Kurume Ramen: The Origin of Tonkotsu Ramen
Do you know “Hakata Ippudo (博多 一風堂)”?
Ippudo is a Japanese ramen chain with branches overseas, which offers Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen, or Hakata-style pork bone broth noodle soup, simply called “Hakata Ramen (博多ラーメン)”.
Hakata Ramen, together with “Sapporo Miso Ramen (札幌味噌ラーメン)” and “Kitakata Ramen (喜多方ラーメン)“, is generally known as one of Japan’s 3 Major Local Ramen.
Hakata is actually the name of a city in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. Although Hakata is very famous for its Tonkotsu Ramen, the birthplace of Tonkotsu Ramen isn’t the city.
Kurume Ramen (久留米ラーメン)
Have you ever heard of “Kurume Ramen (久留米ラーメン)”? which is the Kurume-style Tonkotsu Ramen that originated in Kurume, a city also located in Fukuoka Prefecture on Kyushu Island.
The Tonkotsu Ramen isn’t well recognized both inside and outside of Japan, but pork bone broth ramen has its roots in the local ramen.
Nankin Senryo (南京千両)
Tonkotsu Ramen served at Nankin Senryo
The originator of Tonkotsu Ramen still exists in the city of Kurume, whose name is “Nankin Senryo (南京千両)” opened in 1937.
From there, the Kurume-style Tonkotsu Ramen was introduced to other local areas of the Kyushu except for Kagoshima Prefecture and influenced their local ramen.
Address: 1357-15 Nonaka-Machi, Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture (MAP)
Open: 11:30 to 22:00
Closed: Second Monday
The taste of Tonkotsu Ramen offered in Kurume varies depending on the restaurant, but in general, Kurume Ramen has the following characteristics.
The broth is thick and typically has a strong smell from pork bones. But it varies widely, and some ramen shops provide even light-tasting pork bone broth.
The noodles are straight. They are firm and thick compared to Hakata Ramen.
The topping for Kurume Ramen is almost the same as Hakata Ramen, typically including cloud ear mushrooms, sliced Chashu pork, and scallions.
The soup is often garnished with dry nori seaweed sheets, but unlike Kumamoto Ramen, it doesn’t use fried garlic chips or black garlic oil.
Popular Ramen Restaurants
As I mentioned above, “Nankin Senryo (南京千両)” is a ramen shop that represents Kurume Ramen. In addition, these are popular ramen restaurants in Kurume.
Taiho Ramen (大砲ラーメン)
Taiho Ramen is a ramen chain offering authentic Kurume-style Tonkotsu Ramen. Their restaurants were listed in the 2014 edition of the Michelin guide to Fukuoka and Saga.
Address: 11-8 Torihoka-Machi, Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture (MAP)
Open: 11:00 to 21:00
Closed: New Year’s Day
Maruboshi Chuka Soba Center (丸星中華そばセンター)
Maruboshi Chuka Soba Center is a long-established ramen shop in Kurume that opens 24 hours, offering Tonkotsu Ramen at an affordable price, loved by locals.
Address: 2-7-27 Takano, Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture (MAP)
Open 24 hours
Closed: Second and Fourth Thursdays
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 久留米ラーメン )