Grilling your own meat at a yakiniku restaurant is one of the essential Japanese dining experiences. There are many theories about the origins of this cook-it-yourself barbecue, but the most common is that although Koreans were the first to grill meat in this way, it was in post-war Japan that such restaurants first became widespread. With food in short supply during those difficult years, grilling beef offal was a cheap (and tasty) way for working class people to stave off starvation. As times have changed, Yakiniku has become more of a luxury food, with an increasing number of restaurants offering expensive, high-quality beef. Aiming to bridge that gap is this month’s recommended restaurant, Hachi Hachi, where you can find high-quality meat at a more reasonable price. The driving force behind their success is their low prices. Despite using quality beef from domestic cattle such as Japanese Black, kalbi (boneless rib-meat) starts from just ¥480 and harami (tender meat around the diaphragm) from only ¥580 per person. Charcoal, rather than the more common gas, barbecues help to give the meat a deliciously smoky flavor. Huge tables and a modern interior make it ideal for couples or big groups. English menu available.
Hachi Hachi Akasaka
2-9-5 Daimyo, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
View Hachi Hachi Akasaka in a larger map
Hours: 17:00–1:00 (LO: 24:30)
Menu: Kalbi ¥480, Harami ¥580, Pork kalbi ¥390, Cabbage mountain ¥280, Assorted kimchi ¥780, Stone-pot bibimbap ¥880, Soft tofu stew (for 2 people) ¥880, Cold reimen noodles ¥880, Soy pudding with syrup and soybean flour ¥280, Draft beer ¥480, Soft drinks ¥250.
Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn163, July 2012)