20 Must-Buy Hakata Souvenirs at Fukuoka Airport's Domestic Terminal
You can find plenty of sweets with history in Fukuoka Prefecture that make perfect souvenirs. However, Fukuoka is not just about sweets, as it also offers a wide array of delicious dishes and specialty products such as mentaiko (salted cod roe), tonkotsu (pork broth) ramen, and Amaou strawberries. Here are 20 recommended Hakata souvenirs that you should definitely purchase at Fukuoka Airport's Domestic Terminal. All the products listed below are guaranteed to be delicious, so you have to check them out!
Sep 27 2019 (Sep 09 2020)
Top 10 Classic Hakata Souvenirs at Fukuoka Airport
1. Menbei (Plain)
Menbei is a kind of crunchy senbei (rice cracker) filled with the delicious taste of mentaiko and seafood. Made famous by word of mouth, it has now been catapulted into one of the staple Hakata souvenirs. Its manufacturer Fukutaro is a company that originally made mentaiko, so you are sure to delight in the authentic flavors of mentaiko and a piquant taste in this menbei. It’s not that spicy, though, so everybody can enjoy it.
You can taste flavors of seafood such as squid and octopus in the menbei. A bite into this slightly thick and filling senbei will surely get you hooked. In every box, the menbei crackers are individually wrapped, making them easy to distribute. They are a great snack for alcoholic drinks, too. Aside from the plain kind, there are many other flavors available, so it is a great idea to taste and compare them all. Make sure to buy this snack and savor the delicious taste of mentaiko and seafood.
2. Hakata Torimon
Hakata Torimon is a well-known representative confectionery product of Hakata. Certified by the Guinness World Records for having the biggest annual sales in its category, Hakata Torimon is a kind of manju (steamed bun with filling) that both locals and foreigners love. The bean paste filling made using fine butter has a refined sweetness while being rich at the same time. The dough that wraps the bean paste incorporates fresh cream and it is thin and soft, so it won’t clash with the flavor of the bean paste inside.
The moist milk-flavored bean paste inside the manju is characterized by its melt-in-the-mouth consistency and creamy taste. This manju is famous for its palatability, carrying a western aroma despite it being a traditional Japanese sweet. People of all ages love it, so if you haven’t tried this delight, make sure to buy it at the airport.
3. Niwaka Senpei
Niwaka Senpei is an interesting cracker with a humorous appearance. The funny expression of the droopy eyes on the cracker is inspired by the half-masks used in Hakata’s traditional performing art called Hakata Niwaka. It also tastes great - the cracker’s dough made using plenty of high-quality eggs and flour is crunchy and packed with the delicious flavor of eggs.
The character on the cracker has different expressions, including the typical expression of a Niwaka mask and winking eyes. There is also a mask inside that you can wear by simply tying a string on it, making it a perfect toy for children as well. Niwaka Senpei is a snack that has a fun appearance and delicious taste, so try to grab a pack or two when you visit Fukuoka.
4. Hiyoko no Pinanciers
Hiyoko no Pinanciers is the soft financier (a kind of cake that originated in France) version of Fukuoka’s original pastry Hiyoko (a chick-shaped pastry with bean paste filling). It is a simple financier with a rich, milky taste that has kept the cute shape of hiyoko (chicks). This pastry is moist, soft, and has just the right amount of sweetness.
The financier is easy to eat, so it has become a favorite of people of all ages from young children up to the elderly. Aside from its adorable appearance, this sweet is only available in Kyushu, so it is an especially valuable souvenir. There are also Amaou (strawberry)-flavored Hiyoko no Pinanciers exclusively sold at Fukuoka Airport. You should definitely check out this new staple souvenir from Hakata.
Nanoka is a fine Japanese pastry sold by Hakata’s high-quality Japanese confectionery store, Haneya. The dough is made from gently whipped eggs hardened with agar and sprinkled with candied orange rind. It is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, so you will get to enjoy two different textures. This pastry has an extremely refined taste that comes from a combination of the faint and refined sweetness and the aroma of orange.
