2009-10-15

Restaurant #08: Ichiryuan Ramen, Sapporo



Ramen (ラーメン) is one of Japanese’s favorites. Taking hours and hours to cook its original soup makes this symbolic Japanese food an art. You see many TV programs talking about popular Ramen restaurants in Tokyo area, but I prefer Sapporo ramen. Many big cities have original style of Ramen, and people travel to find their own favorites. I am amazed how Sapporo people travel so much for delicious food. They are aggressive in a good way! Among cities in Hokkaido, Sapporo, Asahikawa, and Hakodate ramen are especially popular. Sapporo is famous for Miso taste (味噌); Asahikawa’s ramen is Shoyu (醤油: soy sauce), and Hakodate’s Shio (塩: salt).

This Ramen place, Ichiryuan, is a small noodle house, clean and neat. One lady serves and two chefs take care of the kitchen. Kitchen is in small space, and you see how they work from the counter chair you sitting. Interestingly, they only prepare 200 ramen a day; they use their limited space and keep the best quality as possible. The background music was good selection of the Beatles. Chef’s favorite!?

We came here at around 1:30pm, and ordered Shoyu Ramen (750 yen), Miso Ramen (750 yen), Lunch Set (Miso Ramen and small fried rice) (850 yen). Unfortunately, fried rice was already sold out, so instead, the chef served us Natto rice (納豆ごはん).

Shoyu Ramen

Shoyu Ramen had solid soy sauce taste; not too light, not too strong. I liked their light flavored soup, and I felt it was healthy. I didn’t feel it oily at all, like some other noodle places. Are they using seafood stock? Ingredients were different than the menu’s picture. I ordered Shoyu just because I thought I could take different pictures of Shoyu and Miso Ramen. Maybe the ingredients were already sold out due to the rush hour for lunch. Thick, rich noodle came with sprout, green onion, and grilled pork. Simple, but it is the best way to enjoy the each flavor. You see something colored brown on the pork, that is Kogashi-negi (焦がしねぎ: well cooked green onion). It gives the crispy flavor. Chinese-style barbecued pork, so-called chashu (チャーシュー), was juicy and perfect, although it was thin. I will order Chashu Ramen next time, which comes with some extra slices of thick, tender BBQ pork.

Miso Ramen

Their signature item is Miso Ramen. The ingredients are same as Shoyu (or I should say it was the same as described on the menu). I tasted the soup. Wow… Opposed to Shoyu Ramen, Miso soup had much strong, richer flavor. Both were tasty, and I loved those. Yet, now I understand the reason why their Miso Ramen became popular.

Lunch Set was supposed to be Ramen of your choice and small fried rice. As I mentioned, instead of fried rice, it came with Natto rice. The chef suggested to put Ramen soup into the rice cup. It is your choice, you can eat Natto rice as usual, or you may try to put soup and eat it together.

A very simple place, clean and quiet, and of course non-smoking. The design of their noodle balls is pretty. If you are in Sapporo and not try their Ramen yet, please try. I strongly recommend this Ichiryuan.

Total: 2350 yen (for 3 people)

Sapporo Ichiryuan, Ramen
B1F, Hokuren Bldg
Kita 4-jo Nishi 1-chome, Chuou-ku
Sapporo
011-219-3199
http://ichiryuan.com/tenpo.html

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