Ok, I have a confession to make, but by clicking this article you have to promise to not hold it against me. Promise? Good, I admit it, unlike most people who have been to or lived in Japan I don’t like most Japanese food. It was a constant struggle for me at times as I disliked the vast majority of food in Japan. Yes, I’d be that guy at the bar (or restaurant) with friends desperately looking for something I enjoyed to eat on the menu.
Hmmm, ok potato fries, gyoza, ummm yeah that’s all for me. Oh we are going to a sushi bar after work? Ummm I might not be able to make it. Don’t get me wrong it’s not that I am a picky eater as I will try any new food once (e.g. balut, durian…etc) but I was just not a fan of a lot of Japanese food. That being said one food I enjoyed eating was ramen! Yes, even someone like me who rejects most Japanese food can find common ground and enjoy a nice bowl of ramen. Not that instant ramen some of us ate in college or during a stretch of unemployment but actual real ramen! You know, the kind you can purchase from an eating establishment.
Perhaps you are thinking why take my food advice based on the above? Well, I can only hope to convince you by saying if someone like me can enjoy certain types of ramen then most people should also enjoy it. Perhaps that is a weak argument but hopefully you are still intrigued to find out more. So without further ado here is one type of ramen I enjoy:
I already ate half of the bowl before realising I should take a photo of it! Yes, that is Hakata ramen (also known as tonkotsu ramen). Hakata ramen is a rich flavoured soup that has a pork base. Toppings include a slice of roasted pork, chopped green onions, pepper, pickled ginger and sesame. Yes, you could add other toppings like an egg but I prefer the toppings I listed and refuse to taint my ramen with an egg.
As I mentioned the broth is rich and is very porky (ok that’s probably not a word) flavoured. Some of you might not be able to have a lot of the broth at once which is fine. I’ve known people to water it down with water but not sure if that is breaking some unwritten ramen rule so do so at your own peril. Either way moderation is OK and after a while you will find the broth slightly addictive.
But what about the noodles? I am glad you asked as the noodles are firm but don’t let them soak in the broth too long as they will become soft and mushy (nobody likes mushy noodles!). Most places will give you a free refill on the noodles so it’s ok to wolf down the noodles and not worry about having no noodles left at the end. In fact the prices for the most part are reasonable and I paid anywhere from 500 to 700 yen for a bowl (depending on the eating venue). Spend the remaining money from the 1000 yen on a nice cold beer or…
Crispy gyoza is a great side to a bowl of ramen!
Gyoza! What did you think I was going to say? Sushi?
In conclusion, I know there are lots of types of ramen out there and variations on Hakata ramen as well. Feel free to explore the various types of ramen and share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below.
|Name||Nakasu Yatai street|
|Address||1 nakasu, hakata-ku, fukuoka-city|
|Access||[map]1 nakasu, hakata-ku, fukuoka-city[/map]|
|Opening Hours||Varied (around 18:00 - 2:00)|