Kitakata Ramen: A Famous Local Ramen in Japan
“Ramen (ラーメン)” is a quintessential Japanese noodle soup that comes in various flavors and countless varieties, and many regions of Japan have their own ramen, which includes Kumamoto ramen and Taiwan ramen.
Among such regional ramens, “Kitakata ramen (喜多方ラーメン)”, “Sapporo ramen (札幌ラーメン)”, and “Hakata ramen (博多ラーメン)” are generally known as Japan’s 3 major (best) local ramen.
Although Hakata ramen and Sapporo ramen are relatively well-recognized even outside of Japan thanks to popular Japanese ramen restaurant chains running overseas branches, Kitakata ramen seems to be less famous.
Kitakata Ramen (喜多方ラーメン)
Source: Youtube しのぎを削る喜多方ラーメン店
Therefore, today I will talk about Kitakata ramen in detail. As its name indicates, Kitakata ramen is a specialty of the city Kitakata, Fukushima Prefecture.
Kitakata ramen typically has a soy-sauce-based broth made with pork bones, which is clear in color and light in taste.
However, the base varies depending on each shop and some make their broth by blending the stock made from pork bones with the one from Niboshi or dried young sardines.
Not only that, but some Kitakata ramen specialty shops even offer salt-based or miso-based Kitakata ramen.
The noodles of Kitakata ramen are soft and thick, about 4mm in width. Besides, they are distinctively curly.
Typical toppings for Kitakata ramen include roast pork slices “Chashu (チャーシュー)”, processed bamboo shoots “Menma (メンマ)”, thinly sliced fish cake “Naruto(ナルト)”, and chopped green onions.
In the city of Kitakata, many ramen shops can be found, but the following 4 are especially famous with a long history.
Bannai Shokudo (坂内食堂)
I think that Bannai Shokudo is the most famous Kitakata ramen specialty shop in Japan, because its franchise restaurants, such as “Kitakata Ramen Bannai (喜多方ラーメン坂内)” and “Kitakata Ramen Koboshi (喜多方ラーメン小法師)”, have a lot of branches around the country.
Thus, it is relatively easy to find the branches in each area of Japan, where you can enjoy authentic salt-based Kitakata ramen.
- Address: Hosoda 7230, Kitakata, Fukushima Prefecture (MAP)
- Open: 7:00 to 18:00
- Closed: Thursdays
Image: Livedoor Blog Mackeyiro
Known as the birthplace of Kitakata ramen, Genraiken was opened in the late Taisho period (Taisho: 1912 to 1926). The curly noodles are home-made and have a pleasantly chewy texture, while the soup broth has a gentle soy sauce flavor.
- Address: Ippongi-Ue 7745, Kitakata, Fukushima (MAP)
- Open: 10:00 to 19:30
- Closed: Tuesdays
Makoto Shokudo (まこと食堂)
With about 70 years of history, Makoto Shokudo is now one of the most popular ramen restaurants in the city of Kitakata, together with Bannai Shokudo. Makoto Shokudo is renowned for its delicious soy-sauce-flavored Kitakata ramen.
- Address: Otaduki-Michishita 7116, Kitakata, Fukushima (MAP)
- Open: 7:30 to 15:00
- Closed: Mondays
Maruya opened its shop in 1954. The owner was the first chairman of the Kitakata ramen association “Roumenkai (老麺会)”, which was established in 1987. You can enjoy a tasty, authentic bowl of Kitakata ramen from the old days at Maruya.
- Address: Tera-Minami 2628, Kitakata, Fukushima (MAP)
- Open: 11:00 to 15:00, 17:00 to 19:00 (Saturday and Sunday: 11:00 to 19:00)
- Closed: Tuesdays
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 喜多方ラーメン )