Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Best Ramen In Town

I had ramen twice for my lunch for the past two days - one was with my Japanese classmates and the other was when I went out shopping over the weekends. Perhaps it was a coincidence that my Japanese tutor asked me whether I would like to join him for a ramen meal last Saturday when I had been thinking of eating it lately. I don't know why but I seem to have a sudden crave for Japanese food for the past few weeks. Maybe I know that I will be going back in a matter of days and I will be missing Japanese food for several weeks.

One good thing about going out to have a Japanese meal with your Japanese friends is that you get to go to the places which are well-known for a particular food. Take this ramen trip with my tutor and two other Japanese classmates for example. It is said that this いち丼 (Ichidon) serves the best ramen in Nagaoka. I wondered how true it was until I saw the people lining up outside the restaurant under the hot summer sun.

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They do this just for a bowl of ramen.

It took us more than half an hour waiting outside before we got to enter the restaurant. Despite so, we still made to wait for a several minutes inside before we were called to out tables after buying the food coupon form the vending machine at the entrance. And while waiting for our names to be called, I sat on a little chair, which I supposed is more suitable for Doraemon to sit on. I am kind to the manager of the restaurant because I managed to get up from the chair without breaking it. But obviously, that chair is meant for small kids only.


Taken using Tanaka's handphone, which explains the small size of the picture.

One difference I could point out from this restaurant from other restaurant in Japan is that they serve iced tea, instead of iced water to the customers before the main meal arrives. Our wait under the hot sun for almost one hour earlier was certainly a worthwhile one because when I had my first bite on the barbecue (char siew) pork, it was heaven. It is no doubt the best that I have ever tasted for all my time in Japan. They managed to get just the right combination for the pork as the flavour is neither too heavy nor tasteless. The meat was soft and tender, and the juiciness could be felt with every bite.

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A perfect bowl of shio (salt) ramen.

In my honest opinion, it is the char siew which makes the ramen here being such a hit among the locals because the noodles is actually a tad below average. But the char siew balance everything and I will surely return for another bowl of ramen in the future. Another thing about the ramen here is that they add some other ingredients which we do not always get at other places, such as fried onions, black Chinese fungus, and some leaves to give the noodle some fragant aroma.

That certainly gives the three types of ramen I have had before in Hokkaido during my last summer trip last year a run for their money.

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Musashi - there is another place with the same name in my place, but that is a hardware store.

The next day, I went to another ramen restaurant called Musashi for my lunch. I actually came to this restaurant once with my tutor sometime last year as our exams had just ended back then. I knew I cannot expect the same standard of ramen like what I just had the day before, but my craving was still there and I decided to have another bowl of ramen. The restaurant was full and I had no choice but to wait around fifteen minutes before I was called in. While waiting outside, I notice this interesting notice put up on the wall.

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It says the price of an extra big bowl of noodle is the same as the normal sized one for a certain period of time.

At the bottom of the notice, I saw this catchy line.

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"Any leftover of noodles will make the boss sad".

I guess this is a good way to tell the customers to finish their noodle if they order the extra big sized bowl although no extra charges will be charged to customers who fail to finish them. But in some ways, I feel that it is a good way to tell the customers not to order the extra big sized bowl of noodle just because both are of the same price, if they cannot finish them to avoid any wastage. If there is such promotion in Malaysia, I bet nine out of ten times we people will order the extra big sized noodle just because we are simply kiasu. Order as much as possible first, but whether we can finish it up or not, that will be another story.

Typical Malaysian way of thinking, eh?

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The interior of the restaurant has a good ambiance for having a meal there.

I ordered a bowl of からし味噌チャーシュー (Karashi miso char siew) and just like my initial expectations, the char siew was a far cry from the char siew I had a day before. But the chilly paste makes the gravy a little spicy and it just suited my taste bud perfectly. But I am afraid that it could bit too spicy for the Japanese. Overall, it was not bad and I actually asked whether I could order extra noodle halfway through my meal. Unfortunately, it is not allowed and I just had to settle with the remaining few pieces of char siew in my bowl.

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The chilly paste looks like sambal, but it is not that hot.

My next mission would be to try a bowl of ramen in Malaysia.


Endoru said...

I miss Kumamoto Ramen a lot. But, the two bowls you've featured here looks tempting enough for me. I doubt you can find good ramen at home for Koay Teow soup would be far much better. *hehe*

calvin said...

@ endoru:
yes, i would love to try kumamoto ramen in the future. well, once we are back home, who would still want to take japanese food when there are so many varieties of local food on offer =D

mg said...

but u mentioned that u wanted to try a bowl of ramen in msia? that round thingy is called naruto. hehe..

totally agree with u about the free size up in msia.

K3ViN said...

ohhh my...... hungry lioa...... look sooo yummy nia

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
yes, i will try at least once in malaysia. by the way, which round thingy?

calvin said...

@ k3vin:
yes, they taste really good :)

Kae Vin said...

Haih...i m tired of saying "I wanna eat" in ur blog

mg said...

the prawn cake i think? lol

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
sorry to say that my blog is not for consumption xD

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
yes, that is the japanese version of fishcake :)