Ramen Journey (Part 2)

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Ramen Journey

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Japan Hour (Synopsis Only):

Ramen Journey (Part 2)

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Our six-day ramen journey from Tokyo to Kagoshima continues, with a goal of eating 50 bowls of ramen. On the fourth day, we drive to Onomichi City in Hiroshima. For our first ramen of the day, we go to Shimizu Shokudo, which has been around since 1947. We order the local favourite, Onomichi ramen.

The soup is made from sardines caught in the Seto Inland Sea; tonkotsu, chicken and lots of vegetables are added later.

After this, we travel towards Hiroshima City, which boasts several Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki shops. We check out Kaifudo and try otafuku-okonomi sauce ramen. The base of the soup features stock made of local chicken and pork. The dish also contains pork belly which has been cooked in a special okonomi-sauce.

Next, we make our way to Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture. We go to Kanto Public Market and as Shimonoseki is famous for its fugu, we want to try fugu ramen. After asking around, we are told to go to Issunboshi. We order the Sekikko ramen, which includes fried fugu. The stock has soy milk and the soup is a broth of chicken parts.

After this, we head to Kokura in Kyushu and want to try the ramen at Muhomatsu. However, its soup is sold out so we decide it to call it a day and try our luck again the next day. Over these four days, we have tried 33 bowls of ramen. The next morning, we return to Muhomatsu. Its ramen has roasted pork chashu and wonton in it, while the clear soup is made of three kinds of tonkotsu.

From northern Kyushu, we then head westwards to Fukuoka Prefecture. Our next stop is Kurume, the birthplace of tonkotsu ramen. It was first sold in outdoor booths in 1937. After making enquiries at Kurume Station, we decide to check out Daiei Ramen, which opened in 1973. Its Yamakake ramen, which is topped with lots of grated yam, is famous. Its tonkotsu soup is made with the skull bone of Kagoshima pork.

Our next destination is Oita City and we drop by a ramen shop called Tora no Yume. We order its most popular ramen dish, which has lots of pork belly and gristle. The pork belly is first soaked in sea kelp broth and later grilled, while the meat and bone of the gristle are softened in a pressure cooker. After this, we drive to Nobeoaka City in Miyazaki Prefecture and visit ramen shop Masumoto. Its spicy noodles are very popular. The soy sauce soup has garlic, ground meat, chopped chilli peppers, egg and turnip. The jelly-like noodles are made from buckwheat added to wheat flour and go well with the rich, spicy soup. By the end of the fifth day, we have tried a total of 46 bowls of ramen.

On the sixth and final day, we leave Nobeoaka, get on the freeway and drive towards Kagoshima. At Kagoshima City, we go to the Tenmonkan shopping district, drop by Sanpei Ramen and try its original black miso ramen. It uses matured rice miso and white miso and Kagoshima-grown-black-pig soup is added to the dish. The pork is soaked for three days in the black miso.

Our final stop in this six-day ramen adventure is Makurazaki in Kagoshima. The city is famous for bonito; its haul is said to be the biggest throughout the country. We visit our last ramen restaurant, Ajihiro, where we order the bonito ramen set. The meal includes fried bonito, gyoza dumpling stuffed with bonito and bonito soup with 10 types of vegetables in it. With this, we have achieved our target of 50 bowls of ramen. During this six-day trip, we have travelled a total distance of 2,330km.

Tips:

1) Kurume is the birthplace of tonkotsu ramen
2) Makurazaki is famous for its bonito dishes


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