The orange peels that seem to float on the white, smooth pastry look fresh and elegant. Even the box that this confection comes in has an elegant design, making it the perfect souvenir for colleagues and business partners. It may not be cheap, but it is highly recommended for those who want to splurge a little on a souvenir that is a notch higher than the usual. Enjoy the mysterious crunchy yet marshmallow-like texture, as well as the refreshing citrus-y aroma from the orange.
6. Tsukushi Mochi
Tsukushi Mochi is a famous confection sold by the Japanese confectionery store Josuian whose main branch is located in front of Hakata Station. It is a confection that boasts a stellar history, having been awarded the highest prize for excellence in the Monde Selection. When you open the individually wrapped container, you will find a soft mochi (rice cake) covered in kinako (soybean flour). The accompanying brown sugar syrup is light on the sweetness, so the mochi with kinako will still taste refreshing even if you add a lot of the syrup.
Take one bite and your mouth will be filled with the delicious aroma of the nostalgic flavor of kinako. The mochi has a firmer texture than warabi mochi (bracken starch mochi with kinako), but it is still very easy to eat. This snack is famous, not just among Japanese people, but with foreigners as well. It is a must-buy Hakata souvenir that will be appreciated by anyone you give it to, including children. Why not buy some for yourself and as a gift for those back home?
Tirolian is a confectionary that has been sold by Chidoya, a veteran confectionery maker in Fukuoka, since 1962. A lot of people love it as the representative sweet of Iizuka City, Fukuoka. It is very easy to eat, with smooth cream wrapped in crispy rolled cookie. The delicious aroma of cookie is immediately released with the first bite, followed by the subtly sweet cream melting in your mouth.
This snack comes in four flavors of cream, including vanilla and strawberry. They also have the Kyushu Paradise set, which includes Tirolian with Amaou strawberry, Yame Gyokuro (a kind of green tea) and mango flavors inside. The canned set with its cute design makes a great present for families with small children. This treat is a convenient size to eat, so it is recommended as a souvenir to bring to work. Buy it once and you'll want to buy more!
8. Hakata Burabura
Hakata Burabura is a famous Fukuoka confection made and sold by Saemon, a long-established Japanese confectionery shop that was founded in 1929. It is a kind of anko mochi (red bean paste and mochi) consisting of gyuhi (a type of confectionery made with rice flour) made using Hiyoku rice from Saga wrapped in Hokkaido-grown azuki (red bean) paste. Its delicious taste was confirmed when it won the Prime Minister’s Prize at the National Confectionery Expo.
The mochi inside is very soft and the koshian (strained bean paste) is not too sweet. It is an anko mochi delight with a simple yet deep taste that will allow you to enjoy the inherent flavors of its ingredients. It comes in bite-sized pieces, so you’ll surely find yourself unintentionally eating one after another. Note, though, that it does not come in individually wrapped packaging, so it would be best suited for personal consumption or a gift for one person as opposed to a group.
9. Hakata Mentai Ebi Senbei
Hakata Mentai Ebi Senbei is a sweet-and-savory rice cracker made from domestically grown non-glutinous rice, topped with ebi (shrimp) and mentaiko. This senbei is made by crushing the non-glutinous rice unevenly, giving it a unique crunchy texture. The piquant taste of mentaiko and subtle flavor of shrimp will have you addicted to this delicious snack.
The deep flavor that combines salty and sweet is so good that it will make you crave for more and you just won’t be able to stop once you start eating this snack. It is also cheap, so you can buy a lot for yourself and as gifts for other people. With total sales exceeding 1.3 million boxes per year, the Hakata Mentai Ebi Senbei is quickly becoming the new standard Hakata souvenir. It's definitely worth a try.
10. Umegae Mochi
Umegae Mochi is a mochi snack sold by Kasanoya, a cafe located along near Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine that serves meals and sweets. A favorite of the famous Sugawara no Michizane, it is a Japanese sweet that has long been loved as a specialty of the Dazaifu area. The mochi made with a mix of glutinous and non-glutinous rice is filled with fine tsubu-an (coarse red bean paste) with a subtle sweetness.
The coarse bean paste made using beans from Hokkaido’s Tokachi area goes really well with the mochi and creates a light, refreshing snack. It uses the simplest of ingredients, so it has a simple, natural taste that you can gift to small children. Make sure to buy some Umegae Mochi while you're in Fukuoka!
