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Welcome to Japan's northern most city here in Hokkaido ー Asahikawa
I stopped here on my cross-country hitchhiking trip for one reason in particular Ramen
Asahikawa Ramen is very famous but I'm not sure what makes this place different from Sapporo Ramen
and any of the other Ramen around Japan
Fukuoka's Hakata Ramen is famous for "Tonkotsu", thick pork bone broth
very filling and very good
Sapporo Ramen nearby is known for Miso Ramen
slightly nutty and sweet thick but not too heavy
the Miso is added to different soups stuff depending on the store
Sapporo Ramen typically uses yellow egg noodles
and Asahikawa Ramen? welcome to the world of "Shouyu", soy sauce Ramen
like the others it's found everywhere in Japan
but many argue Asahikawa does it best
so where exactly is this Shouyu Ramen paradise?
We'll have to head to Hokkaido in Japan's north city of Asahikawa
It's a 3 hour drive from Sapporo next to "Daisetuzan National Park" meaning
the city has some of the cleanest water in the country
Asahikawa is easy to navigate with a perfect grid system
We'll visit "Baikoken", "Aoba" and "Tenkin"
so get ready for some slurping
a lot of famous Ramen shops in Asahikawa are right around the station area
Our first Ramen shop is along the shopping street
So I got a map at the tourist office that lists all of the Ramen places in Asahikawa around the station
this one right here is also the one that I went to 14 years ago last time in Asahikawa so
let's try that first
Yeah I've been here before so I know what I'm getting into
Welcome to "Baikoken" Ramen's main shop.
At lunch be ready to queue up, it's famous
the kitchen is busy with non-stop chefs at peak times serving mighty bowls of Shouyu Ramen
I was last here in 2003 during my first hitchhiking trip across Japan
Now I'm back for my second bowl and I'm sure the taste hasn't changed a bit
"Baikoken" is the classical bowl of Shouyu Ramen
There are no hidden bells and whistles with this bowl
Unless of course you order a topping like "Ajitama"
That delicious half boiled egg that I can never pass up
You can see the Shouyu Ramen is lighter than "Tonkotsu" and "Miso"
just the right amount of oil to load up that richness
"Baikoken" uses wavy noodles that collect more of the salty soy sauce broth
It hasn't changed in 14 years, For ol' faithful, complete!
I moved on to Aoba which was just a minute away from Baikoken
It came highly recommended to me by a friend
the owner let me eat during his break to avoid the lines
They're all the kinds of Ramen on the menu
but come on! we've come here for Shouyu Ramen exclusively
Aoba uses straight noodles, a healthy piece of "Cha-shu" pork steak
the winking octopus on the "Nori" seaweed a nice touch
This "Shouyu" soup is perfectly balanced
The atmosphere at Aoba is authentic
that the family feel of it all added to the flavor which is
simple chicken and pork based stuff with soy sauce, light, salty and also good
by far one of the friendliest place
I've ever visited with a long history
The Murayama family has run Aoba for three generations
Here is the founder
His son is the second generation chef and
Now his son "Yu-ichi" who's behind the counter today
I was in China until the 5th grade of an elementary school
In Beijin
When the war was over, I returned to Japan together with my grandparents
and started this shop in 1947 and this year we celebrate the 70th aniversary
My son has succeed this shop as the third generation owner
Can you still keep the same good taste as that of the 70 years ago?
The shop's good taste is in the decades of cosistency
"Aoba" is one place simply can't miss when visiting Asahikawa
but it's not the last place on this tour of Ramen
so not far away from "Aoba" is a "Tenkin", another really famous place in Asahikawa
I can eat one more "Tenkin" is a five minute walk from "Aoba"
This shop is consistently at the top of Ramen critics and reviewers lists
which explains this line took an hour to get in
waiting just makes you hungrier
many celebrities' been here
''Tenkin''s ramen is no longer secret
I got to "Shouyu" Ramen with a side of gyoza
right away I could see the attraction, the soup
I had a lot of oil the temperature of Asahikawa in winter is well below zero
so it said extra lard keeps the soup hot for a longer time
It's like insulation
there's a lot of good stuff in there too
and the taste? Divine
but I couldn't get over that broth
it reminded me of Van Gogh's masterpiece, The Starry Night
a galaxy of flavor swiring on the canvas
or bowl! ..if you're at "Tenkin"
So there you have it! Asahikawa is soy sauce ramen paradise
Where you get an amazing bowl just about anywhere you go
So try them all! These three shops are excellent starting points
the big and delicious world, that is Asahikawa Shouyu Ramen
Next time, Tokyo or a side of it that you're never seen before
This is Aogashima, an island that reminds me of Jurassic Park
Minus the Velociraptors of course
the venture starts with a helicopter ride before descending into the jungle around the volcano
inside another volcano
in other words, adventure of a lifetime
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ラーメンバトル in 旭川(Ramen Battle in Asahikawa ★ ONLY in JAPAN)

44 Folder Collection
ayami published on November 19, 2019
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