Monday, January 28, 2013

Fukuoka - Yakitori-Hachibei Tenjin

One of the things Fukuoka is famous for is Yakitori.  Typically chicken and chicken parts only are on offer but in Fukuoka, many places seem to offer other meats, seafood and vegetables.  But one thing's constant, they are on skewers and grilled over an open fire borne of charcoal.

We couldn't possibly leave without a Yakitori meal so even if it meant waiting till 9.30pm for dinner, we still wanted a meal at Hachibei, especially after @e_ting had also blogged about it.

Sea urchin, salmon roe and crab meat on rice
So we loaded up on some pre-dinner yumminess from the Mitsukoshi food hall (bless the Japanese for getting food halls in every department store!).  But even a reservation at the reasonably late hour meant a 20 minute wait in the cold...

The counter
But that just made the inside - a boisterous buzz of conversations, interactive shouts within the open kitchen and the smoky and warm interiors - that much more welcoming.  Except for the cigarette smoke.  There is no separation of areas so if you are seated next to a smoker, tough luck.

Center of the action
The camaraderie between the young men operating the various stations within the kitchen are quite a sight to watch, and the almost nonchalant way the chef showers his meats on the grill with secret seasonings made from a base of sea salt is cool personified.

Pork belly
Fresh cabbage is free flow, like tea, but I was happy with my black sugar Umeshu, while most have beer to keep them happy.  There is an English menu but not for specials so I had to peer into the chiller that runs 2 sides of the counter and point to our server.

Tsukune (minced chicken)
Given the slightly late hour, a few things we had our eye on were sold out but they did have the Tsukune, which was a nice rendition of minced chicken and cartilage.  Smeared with a little mustard on the side, just excellent.

Belly pork with vegetables
And you can't go wrong with belly pork wrapped around vegetables (choose from chives, pea shoots or broccoli).  All good.

Gingko Nuts

Arabiki sausage
Other items like the gingko nuts and arabiki sausage were also good.

Grilled rice balls
But a surprising show stealer was the grilled rice ball.  Wrapped in a Perilla leaf and carefully (slowly) grilled so as not to burn, this was a perfect slight crisp on the outside but moist and firm rice within.  And so fragrant.

Sesame pudding
A perfectly light and sweet finish of their own house made sesame pudding with black sugar made it a glorious last night in Fukuoka.  Until next time..

2-5-28 Imaizumi Chuo-ku Fukuoka

Tel: +81-92-732-5379


  1. HI,
    Yakitori Hachibei got a great mention in the New York Times article about Fukuoka.It is definitely on my list of restaurants to visit when I am there! I'll be sure to book in advance though..

    1. Thanks for sharing the link Dan! Hope you enjoy when you get there, be sure to tell us what you think!

  2. We went there a week ago without a reservation. We were told to come back in an hour which we did and were seated quickly. It was worth the wait. Yakitori done really well, with lots of variations and lots of atmosphere. The price for two was reasonable (Y8,500). We'd go back in a heartbeat but we live in California!

    1. Awesome, so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for keeping this relevant with an update. I hope you got to enjoy some other great places while you were visiting the area.

  3. Hi,
    Thank you for writing an article about Yakitori Hachibei. We are glad to see that you enjoyed your meal at our restaurant, and hope to see you again!
    We also shared this link on our Facebook page ;) (


    1. I sure did enjoy it and definitely want to go back!! Thanks for visiting EdEats!