Ramen stands can be found all over Japan, and Fukuoka prefecture is no exception. But there probably aren’t many ramen stands out there that are popular with the locals for just about everything but ramen. Maruwamae, located in Kokura, Fukuoka, is one such ramen shop.

According to Tabelogu, a local restaurant review site akin to Yelp, ramen shop Maruwama is ranked first in the city for the best sweets and the best oden. In particular, reviews rave that their ohagi and kinako mochi surpass all cake, cookie, and Japanese sweet shops— a reputation that’s sure to have the competition cringing. Their ramen, by the way, is ranked fourth.

First, for those unfamiliar with the dishes, oden is a winter soup dish consisting of a number of ingredients which are anything from octopus, fish cakes, and boiled eggs, to konbu seaweed, daikon radish, and potatoes; all skewered on wooden sticks and simmered in a huge pot of tasty broth and eaten with yellow mustard. Ohagi and kinako mochi, the sweets available at Maruwamae, are sticky mochi rice cakes covered in sweet bean paste and sweetened soybean flour, respectively.

While oden we could understand, it’s a wonder that a ramen stand is ranked first for sweets, which is why we sent resident RocketFoodie Kuzo to see and taste for himself!

■Maruwamae Ramen Stand

Maruwamae is run by an okamisan, meaning wife but used as a title for woman shop keepers, who watches over all that oden and attends to customers.  It is a ramen stand, so most customers do order ramen, but also indulge in the first-ranked fare.

・You can also order three or four kinds of onigiri (rice balls)
For a ramen stand, there is a wide variety of food to eat here, oden, ramen, oinari sushi, (sushi rice in fried tofu skin) onigiri, and the sweets ohagi and kinako mochi.  I ordered some oden, a bowl of ramen, an oinarisan and an ohagi.

Onigiris and oinaris

The oinari on the left and the ohagi on the right.

・It is like being able to choose side orders to a fixed main course
With the ramen being the set main course, you’d think I’d be too full to eat much more, but strangely enough the oden, oinari and ohagi all went down smoothly with no problem. It’s like my appetite was stimulated the more I ate.

・Maruwamae is a good place to go at night
The okamisan, who silently tends to her oden, may appear to be unsociable at times, but when she reveals her smile it is a heart warming one.  You can see why there are regular customers who frequent this ramen stand often.  Although Kokura is famous for its fried udon noodles, this ramen stand is worth the visit next time you are there.  Go to Maruwamae Ramen stand and discover the tastes of great oden, ohagi, and ramen!



The tasty food I ordered

Store Name: Maruwamae Ramen
Address: Uocho 4-1-1, diagonally across from Maruwa Supermarket, Kokura North Ward, Kitakyushu city, Fukuoka Prefecture
Hours: Weekdays 20:30~04:30 / Saturdays 20:30~05:00
Days off:  Sundays, or sometimes Mondays

Simmering oden

The sweets, ohagi and kinako mochi

[ Read in Japanese ]