Kumamoto Ramen: A Regional Tonkotsu Ramen in Japan
Have you ever eaten “Tonkotsu Ramen (豚骨ラーメン: ramen with pork bone broth)”? Speaking of Tonkotsu Ramen, the Japanese ramen restaurant chain that was founded in Hakata, Fukuoka Prefecture, Hakata Ippudo is probably one of the most popular ramen shops offering the pork bone broth ramen in the world.
Although it is generally said that Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen, together with Sapporo Miso Ramen and Kitakata Ramen, is one of Japan’s 3 major regional ramens, it isn’t well-known that the birthplace of Tonkotsu Ramen is “Nankin Senryo (南京千両)“, a ramen restaurant located in the city of Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture.
Actually, from Kurume, the pork bone broth ramen was introduced into other areas of the Kyushu district, including Hakata, Kumamoto, and Saga, and had an influence on various local Tonkotsu Ramens in Japan.
Kumamoto Ramen (熊本ラーメン)
Among such Tonkotsu Ramen noodle soups, Kumamoto Ramen is one of the best-recognized regional ramens in Japan. In fact, since there are a lot of Kumamoto Ramen specialty shops and instant noodles that are loved by ramen fans, today let me talk about the pork bone broth ramen in detail. First of all, here are its main characteristics.
Many ramen restaurants in Kumamoto use pork and chicken bones to make the broth, but some only use pork bones. Additionally, fried garlic chips and black garlic oil called “Ma-Yu (マー油)” are commonly added to the broth. In general, the soup of Kumamoto Ramen is said to be mild compared to that of Hakata Ramen.
Many ramen restaurants in Kumamoto offer medium-thick straight noodles with low moisture content and boil them a little bit hard.
Typical garnishes for Kumamoto Ramen include seasoned boiled eggs, Chashu roast pork slices, Menma bamboo shoots, cloud ear mushrooms, chopped green onions, bean sprouts, and sheets of Nori seaweed.
Next, here are 3 ramen restaurants especially famous for their Kumamoto Ramen.
Komurasaki is one of the ramen shops that are considered the originator of Kumamoto Ramen, which was opened in 1954. Komurasaki has a branch in Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture.
Shop Information: Komurasaki, Kamidori-Chuo Branch (こむらさき 上通中央店)
- Address: 8-16 Kamidori-machi, Chuo-Ku, Kumamoto (MAP)
- Open: 11:00 am – 16:00 pm (Last call: 15:30 pm), 18:00 pm – 22:00 pm (Last call: 21:30 pm)
- Closed: Year-end and New Year holidays
Having been opened in 1957, Kokutei is one of the most popular ramen restaurants in the city of Kumamoto. In fact, in popularity contests, it has been chosen as one of Kumamoto’s top ramen shops many times.
Shop Information: Kokutei (黒亭)
- Address: 2-1-23 Nihongi, Nishi-Ku, Kumamoto (MAP)
- Open: 10:30 am – 20:30 pm (Last call)
- Closed: Third Thursdays
Keika Ramen (桂花ラーメン)
With branches in Tokyo, Keika Ramen is a popular Kumamoto Ramen restaurant chain. The pork bone broth ramen is topped with large-sized garnishes, and especially the Chashu pork has a good reputation because the roasted pork slice is so tender that it melts in the mouth.
Shop Information: Keika Ramen Main Shop (桂花ラーメン 本店)
- Address: K-1 Building, 11-9 Hanabata-Cho, Chuo-Ku, Kumamoto (MAP)
- Open: (Mon. – Thu.) 11:00 am – 23:45 pm (Last call), (Fri. Sat.) 11:00 am – 1:45 am (Last call), (Sun.) 11:00 am – 20:00 pm (Last call)
Lastly, when it comes to instant noodles, a packaged instant Kumamoto Ramen had been unavailable on Amazon Japan until recently because of its great popularity, and it is “Kumamoto Mokkosu Ramen (熊本もっこすラーメン)“. Now, it can be bought on some online shopping sites and has been given high ratings on Amazon Japan.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 熊本ラーメン )