Kitakata Ramen (喜多方ラーメン)

    Kitakata City, a small city in northern Japan, is known for its many ramen shops. It is the most ramen shops you will see per person in all of Japan, and also where Kitakata ramen gets its name. It is among the three most popular ramen in Japan, along with Hakata ramen and Sapporo ramen. So pick up your chopsticks and dive into this famous bowl of deliciousness. There are many type of ramen in Japan, Check here for it.

    Infomation about Kitakata Ramen

    Kitakawa ramen has a soy sauce base and matured flat noodles. The noodles are generally four millimeters wide, while being flat and curled. People usually top off this ramen with green onions, naruto (fish cakes), dried bamboo shoots, and most importantly, Chashu (roasted pork fillet) or Char Siu (Chinese BBQ Pork). The bowls have more water then other ramens which give the flat noodles a more firmer texture. The taste ranges from salty to sweet depending on how people make it. Each restaurant wants to give their own spin on the dish and in general, you can find a bowl of the ramen for fairly cheap.

    The groundwater and tap water supplied to Kitakata City contains a large amount of “Tsugamine Mountain Stream Water” of hot salt, which was selected as one of the “100 Best Waters of the Heisei Era,” making it possible to use delicious water.
    The water is used to make noodles, high-quality soy sauce and miso, pork bones, seafood, and locally grown vegetables, resulting in Kitakata Ramen with an exquisite flavor.

    History of Kitakata Ramen

    A good look at all the ingredients inside a typical Kitakata Ramen.

    Kitakata Ramen has evolved over the years with many ramen shops trying their own spin on the dish. A young Chinese man set up one of these moving stalls in Japan, selling chinese soba noodles as early as the Showa era. People say that those noodles are what Kitakata ramen was born from. The restaurants began making their own and that is where Kitakata ramen started to take form. From there, its popularity spread like wildfire.

    Kitakata ramen’s fame can trace back to its origins in Kitakata, a city known for its breweries that produced soy sauce, miso, and sake. The abundance of brewery warehouses in the city led to photographers holding exhibitions that showcased the unique architecture, which ultimately drew tourists to the area. As a result, Kitakata became known as the “city of warehouses,” and the first factor in making Kitakata ramen famous.

    While Kitakata ramen is predominantly a soy sauce-based dish, the color and flavor profile varies significantly from restaurant to restaurant. Some establishments serve salt-based broth, others use a blend of soy sauce and other flavors. No two shops are exactly alike, making each dining experience unique.

    Where is Kitakata City?

    Kitakata is a city in the northwestern part of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. It is known for its natural beauty, such as the Iide Mountain Range and the Oguni Foothills, its food culture, such as Kitakata ramen and soba noodles, and its historical buildings, such as warehouses and cultural properties. Kitakata ramen is one of the three main types of ramen in Japan, characterized by thick and curly noodles made from high quality wheat flour and water from the Iide Mountains. The soup is usually soy sauce-based and topped with sliced pork, bamboo shoots, green onions, and other ingredients. Kitakata ramen is a popular dish that can be enjoyed at various restaurants in the city.

    FAQ

    What are the ingredients for KitakataRamen?

    The most common ingredients for the ramen are chashu (pork) as the main ingredient, negi (green onion), menma (bamboo shoot), and nareta (dried young sardines).

    What kind of noodles are used for KitakataRamen?

    Kitakataramen is made with thick, soft, and curly noodles called “Hirauchi Jyukusei takasui men” ( flat-rolled, aged, multi-added water noodles).

    What is the soup of Kitakata Ramen?

    The soup is soy sauce based on pork bones and dried sardines

    Where can you enjoy a Bowl of Kitakata Ramen?

    You can head on down to Kitakata City to enjoy many bowls of Kitakata ramen. In just Kitakata City alone, there are over 100 ramen shops. The popularity of this ramen even spread out to other places around Japan too. Being one of the three famous ramen, you can find it almost anywhere. Here are a few of the places to try out.

    Genraiken

    A simple bowl at Genraiken

    This is the shop where Kitakata originated from. Rich with history, this shop was the first ramen shop in Kitakata. A young chinese man created it, and his legacy shop still stands. The soy sauce-based soup and amazing noodles with various toppings such as chicken, kelp, and vegetables will delight you. Experience the traditional Kitakata ramen here and embrace the history it has made.

