Sunday, October 07, 2007

Japan 12: Hakata's Ramen Shop

One of the small restaurant in Fukuoka. There are many restaurants in the city centre. However, the streets seem a little quiet after office hours, for a large city. Perhaps, this area is only crowded during the working hours, and when nightfalls, another part of the city livens up. In other words, the visit to this restaurant is totally at random.

Upon entering the restaurant or rather a small eatery, there was only one other customer around. And on deciding on what to order, the menu had limited items, and with limited understanding of Japanese, it makes the choice for dinner even more limited. The kitchen and the whole restaurant was managed a single middle-aged lady and she was quite busy entertaining her, probably a regular customer. From the counter seat, the kitchen was in quite a unglamarous sight, with items in random places, dirt and dust in many places and around the seating area, probably not a sight expected from a place in Japan. So the dinner really lies in an unknown territory.

It took quite a while for dinner to be served. So while waiting, there was the television, the wondering of what the dinner might turned out to be, the staring at the middle-aged lady was doing to serve up the dinner.

塩ラーメンとバタ, ramen with seasoned soup and butter. The butter was perhaps a little too rich and overwhelming, but otherwise, this is a hearty and light bowl of noodles with good textured noodles and fresh ingredients. It was perhaps a little too little in quantity but the taste was wonderful. At 620円, it was a really good price.

The specially made miso broth was second main character for the dinner. Noodles and the ingredients matched each other well. Only one word can described it, 'heavenly'.

The shoyu flavored is the shops's specialty. One taste of this, will bring wonder how much effort did this middle-aged lady put into making this tremendous bowl of ramen. There was an indescribable depth in the broth, full of flavor, aroma, almost a blessing. At 720円, it was really worth it. It was cheaper than any proper ramen served in Singapore, but many times better. All the initial fear, worries, discrimination against this old, quiet, unkempt ramen shop were totally dismissed. An absolute true food's paradise dream coming to life.


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