If you talk about the gourmet in Fukushima, it is nothing but the Kitakata Ramen!
It is close to you now, as the franchise shops are in many places in Japan, aren’t they?
In Kitakata, there is a culture called “Asa-ra”. It means that people love Ramen for their breakfast. The number of Ramen-shops in Kitakata as against its population is the highest in Japan.
That shows you their love towards the Ramen.
When we chose the Ramen shops to introduce to you, the Fukushika Trip editorial department split in two over our opinions. After all, we decided to introduce you to the characteristics of the Kitakata Ramen and “Talking of the Kitakata Ramen”.
The characteristics of the Kitakata Ramen
The Kitakata Ramen originated from the long term established Ramen shop, “Genrai-ken”.
It started as the “Chinese noodle” at the stand in the early Showa-era.
The number of people who learned how to cook the “Chinese noodle” increased and Kitakakta has become the Japan No.1 Ramen town in terms of the number of the Ramen shops. The “Kurano-machi (the town of storehouses) Kitakata Roman-kai(the old noodle society)” is a group which is aiming to develop the Ramen technique and tradition.
The Ramen shops in Kitakata consist of the real craftsmen who are pursuing the tasty Kitakata Ramen.
The characteristics of the noodle
The noodle is thick, flat and frizzy. It contains more water than other noodles, so that it gives you a smooth, chewy tongue-feeling. The soup sticks to the noodles very well, as they are thick.
It is really tasty!
The characteristics of the soup
The orthodox soup is the simple soy-taste one.
You may think, “Is every shop providing the simple taste noodle? It sounds boring.”
Don’t worry. Every shop has their individuality.
The soup-stock is made from the tonkotsu(pork-bone), the torigara (chiken bone) and the gyokai(fish and shell), depending on the shop. People in Kitakata choose a shop for their favourite taste. Therefore the opinions are split over one’s favourite Ramen shop.
The characteristics of the ingredients
The chashu(roasted pork fillet) is essential in the Kitakata Ramen. The taste differs depending on the shop, but basically the ingredient is kakuni(braised square simmered pork) or baraniku(stewed pork). It varies from a melty one to a strong taste one. The other toppings are menma(fermented bamboo shoot), naruto(ground fish) or negi(leak).
The 5 representative Kitakata Ramen shops
This is, as formerly stated, the original Kitakata Ramen shop and it never changes the style of cooking. Compared to the recent Ramen in fashion, it is really simple but has the weight of years!
The soy-sauce taste Ramen is based on torigara(chicken bone) soup and it tastes simple, but rich. You should eat it with gratitude for the development of the Kitakata Ramen.
Address: 7745 Ippongi-ue Kitakata-shi Fukushima-ken
Time: 10:00 – 19:30
2. Shokudo Namae
This shop is famous for the hand-made thickest noodle. As the name shows, the thickest noodle is takasui(with more water)noodles, so that it is smooth and chewy. The soup is based on tonkotsu(pork bone) soy-sauce taste. The clear soup is lightly salted to drink up without knowing. The balance of the soup and the noodle is very good.
Address: 7693-3 Eikyu Aza Kitakata-shi Fukushima-ken
3. Makoto Shokudo
This shop is one of the most famous in Kitakata. You can have the Ramen (Asa-ra) from morning here.
It is said that the soy-sauce based Ramen indicates the Makoto Shokudo Ramen.
The soy-sauce Ramen is so popular. Usually the Kitakata Ramen has a simple taste, but the Makoto Shokudo Ramen has the rare rich soup and the grease floats on the surface of the soup. Having said that, it is not too greasy and it only makes soup rich.
When you finish your Ramen, don’t forget to check the bottom of the bowl. You can get a prize, if “Atari (Win)” is written on it.
Address: 7116 Otazukimichi-shita Aza Kitakata-shi Fukushima-ken
4. Bannai Shokudo
Next, we’ll introduce you to the head-shop of Sakauchi Shokudo which has the franchise nation-wide. This shop is famous for shio(salt) Ramen. You can have the Ramen in the morning like in the Makoto Shokudo, but there is sometimes a long queue even in the morning, as it is so famous.
The orthodox noodle in this shop is the special chashu
(roasted pork fillet) with the clear soup. The Ramen with a lot of these chashus is very popular. Even some people who are fussy about Ramen say “This shop is really special.”
Why don’t you try it?
Address: 7230 Hosoda Aza Kitakata-shi Fukushima-ken
This shop is also famous. The soup is made of niboshi(dried fish). The chewy noodle with melty chashu is the real Kitakata Ramen. On the weekdays, they hang the green noren (split curtain) at the entrance of the shop, but on Sundays, they change it to the black one.
You can have “the limited number of dip noodle” only on Sundays. Don’t miss it.
Address: 6 Oarai Oiizaka Matsuyama-machi Kitakata-shi Fukushima-ken
Most Kitakata Ramen shops charge very reasonable prices (￥600－￥700) in spite of their wonderful taste. It is too cheap for its quality. You can visit one shop after another to enjoy
the Kitakata Ramen.
There are more than 120 shops apart from those 5 shops. It may be interesting for you to find your favourite shop.
When you visit Kitakata, never miss trying it! Well, I’m starving now after writing all about Kitakata Ramen.