Monday, January 19, 2015

ラーメン蜂屋 - Hachiya, Asahikawa

しょうゆラーメン - Shoyu Ramen

    One of the nicest things about domestic travel in Japan is sampling the local food and, on top of that, the regional variations of ramen. It is especially enjoyable when you can visit the place that was one of the pioneers in establishing a city's ramen tradition. And so it was with Hachiya which began life in Japan's coldest city in 1948、albeit after starting as ice-cream shop. (Hence the 蜂 - as in hachimitsu, honey.) Why not try some gyoza too!

   Hachiya is in a little alley just off one the main streets in Asahikawa, among a slew of other eateries and bars, not too far from Asahikawa station and easy to find - You've got to love the grid steet planning in Hokkaido! The wall is covered in autographs from celebrities that have popped in over the years. There was a customer inside the restaurant who had clearly recommended the place to their fellow diners who was taking great delight in their enjoyment. 

   So this is what old ramen looks like! One of the key points of Asahikawa ramen is the layer of oil on top of the soup that traps the heat in and keeps your noodles warm in the minus temperatures of winter - Not such an issue in the air-conditioned modern world, but a tradition worth keeping. Interestingly this bowl started off really good, then went great then back to really good - I'm not sure what this means but I usually enjoy the first few slurps the most. Thank you!

Monday, January 12, 2015

暖暮 博多中洲店 - Danbo, Fukuoka

ラーメン - Ramen

   A trip to Fukuoka wouldn't be complete without trying some Hakata ramen. Actually eating at a yatai, one of the many food stalls that dot the city in the evening, would be first on the list, but it's definitely a close race - at least for a ramen nerd. I could have done some more research but ended up going with something nearby when I was on the way out of town. Danbo was a pretty stinky place; the pork bones cooking will do that, but it goes out of your mind when the ramen comes - which thankfully does not smell.

   I just went for the standard ramen which comes another little bowl for you to get your kaedama, a second helping of noodles to help you finish your soup off. I'm not sure if it is a deliberate attempt to get you to buy more but Hakata-style ramen places always tend to be a little light on the noodles, or it could be due to their thinness. 

   Pretty good overall. It was a little on the spicy side so I would just go with the standard one rather than their spicy one. I only went here, but you're spoiled for choice in this city.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

桂花 本店 - Keika, Kumamoto

桂花ラーメン - Keika Ramen

    A few days in Kumamoto meant a sampling of the local take on ramen would be in order and a quick bit of googling led us to the Keika honten. I can't quite remember if they mentioned in the window they had been there since 1957 or 57 years, but as of 2014 it's the same thing so we're in luck. Keika also has a few shops in Tokyo, but there is nothing like the real thing. Or so they say...

   It felt like a bit of a 1950s diner inside and seemed to be a haven for those wishing to eat alone. Unfortunately it's another place where I'm wondering how close what they're serving up now is to the original recipe. Fifty-seven years is a long time for things to change and the part-timers there didn't seem to be the master craftsmen of a famous ramen shop. Either way it wasn't a bad bowl and the garlic oil mixed in with the tonkotsu soup was pretty yummy. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

東京タンメン トナリ - Tonari, Ueno

ジャージャータンメン - Jya Jya Tanmen
From the photographs you can see that it was quite a while ago that we were here. It was Tonari's special summer dish, jya jya tanmen. A few veggies and some thick, chewy noodles topped with a spicy sauce.

Not completely sure on the origins but I'm guessing it's an adaptation of a Chinese dish. We're all on the internet here so I'm sure we can find out. Anyway, you mix it together like so...

After that you're free to enjoy as much as you like.