Wakayama Ramen: A Regional Ramen in Japan
Ramen is the quintessential Japanese noodle dish that is widely enjoyed in many countries around the world and comes in many variations and countless varieties.
For example, when it comes to regional ramen, it is generally said that Sapporo Miso Ramen, Kitakata Ramen, and Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen are Japan’s 3 major ramen.
Like this, each region of Japan has its own specialty ramen. Among those, there is one called “Wakayama Ramen (和歌山ラーメン)” that sparked the local ramen boom, about which I will talk today.
Wakayama Ramen (和歌山ラーメン)
As its name indicates, Wakayama Ramen is a specialty ramen noodle soup of Wakayama Prefecture. Especially, the city of Wakayama is the center of the ramen style.
In general, Wakayama Ramen has a Tonkotsu Shoyu flavor, which is further divided into 2 types; one whose broth is made by cooking pork bones in a pot of soy sauce, and the other where pork bones are simmered in a pot until the gelatin melts and then the creamy thick soup is flavored with soy sauce.
The noodles are straight, thin, and yellow in color, and typical toppings include “Menma (メンマ)” bamboo shoots, “Chashu (チャーシュー)” roasted pork slices, chopped green onions, and “Kamaboko (蒲鉾)” fish paste.
The ramen noodle soup served at ramen shops in Wakayama is generally called “Chuka Soba (中華そば)” or simply “Chuka (中華)”.
The amount of noodles in Wakayama Ramen is small compared to other regional ramens because many customers eat fermented mackerel sushi called “Hayazushi (早寿司)” with the Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen.
This custom of eating ramen and sushi together can’t be found in other regions. Besides, you can also see boiled eggs placed on the table at most ramen restaurants in Wakayama.
As I mentioned above, there are 2 types of noodle soups in Wakayama Ramen, and here are the ramen shops that represent each type.
Marutaka is the quintessential ramen shop that offers the Wakayama Ramen whose broth is made by cooking pork bones in soy sauce. The ramen isn’t heavy for its appearance, rather mild with plenty of umami from pork bones.
- Address: 2-50 Tomoda-Cho, Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture (MAP)
- Open: 17:30 to 3:00
- Closed: Sundays
Ide Shoten (井出商店)
Ide Shoten is the quintessential ramen shop that offers the Wakayama Ramen with the latter type broth. The ramen has a somewhat heavy taste compared to the former but is not greasy.
- Address: 4-84 Tanaka-Cho, Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture (MAP)
- Open: 11:30 to 23:30
- Closed: Thursdays
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 和歌山ラーメン )