    Address: 7745 Ippongi-ue Kitakata-shi Fukushima-ken
    Hours: 10:00-19:30
    Phone number: 0241-22-0091

    Makoto Shokudo

    Dig in to this bowl at Makoto Shokudo

    This Ramen here has a rarer rich soup where you can see the grease float up to the surface. This shop is famously known for Kitakata ramen and is, of course, located in Kitakata. You can even experience the good morning ramen here. It is a breakfast ramen that is becoming popular and is good for you. After you are done eating, make sure to check the bottom of the bowl. They give out prizes here to bowls that say “Atari (win)”.

    Address: 7116 Otazukimichi-shita Aza Kitakata-shi Fukushima-ken
    Hours: 7:30-15:00
    Phone number: 0241-22-0232

    Bannai Shokudo

    A beautiful and clean picture of Kitakata ramen

    Here is another popular stop for ramen lovers. The shio (salt) ramen may be what this shop is famous for, but it also excels at other ramens like the Kitakata one with their generous amount of chashus. They also serve the morning ramen, however, you may have to wait in a long line to get the chance to taste their popular bowls.

    Address: 7230 Hosoda Aza Kitakata-shi Fukushima-ken
    Hours: 7:00-18:00
    Phone number: 0241-22-0351

    Kitakataya

    Those curly noodles are a signature of Kitakata ramen

    Next we have a Kitakata ramen shop that is not in Kitakata. As this ramen’s popularity reached out, it landed a shop in Tokyo. It is known to be the first Kitakata ramen specialty shop in Tokyo. Those curly noodles are irresistible.

    Address: 3-27-3 Itabashi, Itabashi, Tokyo Prefecture
    Phone number: 81 3-3964-5874

    Menya Shichisai

    Another delicious bowl ready to be eaten

    Watch them make your food right in front of you, here at Menya Shichisai. This is another shop famous for dishing out a good bowl of Kitakata ramen. They are also not located in Kitakata, spreading the joy of this clear soup with wave noodles. Here they specialize in dried sardines broth with their soy sauce ramen. They serve freshly hand made noodles and have become popular with the tourists.

    Address: 2-13-2 Hatchobori, Chuo 104-0032, Tokyo Prefecture
    Phone number: 81 3-5566-9355
    Hours: Mon-Fri 11:00-15:30, 17:30-22:30; Sat-Sun 11:00-21:00

    Kitakata Ramen Ban nai

    The noddles are hiding within a huge layer of roast pork.

    Here is a famous ramen chain shop that has branches throughout Japan. Mostly located in the bustling city of Tokyo, it is a must try place for any ramen lover. There is even locations across the sea, which goes to show how successful they are. They put a lot of juicy roast pork on top of the famous one. It is one of the more unique kitakata ramen bowls you will find.

    One of the chains many addresses, a great local place:
    2-4-11 Kaminarimon, Taito 111-0034, Tokyo Prefecture
    Phone number: 81 3-3847-1161
    Hours: 11:00-23:00

    Conclusion

    Kitakata ramen is a type of ramen that, unlike some other types of ramen, has many characteristics. It is one of the ramen that you should try because it is available all over Japan even if you do not go to the Kitakata area.

    There are many different types of ramen in Japan. If you like, you can read other Ramen articles below.

    Tokyo Ramen:
    This is the classic soy sauce-based ramen with thin noodles and a simple broth that pork bones and chicken bones make. Some shops also stew char siu (pork slices) in soy sauce and add them to the soup. The toppings are chopped green onions, menma (bamboo shoots), and char siu. The only seasoning is pepper. This is the original form of ramen that started in Tokyo in the early 20th century.

    Shirakawa Ramen:
    This is a type of ramen from Fukushima Prefecture that has handmade noodles that are thin and straight. The soup is also soy sauce-based, but richer and darker than Kitakata Ramen. Pork bones, chicken bones, dried bonito flakes, and shiitake mushrooms make the broth. The toppings are char siu, green onions, bean sprouts, and nori (seaweed). A noodle-making master named Tora-san created this ramen in 1918.

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