Kitakata Ramen : One of Japan’s 3 Most Famous Local Ramen
“Ramen (ラーメン)” is the quintessential Japanese noodle dish and becoming popular in many countries.
Ramen comes in many types and flavors, and there are many varieties of local ramen in Japan. Besides, newly created flavors are coming out one after another.
Even among those, especially “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 known as the Japan’s 3 most famous (best) local ramen.
Although Hakata ramen and Sapporo ramen are well-known outside of Japan thanks to famous Japanese ramen chains running overseas branches, I think Kitakata ramen is less famous than them.
Therefore, today I will talk about Kitakata ramen in detail.
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
Kitakata ramen is a local ramen specialty of the city of Kitakata, Fukushima Prefecture.
Typically, Kitakata ramen has a soy-sauce-based soup broth made with pork bones. The broth is clear in color and light in taste.
However, the soup base varies depending on each shop, so some Kitakata ramen specialty shops make their broth by blending the soup stock made with pork bones and the one taken from dried small sardines.
Additionally, some shops offer salt-based or miso-based Kitakata ramen.
The noodles are soft in texture and thick in diameter, 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.
Famous Kitakata Ramen Shops
Although there are many popular ramen shops in the city of Kitakata, the following 4 Kitakata ramen shops are especially famous with a long history.
Bannai Shokudo (坂内食堂)
Image : minkara.carview.co.jp
I think that Bannai Shokudo is the most famous Kitakata ramen shop in Japan, because its cooperative franchise ramen chains, 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 ramen restaurants around the country.
Therefore, it is relatively easy to find their restaurants in each area of Japan, where you can enjoy authentic Kitakata ramen. By the way, Bannai Shokudo’s Kitakata ramen is salt-based.
- Address : Hosoda 7230, Kitakata, Fukushima Prefecture (MAP)
- Open : 7:00 to 18:00
- Closed : Thursdays
Image : livedoor Blog Mackeyiro
Genraiken opened its shop in the end of the Taisho period (Taisho : 1912 to 1926). It is said that Kitakata ramen originated in Genraiken, so its ramen has a good-old taste. The curly noodles are home-made and have a pleasant chewy texture, while the soup broth has a gentle soy sauce flavor.
- Address : Ippongi-ue 7745, Kitakata, Fukushima Prefecture (MAP)
- Open : 10:00 to 19:30
- Closed : Tuesdays
Makoto Shokudo (まこと食堂)
Image : serow225.fc2web.com
Mokoto Shokudo is a Kitakata ramen specialty shop with about 70 years of history and is one of the most popular ramen shops in the city of Kitakata, together with Bannai Shokudo. Unlike Bannai Shokudo, Makoto Shokudo is popular for its soy-sauce-based Kitakata ramen.
- Address : Otaduki-michishita 7116, Kitakata, Fukushima Prefecture (MAP)
- Open : 7:30 to 15:00
- Closed : Mondays
Image : kobe-puku19.at.webry.info
Maruya opened its shop in 1954. The owner was the first chairman of the Kitakata ramen shops’ association “Roumenkai (老麺会)”, which was established in 1987. You can enjoy an authentic bowl of Kitakata ramen from the old days at Maruya.
- Address : Tera-minami 2628, Kitakata, Fukushima Prefecture (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 )