Thursday, September 26, 2013

一品香 - Ippinkou, Shimoda

エビワンタン塩ラーメン - Shio Ramen with Shrimp Wonton

   Another way to cool off in the summer is to head to the beach - although this method can be largely ineffective once the sunburn kicks in. So it was back for another trip to Izu, though a little further south this time to enjoy the much more beautiful (and possibly crowded) beaches of the popular holiday spot. 
   The local tour brochure was advertising a few of the different ramen shops scattered throughout the town and we decided that Ippinkou looked to be the pick of the bunch. There was, however, a very photogenic ramen served with an entire crab topping but I was a little wary of such intimidating-looking food.
   Ippinkou definitely has a more of a restaurant than ramen shop feel to it, but I think that the limitations on space in Tokyo are the main factor here rather than any preconceived notion of a how a shop should feel. We were seated on a table with a chain smoker who may have upped his intake because of the football world cup qualifier being broadcast.

  I was pleasantly surprised with this bowl. Ramen can be hit or miss at the best of times and in regional towns that aren't particularly well-known for ramen it is usually the latter, but Ippinkou could easily sit among the thousands in Tokyo. A great chashu and though I'm not usually a fan, the shrimp wontons were a great complement to the shio soup.

   I'd happily go back here anytime I'm in the area...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

けやき - Keyaki, Sapporo

味噌ラーメン - Miso Ramen

     One would think that a good idea to escape the summer in Tokyo would be to head to the cooler climes of Hokkaido, however there are a few things that could turn this seemingly brilliant plan on its head. Firstly, Sapporo can be pretty hot itself in summer - we were rather lucky in that respect though. Secondly, Sapporo is famous for its miso ramen which seems to be pretty much everywhere throughout the city and is much more suited to wintertime eating.
    Keyaki seems to be one of the more famous shops so that was where we headed (after a slight detour which led us to a massive car park and a ramen shop which was closed for the duration of our 4 days in Sapporo). A bit of a queue, but nothing to worry about. Inside the store led to another flaw in our plan - It was like a sauna inside. But once you're in, there's no turning back. Not even if you try - with your elbows locked into your waist and shoulder-to-shoulder with your neighbour you're stuck.

   My friend went for the chashu-men.

    Not ideal for a hot day but still a great bowl. There is nothing lacking and it doesn't feel  as if there is anything unnecessary either. A nice spice that only kicked with a few mouthfuls of soup and among the rest of the usual suspects in a bowl of miso ramen including some pieces of ground pork floating around. The chashu was also full of meaty goodness.

    It was definitely a sweaty experience but well worth it. There are definitely a few more I'd like to try up this way in the future.