Top 5 Hakata Souvenirs That Incorporate Amou Strawberries
1. HAKATA PIE OU
HAKATA PIE OU is a pie snack created by Ito King, which sells sweets specializing in Amaou strawberries. The crust of this pie, made with generous amounts of Amaou strawberries harvested in Itoshima island, is deliciously crispy. One bite will flood your mouth with the faint flavor of strawberries and surely have you addicted. This snack also has a light texture, making it easy to eat.
Inside the box, the pies are individually wrapped to make them easy to distribute. It is also very pretty to look at, with its pink color and streaks of white condensed milk on top. If you ever go to Fukuoka, make sure to buy this snack that is rapidly gaining popularity.
2. Hakata no Hito - Amaou Ichigo Milk Flavor
Hakata no Hito, a classic Hakata souvenir, has launched the new Amaou strawberry milk flavor. It is a strawberry-flavored baumkuchen with white bean-based milk yokan (a kind of jellied dessert) inside. The Baumkuchen is moist and not too sweet, so you will taste the subtle sourness of the strawberries. The yokan inside is made with whipped cream and condensed milk, giving it a smooth and rich milk flavor.
A box of 20 pieces of this delight is quite cheap at just 1,123 yen, so you can purchase many of them for souvenirs. The Baumkuchen pieces inside are small and easy to eat, and the packaging is also cute. Hakata no Hito’s strawberry milk-flavored snack is a must-try for those who love strawberries.
3. Dora King Nama
Dora King Nama is a luxurious dorayaki (a kind of sweet made with two pancakes sandwiching sweet bean paste) with an entire Amaou strawberry tucked inside. It is a limited-time product sold by the Amaou strawberry confectionery expert Ito King from late November until the end of May. For this confection, a whole strawberry, strained bean paste, and whipped cream are wrapped in a thin bun with a springy texture. The strawberry inside is guaranteed fresh and juicy. The refreshing sourness of the strawberry is exquisitely balanced by the sweetness of the bean paste and whipped cream.
There is a generous filling of cream inside, giving the pastry a soft texture that makes it feel like a cake. Aside from the ordinary flavor, this confection also comes in matcha and slated vanilla flavors, so you may enjoy tasting and comparing them. It may not be cheap, but the truly exquisite dorayaki is worth it. This confection is the perfect treat for anyone, including you!
4. MAKKANA ICHIGO NO LANGUE DE CHAT
MAKKANA ICHIGO NO LANGUE DE CHAT is a popular Hakata souvenir that reportedly sells 10,000 pieces every day. A high-quality pastry that has won the gold prize in the Monde Selection for three consecutive years, it is made from lightly baked cookies sandwiching chocolate with freeze-dried bits of Amaou strawberries. Savor the exquisite harmony of the slightly bittersweet chocolate and crispy cookie with this sweet.
The cookie is thick when compared to regular langue de chats. It is an extremely light snack with a very enjoyable texture of the cookie as it breaks apart in your mouth. This snack is also relatively cheap at just 778 yen for a pack of 10 pieces. If you love strawberries or sweet food, this product is highly recommended!
5. Amaou-Iri Rusk
Amaou-Iri Rusk is also made and sold by Ito King. It is a crunchy rusk (twice-baked bread) incorporating the juice of Amaou strawberries. Take one bite and your mouth will be flooded with the aroma of the rusk, followed by the rich taste of strawberries. The richness will have you fooled that the bread was actually soaked in strawberry juice!
It has a unique flavor from the other strawberry-flavored snacks out there, and they also come in cocoa and chocolate flavors along with the plain kind. It is a must-try rusk for those who love strawberries.
Top 5 Hakata Souvenirs That Offer A Taste of Hakata’s Specialty Ingredients
1. Muchakushoku Mentaiko Karakuchi
Muchakushoku Mentaiko Karakuchi is a product that best represents Fukuoka’s famous mentaiko manufacturer Yamaya. The secret behind the delicious taste of this mentaiko is the Sho no Tare (the maker’s original sauce) that is constantly topped up while the spicy mentaiko is marinated. Kombu (kelp) and chili pepper are added to the sake base, followed by yuzukosho (condiment made from yuzu citrus and chili pepper). You will be in for a tasty treat with this superb salted mentaiko soaked for seven days in the special Sho no Tare with its rich taste and delicious aroma.
