Ramen is a go-to food in Japan, from Cup Noodle to fresh, hand-made noodles, and Tatebayashi is no exception! There are at least three restaurants in town that we’ve been to that makes their own noodles. Our favourite is Kanemasa, which is a two-minute walk from our apartment! It’s located on the first floor of a house and run by the family. We’re always given an extra-warm welcome, because one of the daughters was Paul’s student a couple years ago!
Japanese ramen has to be one of my absolute favourite foods. There are so many different kinds of ramen you can choose – soy sauce broth, salt broth, miso broth, tonkotsu (pork-based) broth; it can be topped with chashu (tender pork), ground meat, boiled egg, leeks, cabbage, corn, enoki mushrooms, kimchi, bamboo shoots, nori (seaweed), kamaboko (white and red-pink fish cake); you can add condiments like pepper, chili powder, curry powder, even yuzu (Japanese lemon). And Hokkaido ramen in the north is different from Tokyo ramen in the central region, which is different from Kansai ramen in the south.
Basically, the variations are endless!
My favourite ramen in town is shio chashu men – salt broth (shio) with pork (chashu) noodles (men)! Paul and I have our system down – he’ll pass his bamboo shoots over to me, and he’ll polish off whatever I can’t finish (these bowls can be huge!)
Tonight we both felt too lazy to cook, so we trekked on down to Kanemasa. Paul ordered himself a tap beer, which always comes with deliciously salty tsukemono (pickled veggies). Paul doesn’t like it, I love it – it always works out!
I’ve been super full this weekend from all the eating we did yesterday, so I just ordered a gyoza set while Paul got shio chashu men.
The gyoza set came with miso soup and what I think was either pickled ginger or pickled cabbage…either way, I loved it! The Thai in me couldn’t quite figure out what to do with the rice…I only eat rice in accompaniment with something else, never on its own.
The three hand-made ramen restaurants we’ve been to in town have all been slightly different – one has thinner meat, one has thicker noodles, etc. It’s always fun to go out for ramen! If you ever come to Japan, you absolutely must find yourself some hand-made ramen!