Go local at the Yatai Street Stalls of Fukuoka

Go local at the Yatai Street Stalls of Fukuoka

We watched the sun set in Fukuoka, and observed the riverside in Nakasu (中洲) area come alive.

We observed the riverside lighting up and transforming into a bustling scene.

Charcoal smoke was spewing from Yatai with the accompanying aroma of grilled meat.

As we near the Yatai, the faint murmurs of chatter turn into boisterous laughter from local salary-man ( サラリーマン) huddled close together to wind-down the workday.

In our attempt to find empty seats, we must have passed 20 Yatai, most barely fitting 10 customers.

We finally found seats at one of the stalls and we plonked ourselves down.

Every seat in the house was a front-row seat, providing you a full raw view of the entire workings of the kitchen.

The stall keeper would be scurrying from grilling kushiyaki skewers (串焼き) to drowning boiled ramen with rich pork broth to fill glasses with sake or sochu.

We never found ourselves to be bored for the time we sat at the Yatai!

Things to order at a Yatai

Sake and sochu are the most commonly ordered drink
Office workers visit the Yatai for a quick drink and the occasional tourists for novelty. ¥650 for a glass of sake or sochu 
Grilled skewer set
Common dish served at the Yatai are grilled skewers kushiyaki (串焼き). ¥900 for 6 skewers
Grill beef tongue
Also a popular dish is grilled beef tongue gyutanyaki (牛タン焼き). ¥600 for a serving.
Squeezy setting at the Yatai
Be prepared for a squeeze as the stall keepers try to fit as many customers as possible

Are the Yatai merely a novelty?

After the novelty of chowing and chugging at a Yatai has subsided, I realised what we had were just overpriced food of mediocre quality.

We experienced a pretty brash service as the stall keeper would subtly rush customers by clearing empty dishes and showing us the bill, probably to quicken the turnover.

Prices at the Yatai could cost more than restaurants, but we still recommend giving it a go just for the local Fukuoka experience and food culture.

We probably still prefer chilling at Izakayas as the environment is usually more relaxed and the locals are more interactive.

Getting There

We found getting to the Yatai easy and the nearest metro station to Nakasu island is Nakasukawabata.

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