Pour in the accompanying salty seasoning to give the mentaiko a sharper taste with a hint of spiciness. The deliciously salty sauce that fuses Yamaya’s secret sauce and special salty miso draws out the richness and spiciness of the mentaiko. You’ll probably be happy to know that you can adjust the spiciness to your taste. This mentaiko is a standard Hakata souvenir that is sure to please anyone who is gifted it. Make sure to grab some when you fly to or from Fukuoka Airport!
2. Hakata Ago Otoshi
Hakata Ago Otoshi from Hakata Marukita Suisan is a spicy mentaiko that has won the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Prize at the Comprehensive Quality Inspection of National Processed Fishery Products. This product only uses “mako”, which are eggs of the finest walleye pollacks, and true its name, you will find your jaw dropping (“ago otoshi” in Japanese) at its sensational taste. The mako is soaked in salt, and after its delicious taste is extracted, it is marinated and aged in a secret sauce.
Every roe grain is full of texture, while the entirety of it is moist and soft. You will get to taste truly excellent spicy mentaiko with this product. The mentaiko is not too spicy, so it is quite easy to eat. Each piece of cod roe inside has a firm consistency and is quite large in size. This souvenir looks impressive and is especially recommended for those who want to savor the delicious taste of authentic mentaiko.
3. Hakata Daruma Ramen
Hakata Daruma Ramen recreates the delicious flavors of ramen at Daruma, a famous Hakata ramen joint, in the comfort of your own home. Developed jointly with the owner of the ramen restaurant, this ramen has managed to recreate the thick pork-based soup and the springy, extra-thin noodles of the original. The richness of the soup may not be identical to the soup served at the restaurant, but it is definitely delicious to enjoy at home.
This product contains raw noodles, so they are firm and springy unlike dry noodles and boast an authentic, delicious taste. A box with three servings cost 1,080 yen, which is a relatively cheap price for ramen that tastes close to ones you can eat at its popular restaurant. If you want to gift local flavors of Hakata as souvenir, there is no doubt that this will be a hit. It is also recommended as a Hakata souvenir for those who love ramen and for you to enjoy back home.
4. Nagahama Number One
Nagahama Number One is a product that recreates the flavors of Number One, a famous ramen restaurant in Nagahama’s yatai (food stall) area. It will let you enjoy the local Nagahama Ramen, which is a popular local dish alongside Hakata ramen, at your own home. Its mild and thick soup has a subtle aroma of pork that is not overwhelming. The chewy, straight and ultra-thin noodles absorb the rich soup deliciously.
Even if you don't enjoy tonkotsu (pork broth), you may still love this ramen since it is easy to eat and has a refreshing aftertaste. This is the perfect souvenir for people who love ramen. It comes in different sizes including a box of one serving, so you can easily enjoy it even if you are only buying for yourself. It is a great way to savor the taste of the famous ramen restaurant, which always has a line of customers waiting outside, when you get back home.
5. Hana Karatto
Hana Karatto is packaged deep-fried chicken wings made from Kyushu's local chicken called Hakata Hanamidori, covered in a sauce that is sweet, salty, and spicy. The homemade sauce is rather spicy, making it a recommended souvenir for those who love spicy food. You will be hooked on the robust and delicious flavor of the chicken in this very popular souvenir.
The batter covering the chicken has a crunchy texture and you can eat it cold, so you can just let it thaw naturally. It’s also convenient to include in your bento box, heat it up and serve it as a main dish, or enjoy it as a snack with alcoholic drinks. This is a great local cuisine souvenir option.
Buy Delicious Hakata Souvenirs at Fukuoka Airport!
Fukuoka is home to a lot of time-honored sweets that make perfect souvenirs. Aside from confectioneries, however, there are also plenty of savory local specialty products to choose from, including mentaiko, tonkotsu ramen and Amaou strawberries. This article featured 20 recommended Hakata souvenirs that you can buy at Fukuoka Airport's Domestic Terminal. They are all guaranteed to be delicious, so make sure to check them out!
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Translated and republished with permission from: SPIRA (formerly known as Relux Magazine)
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.