branch
Established in 1950, this long-established restaurant is located in the backstreets of a residential area. Despite this, it is a busy restaurant filled with customers – mostly locals – that come to savor its famous skewers.
The display case in the restaurant is filled with 26 types of skewers, which are all made with fresh ingredients procured that day. There is a wide range of options, ranging from Pork Belly (324 JPY/skewer) and Heart (216 JPY/skewer), which are familiar to yakitori aficionados, to unusual ones like Oku (378 JPY/skewer), which is the back of beef tongue, and Peta (162 JPY/skewer) – a part of a chicken’s posterior.
Their offal skewers, such as Kobukuro (162 JPY/skewer) – pig womb – and Benten (216 JPY/skewer), which is pig rectum, are highly recommended. To make sure that no unpleasant scent remains, they are prepared in advance through methods like boiling. This results in them tasting light and fluffy. They can be enjoyed with a homemade sauce that has been handed down since the restaurant was founded, as well as with a garlic-flavored soy sauce.
[Honke Fujiyoshi] 1-36-1 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka / 092-641-3988 / 11:30 am - 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm - 11:00 pm / Closed Mondays
Murasaki Yakitori Kenkyujo (Chuo Ward, Fukuoka City) is located by Sumiyoshi Bridge in Haruyoshi, Fukuoka City. The interior is furnished with handmade items, such as chairs fashioned from beer cases and wood tables, creating a charming atmosphere that’s behind its popularity as a yakitori restaurant for everyone.
It serves more than 20 different types of skewers, including Chicken Gizzard, Heart, and Negima (scallions and chicken) – all of which are priced reasonably, starting from 118 JPY per skewer. The meat is purchased as blocks and prepared and skewered in-house. They try to maximize the textures and flavors of each part, such as juicy pork belly and crunchy skin. Either salt or a soy sauce-based homemade sauce are used as flavorings.
There is also a wide selection of a la carte items. One popular item is the Chicken Tender Shigiyaki (334 JPY), which is made by lightly searing soft chicken meat and flavoring it with a special sauce consisting of miso, mustard, and soy sauce. It is also topped with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
[Murasaki Yakitori Kenkyujo] 1-13-1 Haruyoshi, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka / 092-714-0584 / 6:00 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:00 pm) / Irregular holidays
Murasaki Yakitori Kenkyujo
Nobuhide Main Shop (Hakata Ward, Fukuoka City), which opened more than 50 years ago, is a famous restaurant that many locals, tourists, and celebrities visit upon hearing that it is the place to go for yakitori in Hakata. It is right by Hakataza Theater and is run by Hideo Yasuoka – the 78-year-old (as of 2017) owner – and his son, Eiji Yasuoka.
It is known as the creator of “cabbage x vinegar sauce”, which is now a standard offering at yakitori restaurants around Hakata. Consisting of cabbage that can be enjoyed with a homemade sauce made of ponzu (citrus soy sauce) sauce and lemon juice, you can enjoy unlimited servings of it here. It is a perfect snack to enjoy while waiting for your yakitori, or even just as a palate cleanser!
The shop’s method of making yakitori hasn’t changed – each skewer is prepared by hand and grilled until fragrant on binchotan (high-quality coal). There are more than 40 different types of skewers on the menu, including wrapped items such as Garlic Chives and Shiso Wrapped in Pork Belly (270 JPY/skewer) and Cherry Tomatoes Wrapped in Pork Belly (270 JPY/skewer). It also has unique offerings like the popular Bijin-gushi (259 JPY/skewer), which uses collagen-rich meat from pork legs.
[Nobuhide Main Shop] 8-8 Shimokawabata-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka / 092-281-4340 / 4:30 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:30 pm) / Closed Mondays
Nobuhide Main Shop
Yakitori Kojiro (Chuo Ward, Fukuoka City), which opened on Watanabe-dori, Fukuoka City in July 2017, is a sister restaurant to Yakitori Musashi – run by the owner, who has been making yakitori for more than 20 years.
It serves creative skewers, such as Coriander Pork Belly (270 JPY) and Camembert Cheese (324 JPY). Both menu items from the popular Yakitori Musashi, as well as new creations offered only at Yakitori Kojiro, can be found here. It also has a selection of skewers made with carefully chosen ingredients, such as the Thigh (216 JPY) and Tenders (237 JPY) from Kyushu-produced chicken slaughtered that morning.
The a la carte menu includes visually appealing items that you may want to photograph, such as the Potato Salad (648 JPY) – made with a homemade tartar sauce that has a fresh, acidic flavor and soft-boiled eggs – and Pacific Bluefin Tuna Sashimi (1,058 JPY), which consists of toro (fatty) and otoro (medium-fatty) tuna sashimi adorned with sea urchin and salted salmon roe.
[Yakitori Kojiro] Prosperita Tenjin-2 2F, 5-3-23-1 Watanabe-dori, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka / 092-762-5021 / 5:30 pm - 12:30 am (L.O. 12:00 am) and from 5:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays / Open all year
[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 04.06.2018]
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.