5 Major Types of Niigata Ramen
Ramen is quintessential Japanese comfort food that now has become popular not only in Japan but also in many countries around the world.
When it comes to the variety, many regions of Japan have their own local ramen, among which Sapporo Ramen, Kitakata Ramen, and Hakata Ramen are generally known as Japan’s 3 Major Local Ramen.
Niigata Ramen (新潟ラーメン)
As for the prefecture where I live, Niigata, there are 5 major types of ramen here, which we call, as a whole, “Niigata Ramen (新潟ラーメン)”.
And today, for people who have not heard of Niigata Ramen before, I will give you an overview of each of the 5 major types.
1. Niigata Assari Shoyu Ramen (新潟あっさり醤油ラーメン)
First off, Niigata Assari Shoyu Ramen, literally Niigata Light Soy Sauce Ramen, is a major type of Niigata Ramen that can be enjoyed in and around the city of Niigata.
This Niigata Ramen uses thin, curly noodles and is characterized by its light soy sauce-based broth with Niboshi flavor to it.
This type has its roots in a bowl of ramen served by street food stalls in the early Showa period (Showa: 1926 to 1989), and Sankichiya is a well-established ramen shop that represents this type.
Address: 5-829 Nishibori-Dori, Chuo-Ku, Niigata City, Niigata Pref. (MAP)
Open: 11:00 to 16:00, 17:00 to 19:00
2. Niigata Noukou Miso Ramen (新潟濃厚味噌ラーメン)
Niigata Noukou Miso Ramen, literally Niigata Rich Miso Ramen, is a major type of Niigata Ramen that has been enjoyed through generations in and around the city of Niigata.
Topped with plenty of vegetables, this type consists of extremely thick wheat noodles in rich miso-flavored broth and accompanies a bowl of soup stock to dilute the taste of the ramen soup.
And Komadori is a nationally famous ramen restaurant that represents this type.
Address: 2454-1 Takeno-Machi, Nishikan-Ku, Niigata City, Niigata Pref. (MAP)
Open: (Weekdays) 11:00 to 16:30, 16:30 to 21:00 (Saturday) 11:00 to 21:00 (Sunday) 11:00 to 19:00
3. Tsubame Sanjo Seabura Ramen (燕三条背脂ラーメン)
Tsubame Sanjo Seabura Ramen, literally Tsubame Sanjo Backfat Ramen, is a major type of Niigata Ramen that originated around the cities of Sanjo and Tsubame.
This type consists of extremely thick noodles in soy-sauce-based flavorful Niboshi soup.
The main characteristic of this Niigata Ramen is quite a lot of pork backfat covering the surface of the soup, and one of the representative ramen restaurants of this type is Shumentei Jun.
Shumentei Jun (酒麺亭 潤)
Address: 464-12 Komaki, Tsubame City, Niigata Pref. (MAP)
Open: (Weekdays) 11:00 to 15:00, 17:00 to 23:00 (Saturday and Sunday) 11:00 to 23:00
Closed: Tuesdays and Second Monday
4. Nagaoka Shoga Shoyu Ramen (長岡生姜醤油ラーメン)
Nagaoka Shoga Shoyu Ramen, literally Nagaoka Ginger Soy Sauce Ramen, is a major type of Niigata Ramen that has long been loved in and around the city of Nagaoka.
This type of Niigata Ramen is characterized by its deep-tasting, soy sauce-flavored soup, accompanied by a subtle fragrance of ginger, and the originator of the ginger ramen is Aoshima Shokudo.
Aoshima Shokudo (青島食堂)
Address: 3-5-3 Miyauchi, Nagaoka City, Niigata Pref. (MAP)
Open: 11:00 to 20:00
Closed: Third Wednesday
5. Sanjo Curry Ramen (三条カレーラーメン)
Sanjo Curry Ramen is a major type of Niigata Ramen that can be enjoyed in and around the city of Sanjo.
As its name indicates, this Niigata Ramen has a deep flavor of curry that comes from several kinds of spices, the savory umami of chicken, and rice powder used in the soup.
It is said that Sanjo Curry Ramen has the longest history of all curry-flavored ramen, of over 70 years, and Ryushouen is one of the ramen restaurants that sparked the curry ramen boom.
Address: 12-11 Motomachi, Sanjo City, Niigata Pref. (MAP)
Open: (Tuesday to Saturday) 11:00 to 14:30, 17:00 to 22:00 (Sunday) 11:00 to 15:00, 17:00 to 22:00