Last week we slurped our way through the Tokyo Ramen Show! This year it celebrated its 10th anniversary, lasted for 11 days, and featured 36 different types of ramen from all over Japan.
With that said, we raise our glorious bowls of noods in a toast to the most delicious event of the year!
We came prepared with empty stomachs, high expectations, and the hopes of finding the ramen of our dreams.
Our strategy? To conquer through diversification, we would try 3 different types of ramen from 3 regions of Japan.
First up, was a classic Tonkotsu Ramen from Fukuoka. We started with a basic tonkotsu ramen to ease ourselves into the fest and pay tribute to the original. It featured all the beloved toppings of two succulent slabs of pork, green onions, seaweed, and a perfectly cooked egg leaking savory orange delight.
After waiting in line, we picked up our ramen and it the smell instantly penetrated our noses with a stink resembling reaking socks, something we were unprepared for at 10:00 am when we started our quest for ramen. However, once this beautifully smelly broth made contact with our tongues, we were gleefully swimming in the delicious flavors of thick and rich aging pork. The pork was paired with thin noodles and a thick sauce-like broth that glistened in the sunlight.
The Tonkotsu was a great start, but we were eager to wander into the unknown and try something a bit different. That’s when we made eye contact with the poster of the Sapporo Miso and Shrimp Ramen. A two-toned soup, one side bearing a neutral brown broth with a classic pork slice and bamboo. The other half, a complete mystery to us, was a black soup with a darker and crispier chunk of meat and seaweed.
Mouth watering and slightly baffled we started slurping and our tongues were embraced by a comforting complexity of flavors. This broth as our guide we transcended to a state of ramen enlightenment. The broths foundation is a deep miso with accents of sweet Hokkaido shrimp. The warmth of the miso is similar to a burnt miso ramen and adds for a hearty taste. It flawlessly infuses with a blend of shrimp and soaking meat. Upon further investigation the black half is an oil comprised of charred shrimp and garlic.
The black side was topped with a thick charred chunk of meat which was new to our eyes. As we took a bite, just for a moment, the world stopped. A juicy, tender bite of pork that was undoubtedly soaked in miso and love as a marinade, entered our mouths transporting us to noodle heaven. It was equal parts fat and meat and instantly melted in your mouth. Sometimes when I’m at work, on the train, or walking home the memory of that luscious miso pork floats into my mind, it was that good. All I can say is thank you Sapporo Miso Shrimp Ramen!
It’s still morning and we have two bowls of ramen in our stomachs. Next up, we went for a shoyu ramen from Okayama. The broth was light but packed with shoyu and chicken flavor with bamboo and onion toppings. The meat was chicken which was very chewy and a contrast to the airy broth. The noodles were fine and complementary to the thin broth making this a 10 on the slurp scale. Ramen is usually a heavy meal so having this refreshing ramen was the perfect finish.
We could have never imagined all the different styles and creations of ramen. If in Tokyo we definitely recommend joining all the other ramen lovers at the at the Tokyo Ramen Show next year! Just be sure to bring your appetite!