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Japan Photo Tour #16: In search of perfect Ramen at Letters from Japan

Japan Photo Tour #16: In search of perfect Ramen   no comments

kana_ramen

The owner of Taisho-ken, Kanazawa

If you come to Japan, you will quickly understand that restaurants are quite different here. The typical American restaurant where you can get many kinds of dishes at one place is not the norm here. Many restaurants, in fact, only serve their own specialty. It might also surprise to you that the Japanese do not eat sushi or tempura everyday and that these are not even the most popular foods here.

The most popular food is, without question, ramen. This noodle soup of Chinese origin is everyday food for everyone. You can get it everywhere you go in Japan and it is nothing like the the 40 cent instant noodle you buy in US..

Ramen is so popular in Japan that there is even a Ramen Museum in Yokohama. Here you can sample many ramen shops that are representative of those all over Japan.

On our trip, I took the group to four different ramen restaurants: one in Tokyo, two in Kanazawa and another in Suzu.

img_4845Taisho-ken in Kanazawa is located only a few minutes from the Kanazawa Station. When I arrived in Kanazawa I asked the first taxi driver where to go for ramen in Kanazawa, and this was his recommendation. The store is simple and they only have counter seats. The young ramen chef, who is the third generation in his family’s ramen business, gave us a very warm welcome.

At this shop, there are only two different soup bases: shoyu (soy sauce) and miso. The menu is also simple: you can choose portion size and whether you want extra slow-cooked sliced pork (Cha-shu) on top of your noodles or not.

In the area of Nagasaki, there is another kind of ramen that is quite famous. Champon, which still retains the Chinese pronunciation as it is much closer to the mainland of China, is a rather unique kind of ramen. The soup base is creamy white made from seafood and a variety of vegetables. Champon also has many toppings such as shrimp, squid, fish cake, and vegetables. The soup is quite rich and the noodles are slightly thicker than the usual ramen noodle.

If you come to Japan, ramen is a food you simply cannot miss.

kyushu_ramen

Written by projectbasho on September 29th, 2008

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